Antônio Jorge Medeiros Batista Silva
Language Learning at Dartmouth!
At Dartmouth, all students are required to learn a second language. There are two alternative ways to meet this requirement though. One of them: coming from a country where English is not the primary language. The other: taking a placement test with a specific department to prove fluency in a language you already speak. For reasons I can't even explain, I did both. And, still, two out of my three classes this term are language ones.
In case you don't know me, I'm Antônio and—as you can read on my bio—I'm a prospective Linguistics major. Not only am I passionate about how languages work and their effects on our cognitive and social development, I am also crazy about the process of learning a language. Before getting to campus, I got an email alerting me that I was waived from Dartmouth's language requirement because—for coming from Brazil, a Portuguese-speaking country—I had already proven my bilingualism.
However, when I got here, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Spanish and Portuguese Department open house. It all happened during the course selection period, and I fell in love with all the Hispanic Studies program had to offer.
Now I know I could not have made a better decision taking SPAN 20 this fall. It opened the doors for me to minor in Spanish—which I'm not even sure I want to, but it makes me happy having the option! And, if I do decide to dig deeper into the department, I will only need one more course to qualify for their Foreign Study Abroad (FSP) program. This means that, if you return to this blog during my sophomore fall, you might see a photo dump of me living my best life in Madrid :)
Besides Spanish, I also decided to learn Arabic this term. Different from my other language class, this one I'm learning from scratch. I did know a couple words of the Levantine dialect since my grandmother was Lebanese, but nothing that would place me out of the introductory class. And, to be honest, I am loving it!
Professor Mostafa Ouajjani is very supportive of his students, and my classmates are very curious and energised—which generates a really nice environment in the classroom! It also happens to be my first class of the day (Monday through Friday at 9am!), so it puts me in a good mood for whatever I have next.
Besides our daily morning meetings, all language students at Dartmouth are required to participate in drill sessions. This is an intrinsic part of the Rassias Method, which was created by a Dartmouth professor back in the day and is widely recognized as a reference on language teaching! During these sessions, we get to practice our vocabulary in conversations led by the instructor, most of the time, a student who speaks the language natively.
Because of how engaging our classes and drill sessions are, learning languages at Dartmouth is not only very effective, but also very fun!
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