Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Volkshochschule: to go or not to go, that is the question

Yesterday, I bought the newest catalogue from the Volkshochschule (VHS)—literally, something like "people's university" or "public university"; an organisation providing further education for adults, typically in the evenings, in a variety of subjects.

I was interested in taking up a language course again, as I hadn't done since I was a teenager.

Hamburg offers a fairly wide selection, certainly larger than that in Elmshorn or Pinneberg (the nearest larger towns to where I used to live) and easily larger than Tornesch (whose VHS selection was really small). This made it really difficult to choose.

My top three languages were Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese—Chinese sounds interesting and I'd like to learn it properly; on the other hand, Spanish may be more useful. And taking Japanese again might be good to brush up the skills I had already learned in several years at the Volkshochschule back then.

Then there was the question of which kind of class to take: many languages offered at least (a) the "regular" classes, (b) "plus" classes which go at the same speed but have more classes in the semester (either by going on when the others have finished, having two classes per week instead of one, or adding classes on a weekend at the beginning of the course), and (c) classes for fast learners "who are prepared to work on their own between classes; participants should know at least one other foreign language already and be familiar with grammatical terms such as 'verb' and 'adjective'".

I imagine the "fast learner" classes might be best, since I consider myself a fast learner and wouldn't like to be stuck in a class that proceeds too slowly. Also, I'm not a complete beginner in any of the languages, though I never formally studied Chinese or Spanish, and I fear that what little I know might make it hard for me not to be a smart-aleck and use structures we haven't already learned and wouldn't for another six months. Whereas if things move more quickly, we'd learn them sooner :)

But then I thought: waitaminute. Starting a class in September might not be the best idea in the world. Once the baby is there, who knows how much time you have?

And I went, "*sigh* you're probably right". Oh well. So the "learning languages at the VHS" idea (which Stella tells me I've had for years but have never done anything about) goes on the back burner again for at least another half year. Maybe in February, when the next semester starts.

(The costs are also pretty high: on the order of € 80–150 depending on the number of lessons. And that's for one semester, or half a year!)

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