Many students may be thinking of learning a new language at uni. The LSE Language centre offers a range of language courses at different levels, that cater to the various language backgrounds of students. They range from Level 1 (beginner) to Level 5 (mastery). I took Spanish Level 1 as part of my degree (as an outside option) in my first year and am now taking a Level 3 non-degree certificate course. I’ve pretty much enjoyed every bit of my Spanish journey at LSE and will now walk you through my experience. ¡Empezamos!
Total students: 15 / Class size: 8 / Value: One Full Unit / Comment: A LOT OF WORK!
In our very first Spanish class at the beginning of the term, the professors warned all of us that this course wasn’t going to be easy AT ALL. They advised that the course is meant to be intense and challenging, as their goal is to enable us all to reach basic conversation level or higher by the end of the academic year. Many students did leave and chose something else as their outside option and very few actually stuck around (as you can see from the class size). However, I never regretted my decision, as I really progressed a lot and I can feel that personally. You really have to put in that effort every week for the continuous assessments (40%) and the numerous Spanish presentations you have to do throughout the year. We have six hours of class every week, which is even more than any other module I was taking in my first year. Each class is pretty much interactive, very fun and you get to practice A LOT thanks to the mini class size. We learned about not only the language itself, but the Spanish-speaking societies within the framework of social sciences and culture. For example, we discussed the migration issues in Latin America and some Spanish history in the context of the Spanish Civil War in class. A lot of group work and discussions in pairs also means that you get to work with peers in different year groups and degree backgrounds. I was totally amazed by the amount of Spanish vocab, that came out of my mouth on the day of the oral assessment (20%). Overall, it’s a 10 out of 10 course and I would highly recommend it to all beginners who want to learn Spanish.
Class size: 15 / Value: Non-degree / Comment: Learning at your own pace
Although I wanted to continue taking Spanish 2 as part of my degree, I was not allowed to do so due to departmental course regulations. Hence this year I did a required online test from the Language Centre, which assessed my language ability and was instructed to go ahead with a Level 3 non-degree Spanish course. It is a two hour/week course so not as intense compared to what I’d had in my first year. Essentially the course aims to bring students to B1 level. I would say that it’s a pretty fun course and predominantly discussion-based. As the assessment of this course does not count towards your degree, you can learn at your own pace and be responsible for your own studies. However, it also does mean that you really need to motivate yourself to do the work. We are also required to do one oral presentation (30%) at the end of the term, which is really nothing if you think about the 6 presentations I prepared in my first year Spanish degree course. Overall, it is a well-structured course with sufficient support and a really nice professor.
Learning Spanish At Home
Given the exceptional circumstances as a result of COVID-19, my non-degree course has been moved to online learning and students are expected to engage virtually. A range of language learning resources were posted on Moodle to support and help us get as much benefit as is practical. Revision activities, grammar exercises and continuous assessment homework are all there for us to stay away from self-isolation/quarantine boredom while learning a new language at home.