Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Academic Orientation

This week, we started academic orientation, which is essentially "window shopping" for classes. We're given a time table of all the classes being offered during each block, and can just pick which ones we want to go to.

The first class I went to was higher level French. It was held upstairs in a corridor with only two rooms; one for French that block, and one for Economics, or "Eco." There were only three of us in the French room, and we kept on getting really excited when someone else would walk in, but then they'd say, "Wait, is this higher French?" and then hightail it out of there as fast as they could, and go to Economics.

Anyways, the higher French teacher is really cool - his name is Monsieur Silienou, and he's from Cameroon. Since there were only three of us, we just kind of chilled at a table and talked in French for eighty minutes. It was nice, at least for me, because I haven't really spoken French since the AP test way back in May, and I was worried that I had forgotten all of my French. Never fear, Monsieur Guiard, you did your job well - I was the only one there who knew what was up with "subjunctif."

After French, I went to Beginner's siSwati, which is the local language spoken here in Swaziland, along with English. Most people don't want to take three language classes (for me French, siSwati, and English), but I'm kind of a language junkie, so it works out just fine. The siSwati class was really good - even though it's just a window shopping week, she jumped into teaching, and I actually learned a decent amount in the block. It's nice, because now, even before starting the class, I can finally greet the Make's in hostel and the Babe's and Make's in the dining hall.

Then, I went to maths. The way that they're doing maths is to put everyone in the same level of classes for the first couple of weeks, and then to have a test to separate people in higher, standard, and studies. (Jokingly, studies is also known as "intro to counting," or "maths ab initio." Ab initio is the term usually used when describing a beginner's language class. Essentially, maths from scratch :D). Anyways, we just had to do a worksheet, which was really easy for me, but it was good, because then I just finished it quickly and could help other people. Although to be honest, since it was such old material that we learned in elementary school, I went a tad fast and made a few stupid mistakes. Note to self: on the actual test, so that you can get into higher maths? No stupid mistakes :)

Afterwards, I went to geography, which I was kind of iffy about taking, but it sounded really interesting, and so I'm quite excited for it now. It's a class all about people and societies, and the differences between societies, and how people interact with their environment, and all that - not memorizing the names of countries. I mean, I've never taken a geography class before, but it sounds like it's going to be really cool, especially with the perspective of studying it at such an international school.

Lastly that day, I went to Literature, which I would take higher, but as we can only take three higher classes, we have to take some things standard level, and so I decided that I'll take standard level Language and Literature, which is a class more about cultures and communication and globalization and all, moreso than old stuffy "literature" works.

There are classes for the rest of the week, but I'm pretty set in my schedule now - higher Maths, Physics, and French, standard English Language and Literature, Geography, and siSwati. I'm going to go back to the siSwati classes and French classes for the rest of the week, as the teachers are planning to keep teaching, as well as maths, where we've started, but other than that, I think it's going to be pretty chilled out for the rest of the week, which is good, since Friday is my birthday :) For now, I'm just going to enjoy a laid back afternoon in Swaziland!

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