Thank You, Iceland: A Reassessment of the Assessment

I met another ISL student yesterday and got a bit of intel on the 1st Year B.A. classes that I would have been taking had I passed the assessment test. This fellow, we’ll call him Marek, was a bit distraught about the curriculum and teaching style in the B.A. Program. According to him, all of his classes, save his grammar class, were completely taught in Icelandic–I believe he said something along the lines of “I’ve been assaulted by Icelandic all morning”–which he was not really prepared for, and frankly, was not what I had been told would be the case in the first year classes. Marek also said that while his grammar class was being taught in English, this was somewhat mitigated by the fact that the course is being taught in a very large classroom by an instructor who speaks very softly and likes to say things along the lines of, “You should already know all of this [insert whatever grammatical rule/declension pattern]–I’m not going to waste my time explaining it to you. That’s not what I’m here for.” Moreover, the students in the B.A. Program are also supposed to be completing the Icelandic Online program, but whereas the students in the Practical Certificate Program (like myself) are supposed to complete level one by the end of the semester, 1st year B.A. students are supposed to finish through level three. Oh, and most of his classmates seemed to be able to easily converse in Icelandic, which they did before, after, and during each class.

After passing this news along, Marek was called back into his class (he had been out during the ubiquitous coffee break), looking a little green. And while he had my sympathies–truly–this was fantastically elevating news for me. I would have been a total wreak in classes like the ones Marek was describing, not because I don’t want to put the effort into learning, but simply because I wouldn’t have the grammatical/vocabulary grounding necessary to do anything other than flounder in them. And that wouldn’t be terribly productive.

So, thank you, Iceland. You gave my ego a bruising, but it was necessary tough love and I am now completely content to be learning your language at the level and pace at which I am now learning it.

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One thought on “Thank You, Iceland: A Reassessment of the Assessment

  1. I have already been extremely impressed with your poise and perspective where this somewhat rough entree into the program is concerned (these Icelanders seem like a nice, yet prickly bunch!) but this made me giddy with the feeling that you dodged a bullet. Hooray! Everything is working out!

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