02-25-2015, 06:13 PM
I went to college Spanish years ago for various reasons, but mainly to help fulfill my dream of one day tours around Latin America. I started taking private Spanish lessons, but soon became frustrated about the slow pace. So, I decided to look at the formal Spanish program at the University of South Africa. I believe UNISA is the world's largest correspondence University, with more than 150 thousand students, exam centers around the world, and internationally recognised degrees. When browsing the list of available courses, I decided, heck, why not just sign up for a full size? Then I changed jobs for a startup, that so much of my energy and time that I just didn't have the time for studying in the evening hours and during the weekend more consumed. In addition, I had moved to the pretty village of Scarborough outside Cape Town, with fantastic views over the Atlantic Ocean in front of me, and hill walking behind me. So for a few years I didn't study at all as I learned to body boarding and paddle ski.
4 years ago we moved to Ireland. Elizabeth had started a BSc in Computer Science, and I figured it would be a good time to revive his my unfinished degree. I had to end up 3rd year Spanish, consisting of 5 papers:
SPS301H for Spanish translation
SPS302J Spanish for oral communication
SPS303K Spanish for professional purposes
SPS304L encounters with the Spanish-American culture and literature
Read SPS305M and analysis of literary texts in Spanish
I also had a second big plus a minimum of 2 courses. Have done psychology and philosophy, I could just get on with one of them carried out in order to complete my degree. Instead, because I have been interested in environmental issues, and would like to be familiar with GIS, I chose to do geography.
Now, to change the difficulty level to compare between Spanish and geography: I already have my 1st, 2nd and 3rd year Geography paper in less time that it took me only 3 years complete Spanish completed!
I did last 4 out of 5 Spanish newspapers. Ironically, the paper that interests me most, meetings with the Spanish-American culture and literature, is the only one I don't stay. I started this whole degree based on my desire to travel and learn about Latin America, but yet I can't even pass that exam. Some other papers were much more difficult than this, especially the translation and literary analysis ones.
It is a very interesting document on the history and culture of Latin America by the ancient Maya, Aztec and Inca civilizations through the Spanish conquest, slavery, wars of independence to modern politics. The prescribed literature consists of the books "El coronel no tiene quien le Escribe" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and "La muerte y la Doncella" by Ariel Dorfman. All in all quite a considerable amount of work that can be thoroughly examined.
However, the final paper contains only 3 questions, mostly like:
"Violence and oppression are central themes in the novel by Marquez. Discuss. "
Yet that brief question has 40% of the points!
Comparison with a math paper which is well designed to the width of your knowledge to test and review your reasoning capabilities in an objective way, this is a complete joke.
Anyway, I asked for the paper to be marked. Hopefully I'll get the few extra percent I need this exam ... otherwise I'll just have to persist until I end up passing.