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Showing posts from September, 2016

putting the pieces together

This past week was a good week, one in which I both made progress with my language study and felt validated about my approach to it.

The week started with my first two morning sessions with my mentor on Monday and Tuesday. I felt a bit of anxiety going into them, since I haven't spoken much Luganda since July. So I was very pleasantly surprised when the conversation began and I got straight back into it! After a couple minutes of conversation, my mentor paused to compliment me. "You have really improved!" he told me. "Amelia did good work with you this summer! Oli muyiizi mulungi! (You are a good student)."

It's hard to overstate how much of a boost this gave me. One of the hardest things I'm finding about independent language study is how difficult it is to assess my progress - not to mention the lack of positive reinforcement! So to get this kind of validation - unprompted - was really helpful.

Beyond that, he also told me that he thinks I am at an in…

change change change

One of the most fun things about language learning is the quick, and constant, change. One day you are completely unable to make meaning out of vowels and consonants put together in a certain way; fast forward just one year and you're learning such advanced vocabulary as the word for "to confront someone who owes you something," and writing emails to friends in your target language.

One of the hardest things about language learning, though, is also the change. I've been reminded by that this week as I try to settle in to my new schedule and grapple with this new, more advanced, stage of independent learning in which I find myself.

I can't say that this week has been a huge success on either front, to be honest. The sheer quantity of reading for other classes, a number of beginning-of-the-year receptions, my birthday, and all of the other things that make up a first full week of school seemed to expand into every crevice of my available time and made it hard to fi…

past, present, future

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Past
Well. I'd planned to write one big final reflection of my time in Uganda about language learning, culture, and an overall assessment of my summer.

Oops.

Things got busy. The goodbyes during my last week were non-stop. Old Ugandan friends, new Ugandan friends, new ex-pat friends. Lunches and dinners and last-minute jaunts across town to visit families. And before I knew it, I was on a plane out of town, at sunset, crying because it was over.

I still planned to write, and I was still so busy. So it never happened.

The CliffsNote version is this: I learned so much. It was an invaluable time. The language learning, first and foremost, was amazing. Though four hours a day of one-on-one instruction was draining, it obviously did wonders for my speaking abilities and listening comprehension.

But the incredible view into Ugandan/Buganda culture was another major takeaway from the summer. Every single language lesson was imbued with cultural learnings. From what women at different ages…