Sunday, August 29, 2010

Learn Spanish in Three Months, Fat Chance

While coaching at Gettysburg and going to graduate school at Shippensburg University I played for Maryland Lacrosse Club (MLC) back when it existed as a member of the United States Lacrosse Club Association (USLCA). In my last season with MLC the club made it to the championship that year against I believe the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) at Hofstra University. The game was scheduled for the same time I was scheduled to be in Mexico enrolled in a Spanish immersion program. Earning a PhD in history required that I pass foreign language translation exams. So the summer before I returned to Syracuse I started studying Spanish first with a tutor at Gettysburg College. My tutor was one of the librarians in the college library (women named Francis something?) that I got to know while studying for my master’s degree in history. I had an introduction to Spanish book I used that summer then headed to Guadalajara, Mexico for three months Spanish language immersion program (course work plus live with a family). As part of my interim dean contract with Gettysburg College I cut a deal that they would pay for my graduate studies should the following year should I stay on as the dean. Well as the spring semester came to a close, Dean Janet Ramsey called me to her office to inform me that the school would be doing search to for a permanent dean and I would not be considered for the job. I didn’t get offended, and I as part of my departing package the provost of the college agreed to pay for immersion program in Mexico where the college sent its students too. Now was really naive I had convinced myself that after some study with my book and tutor and the three month immersion program I would be close I would be close to fluency—fat chance!

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