I believe most of you can recall some painful experiences of learning a new language.
Like everything else, the start, despite difficult, is always filled with passion. Gradually, that passion may fade away, taken over
by mental fatigues resulting from memorizing double-digit vocabulary or trying to justify grammatical rules that just don’t make sense.
However, the ones who managed to maintain the learning momentum, can be surprised by how much they’ve improved when look back.
Gaining that confidence then motivates one to take up the challenge of actually immersing oneself English as a second language
in a foreign environment and then you realise that you were taught a ‘fake’ language.
In my case, improving English of course was a minor reason for coming to Oundle.
Oundle is not the ideal place to lie in the sun with a drink in your hand, chat to the locals and experience an ‘exotic’ culture.
The challenge I had when I first joined was in a different dimension to those who are on language holidays.
I found my ‘fake’ English not only confused others but also did not help when learn four academic subjects. To my surprise, I suffered in Maths and Physics as much as I did in Economics.
In Maths, even dealing just with numbers, I still needed a little bit of translation because I was used to doing calculations in Chinese,
this was a useful excuse for the careless calculation mistakes I made!) The little translation needed may be the reason why, algebra and calculus have always been my best friends.
Unlike my friends in the mild core modules of mechanics and statistic modules if found some much more fearsome difficulties.
It might be my lack of vocabulary, but I literally can’t think of any words to describe those lengthy and wordy maths questions, other than evil. What empowered me to combat this evil was actually, finally cracking some Physics prep.
Though physics is hugely maths based and in most of the questions one can expect to encounter a similar standard of difficulty as maths but these are even more wordy.
I even found that in Physics, occasionally, there are questions asking for description of terms or phenomenons and in brackets it often says USE WORDS! What’s wrong with using equations? I really didn’t like that mind-set.
As you can see how much extra effort I had to put into translation in Maths and Physics, I don’t need to explain how much I suffered and complained when I started learning economics for the first time.
Academics is only a fraction of my life at Oundle and much more time is spent outside classrooms. Believe it or not, the very first challenge I had was remembering full names.
There were numerous surnames that I hadn’t even heard of and surnames that sounded a lot like first names English as a second language.
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