Today I would like to give some advice to incoming undergraduate students who decided to take a literary class or a language class. You can apply this advice to other courses you will take as well. Besides being an international student I’m also a Graduate Instructor, and that means that I have been teaching Spanish & Culture classes at the Spanish & Portuguese Department. Recently I’ve taught literature classes that mainly resolve the questioning of what is “literature?” and how does a literary text convey “meaning,” and what does it mean to “interpret” a piece of literary “art?”
When taking a language course (or taking any class) keep in mind:
- Use the Writing Center at the University of Minnesota. Writing in your own language will be a requirement in any field, but writing in the language you’re learning can be trickier. In our department we have a Writing Center. where you will find well-prepared instructors that will help you with this new skill.There is also a Writing Center for those who want to take English class and students who want native speakers to review their essays: http://writing.umn.edu/
- Being prepared for classes is not enough. This is your main responsibility, but beyond that you should search for different tools that your department, classes or university offer, for example: apply for funds and attend a conference or join a group of your interest (writing, culture, science, dance and so forth). Back when I was an undergrad I didn’t know all of the opportunities that we had, so you should get as much as you can.
- Travel. Going abroad to take a course in the language you’re learning or in your field is essential. You’ll get a sense of openness, a lot of experience and irreplaceable knowledge. Traveling can also become a significant opportunity to make connections. The University has a Learning Abroad Center that you will find beneficial.
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