Thursday, January 13, 2011

And it goes on.

It's time for a new semester at the University, and I think it is going to be a very interesting one. I have kind of agreed to try to read 52 books in 52 weeks this year, and so far I'm doing good since I have read two books, and I guess everything would have been good for the coming semester if I had only stuck to the plan of my program.

Now, in my opinion, this is probably the most interesting semester so far when it comes to Russian. Just have a look at these classes:

1. Introduction to Slavic and Russian language history
*DROOL* I know!
Reading material: a stapled book by the same name and a stapled book called "older Slavic texts", both written by the professor holding the class. In addition to this, some reading material and so on will be handed out during lectures. The University of Oslo presents a lot of its reading material in the form of stapled booklets (sometimes very big, but these two booklets are surprisingly slim), since this is cheaper than printing real books (you simply pay 1,34NOK or something like that per page). You end up with lots of ugly "books", but it's cheaper in a country where everything is extremely expensive anyway. So we can safely say that this course has not ruined me!

2. Russian grammar and translation III
Not all that exciting, I know... But this year, we actually hand in our translations and get them corrected! For me, this is sensational! Sure, we did that in Russia, but there we paid for our classes.
The reading material for this class is a horribly expensive (€96) grammar book that we bought last year and another slim booklet entitled "Russian syntax, the complex sentence". This class includes writing what corresponds to a bachelor essay on grammar.

3. Russian literature I
Everyone tells me this class is ridiculously easy and that the professor really does not want to be there. It's very basic since you can actually take it without having studied more than one semester of Russian, and you do the reading in Russian, so you go figure how much reading we will have to do... And of course, since we're talking of (mostly classic) Russian literature, anyone with any sort of connection to Russian things know that you don't go out and buy those texts. Actually, the University even provides us with links to the online texts. We're reading Pelevin as well! No books of course, just a short story.

So you see, my academic semester would have been extremely cheap and rather relaxed. That is, if I had stopped there. Since I am working towards double bachelors, I need more classes, so first I added this one:

4. Democracy, Human Rights, and Gender – Global Perspectives in Education
This is a distance class in English, and sure as hell the reading list includes like 10 books. The University of Umeå is excellent at including tons of books in small classes, but at least those books tend to be normally priced ones, as opposed to the horribly expensive ones the University of Oslo always use. Still, in my current economic situation I can't buy all those books and for the first time ever I have actually gone and borrowed them at the Library. The ones that I could find at least. I don't like doing this since I always underline and take notes in my books, but meh, what can you do. This class seems to demand a lot of work, and to be honest I'm a bit scared of it. The books do seem interesting though, and I'm going to read the first one over the weekend, Robert Dahl's "On Democracy".

Obviously that's not all. Yesterday a (fellow language enthusiast) friend came to visit to have a look at our new apartment and our new cat, and he told me that the University of Oslo offers an Icelandic introduction class this spring, so of course I'm signing up for that one with him!

I'm not signed up yet, and perhaps there will be some sort of problem with me taking the class, but I'm at least going to try to sign up for.

5. Icelandic I, introduction to modern Icelandic
Books - probably of the expensive kind :(

I am probably underestimating it, thinking it will be a breeze, but it doesn't really matter since I can always drop out of it if I have too little time. I won't be cut off from any student funding (which is already so tiny that it hardly matters) anyway since I am way beyond a full-time student. A couple of summers ago I had a fling with Icelandic for two or three months, but then I stopped, and it will be fun picking it up again. Speaking of languages I have to pick up, Hungarian and German can be found in death throes on the floor...

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