Monday, June 20, 2011

Macedonian in Indiana

Yes, you read that correct. I am studying Macedonian language in Indiana. Pretty much the heartland of the US. But it has an often overlooked gem: Indiana University Bloomington which hosts the SWSEEL (Summer Workshop in Slavic, Eastern European and Central Asian Languages), where I can learn Macedonian.

Classes started Friday June 17th with an orientation followed by an actual class followed by running all over this campus trying to find the correct person to talk to!

My Macedonian class has 4 students in it (which is one more than last year, apparently).

-PhD student in linguistics, who knows at least 3 other languages
-Masters student who knowns Russian and taught himself Polish
-IU professor who wishes to continue her research into the minority groups in Macedonia. But has never had a Slavic language before
-The Professor, who was born and raised in Skopje.

As you can see on this list, I am the second to the bottom or 4th from the top in level of experience. Or you would think. I am not a natural language learner, so picking up languages is work. (I should actually be studying rather than writing to you, but I digress). And everyone else in the class is fluent in at least two languages, often times 3 (actually now that I think about it, yes they are all fluent in 3 different languages.)

So no pressure.

But I just need to keep reminding myself that I am under no obligation to preform to their standards, or where they are in class. I just need to do the best that I can while learning this language, which oh by the way is in an entirely different alphabet! Its going to be tough, but I will succeed.

After class, we got to wander around to buy books, get our ID card, get our parking permit, etc etc etc. Oh by the way, did I mention that the IU campus is about 2.5 miles across? And that it takes 15 minutes minimum just to walk to class? Have I also mentioned that y old campus was a grand total of a leisurely 5 minute walk? No, well, let me tell you.

I dislike walking this much.
No seriously, I collapsed into bed the first day when I got done walking around. Today, biking back was a really harsh reminder of how out of shape I am. Bobby tried to tell me, well, you are 750 feet (?) or so above sea level, so that's why you are out of breath more often. Nice try honey, but I know better. This is payback for never finishing physical therapy from the universe.

however, the rooms in the dorms are really nice, even if we don't get a lot of interaction with other people. All of my classmates live off campus, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of events scheduled early on for us to get to know each other. But, I'm sure over time, I will get to know people.

See you around the globe!

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