Wandering and Wondering

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My University (La Mia Universita)

I attended university orientation last week which was a little boring. To be fair, it was obviously aimed more towards younger students who have never left home before, not someone like me who has travelled the world. I had to laugh when they warned about the culture shock of “not being able to buy peanut butter at the supermarket”. Try travelling through the remote parts of western China and you’ll know the true meaning of the phrase “culture shock”!

I hadn’t studied up on my Italian at all before I arrived, and it showed when I only got 14 out of 30 questions correct on my multi-choice placement test, many of my answers being guesses. However, they still let me enroll in the intermediate class, and the instructor told me that if I find it too difficult in the first week I can drop back to the easier class. Since I don’t really have anything riding on my final grade, I would rather do the more difficult class than be stuck in a simple beginner’s class.

My first day in class didn’t turn out to be too bad. The class size is very small (only 7 other students), and I think most of us are at about the same level of understanding. Our first assignment was to write a couple of sentences describe what we did on the weekend:

Sabatto sono visitato il Palazzo Vecchio guardare l’art e l’architettura.
[On Saturday I visited the Palazzo Vecchio to look at the art and architecture].

Domenica sono camminato lung oil fiume Arno prendere alcuni I fotografi.
[On Sunday I walked along the river Arno to take some photographs].

I haven't really tried to speak much Italian yet, except for asking directions once or twice (“dove la stazione”) and ordering coffee (“un cappuccino per favore”, not all that difficult).

Apart from Italian language, the other units I’m studying are World Religions, Latin Dance, Introduction to Photojournalism and Introduction to Photoshop. I originally wanted to do an art history class, but the only timeslots available clash with my Latin Dance course. If any free spots open up by the end of the week I may be able to swap my Photoshop class for an art history class, so we’ll wait and see.

I had my first Latin Dance and World Religions classes today. As I kind of expected, I’m the only guy doing the Latin Dance class, along with 9 other girls, which isn’t so bad I guess. The World Religions class was also pretty interesting, so I’m glad I picked it. We’ll be covering Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hindu and Islam.

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