23/08/2009

Study Spanish with the OU

The Spanish language is now spoken in many countries around the world with more & more people using different learning methods. Learning Spanish with the Open University isn't for everyone. But if you are serious about learning not only the language but also the history and culture of Spain and Latin America, then you might seriously give it a try.

Be prepared to work hard. As a complete beginner, I found it harder than I expected. There are currently four courses that you can take, either by attending face-to-face tutorials, or online tutorials, leading to a Diploma in Spanish.

For the complete beginner, start with 'Portales'. Using the theme of a journey, the course takes you through a wide range of practical situations such as travelling, shopping, working and eating out in Spain, Chile and other Spanish-speaking countries. There are six tutor-marked assignments, and an end of course assessment.

Next is the Intermediate Spanish course 'En Rumbo' - It builds on your existing Spanish and teaches more advanced language in the context of Spanish and Latin American society and culture. There are four tutor-marked assignments and an end of course assessment.

Following on from this is the upper intermediate course 'Viento en Popa' - The first course in the 'Diploma in Spanish', it will continue to develop practical language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. By studying a variety of authentic audio, video and printed materials from Spain and Latin America, you will learn how to communicate in situations ranging from everyday conversation to putting forward your point of view in a debate. You will also have the opportunity to work on grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary acquisition. The course has a compulsory residential visit to Spain where you will have the opportunity to practice and learn more of the language in a learning environment with visits to local places of interest. There are six tutor-marked assignments and a two-part examination; spoken and written.

Finally, there is the course 'A Buen Puerto' - fast forward in Spanish. This course continues to extend the practical skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and aims to develop critical and analytical skills. It is structured around seven themes, which give a broad introduction to different aspects of society and culture in Spain and Latin America: cultural diversity, art, society, languages in contact, science and technology, trade and employment and the environment. They are quite in-depth and require commitment on the part of the student. There are nine tutor-marked assignments and a two-part examination; spoken and written.

So you can see that to take an Open University Spanish language course will take some dedication and, whilst it goes way beyond the basics, it's aim is to give the student a wider understanding of latin-american culture and heritage.

These are not easy courses for the complete beginner to undertake, but they are hugely satisfying in terms of beginning to understand and appreciate the heritage and diversity of another country.

For more information about studying Spanish, visit the Open University website at http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/languages/spanish/index.htm

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