Thursday, February 24, 2005

Summertime Plans

So, where is everybody lately? No one has commented for ages. Am I just talking to myself now? Oh well.

So I'm in a dilemma for the summer. I'm teaching a Penn State LEAP section (it's a setup for incoming freshmen where they take classes all in a group together, live together, etc. so that they have friends and an introduction to campus before everyone comes back in the fall). I'll be teaching (just regular English 15 again, though I finally get to make my own syllabus) from the end of June to early August everyday from 2:20-3:35. I'm excited about it, because teaching LEAP instead of just a regular English 15 session means a pay bonus, and that's definitely a good thing.

However, I also need to get my M.A. language requirement out of the way, since I don't know yet what I'll be doing next summer (trying to work here again? finding a real job? moving?). Penn State offers summer language intensive courses--8 week classes where I'd be in class from 8:00-12:00 every day. That's a lot of class! However, I'm ok with that. I've done language intensive study before (10 hours a day learning Japanese before my mission) so I think that'll be ok. My question is, what should I take? I could take Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, Latin, Japanese, German, or Russian. There's a chance I might not have to take one at all (if I could pass a fluency and translation test in Japanese, which, let's be honest, would be harder than it sounds, since I haven't spoken or studied Japanese at any length since 2000). However, assuming I do need to take one, which should I take? Japanese would definitely be the easiest, given my past experience with the language. It'd be a refresher course, basically, and probably I'd not learn much I didn't already know. However, one of the things I've thought about doing after I finish here is working for the government, and Arabic would DEFINITELY be a big help there; it's one of the few languages that the CIA and NSA are actively looking for, and with my grades, experience, and background (not to mention the fact that they like Mormons) I think it'd be a huge boost. So that's really tempting for me. Unfortunately, I have a friend who's a lot smarter than me who was taking Arabic at BYU and said it was ridiculously difficult--and this is a guy who spoke several languages already! So I'm not sure. Latin, Spanish, or French would probably be more helpful in terms of literary studies, but since I'm not planning on staying past the PhD, I don't know if any of those would overly interest me? So what should I do? It's really between Japanese and Arabic more than anything. I just don't know which would be better: short term easiness or long term possible, though not necessarily, helpfulness. Thoughts?

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