Español. You read that right. In light of having pretty dense compulsory modules in Year 4 of my MEng course, I decided to try something new this semester. I took up Spanish as an optional module!
My degree’s theme necessitated me to study three compulsory modules this semester; Microstructural Engineering for Transport Applications, Aircraft Propulsion and Applications of CFD alongside the year-long Group Design Project. What is common between all of them, you ask? Besides having very fancy names, they all either impose extensive reading and memorization or heavy mathematics. Believe me, after three years of doing nothing but that, you’d pounce on any opportunity you could get to try something new.
That’s exactly what I did. When the semester began, I was given the option of choosing an optional module from an array of options. In search of something special and fun, I enrolled into the Spanish beginner’s module. I felt that learning a language as a module will take some load off my already ‘heavy’ academic burden. Of course, learning a whole new language isn’t an easy task in itself, but “hey, let’s just do something different this year”, I thought.
I always did have an interest to learn a Western language but I lacked the personal discipline and motivation to actually set out learning one by myself. So, when I finally had the opportunity to be tutored by a professional, I figured “If not now, then when?”.
It has been four weeks now and I am positively sure that I have made the right choice in choosing a language as an optional module. Trust me, learning a new language in a class of equally clueless students is fantastically FUN. Often, we get divided into groups of two or three and we are told to practise speaking to each other in Spanish for a minute or two. The pace of the class and the level of mastery we’re expected of, are all tuned just right for a beginner like myself. The vocabulary, the grammar, the pronunciations; they’re difficult to get a grasp of, yes, but I have been enjoying myself so far.
I never imagined myself doing a completely non-engineering related module at university but here I am, watching Spanish cartoons during term time as homework to familiarise myself with the language. The fact that the university offers this option is in itself extremely laudable.