Saturday, June 4, 2011

The monster that’s eating my weekend

Monster

I think I’m pretty clear about what is expected from the inburgering.  There is a “Living in the Netherlands” course that needs to be completed in the next week, followed by a language course.  The culture class is completely on-line, and covers topics from insurance and rental agreements to police reports and banking.

There appear to be 34 modules in the set: each starts with a near-incomprehensible film, followed by a 20-question pre-test.  Pass the pre-test with 17 or more right, move to the next module.  Miss it, and there are sub-lessons to teach the detail, and a post test.  Either track includes an appendix offering a quick bit of grammar instruction: miserable exercises whose goal is to drag words into the correct order.

A lot of work for a week, so I logged in last night and got down to business.

Six hours later, I had finished four modules.

The modules themselves are at a fairly difficult language level: I am learning the vocabulary, but the points can be fairly arcane (when to speak to the Housing Authority; where to find the Domestic Violence agency).  I feel like it’s likely worthwhile, both for vocabulary, for (merciless) language immersion, and for patching up my (wholly-practical) knowledge of how to conduct daily life in the Netherlands.

Insurance

I’m coming to realize that this is an enormous undertaking.  By slowing down on the pre-test to check vocabulary, I can pass, but that is still 3/4 hour per module (and leaves me rocky on the details of the topic).  Going any deeper takes much longer.  I need to get ten modules done this weekend if I‘m to have any chance of being done by Thursday.

Monster 2

Still, this is important and I will commit to the program (didn’t Jason Bourne say the same thing?).  But it dos mean that the “regular work” of driving the businesses forward will happen outside of class and homework.  Lately, that’s been between 8 and midnight.

Not a good sign.

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