Friday, February 22, 2013

That was a weird test...

I'm Swedish originally, and I lived there until late 2008 when I moved to the US. For me, English is a foreign language that I learned in school. This becomes a little backwards when attending an American college; I think I'm doing awesome taking classes and getting As in a foreign language, but the school thinks I need to fill a foreign language requirement in order to graduate. (After writing the word 'foreign' this many times in one paragraph it's starting to look funky, hahaha!)

I've been procrastinating. I could have taken classes in German, or Spanish, or something and it probably wouldn't have been too bad since I almost know German already. I can read it fairly well, but their grammar is so intense trying to speak gives me a headache. I haven't wanted to take language classes; I have enough to do anyway, and since I'm a foreigner I already know a language besides English.

Today was the day to prove my skills. I ordered the test online and drove up to Tampa to take it at USF's main location. I get lost every time I go there. The campus is like a little city about the size of my home town in Sweden, and this was only the fourth or fifth time I've been there. I had to stop and ask a security guard for help. He was so sweet and helpful, told me where to go and where to park, and I wanted to plead with him to get in the car and come with me on this scary adventure. I didn't, of course, but it was tempting. :-)

A friendly young man manned the test center, and he told me all the exams for languages not taught by USF come from a Mormon college, because they send out missionaries that have to know a lot of languages. I thought, "Whoa, I'm not sure I like the sound of this."

The test was weird. I expected to have a hard time understanding the spoken portions - I thought they would sound kind of like Pam on True Blood where you can hear an American trying to say the words without really knowing the language. The people talking didn't have much of an accent though, but they sounded like they came from then 1930's. They wouldn't be able to fool a native, because no one talks like that. The written portions were even weirder; poorly spelled and incoherent. Parts looked like a school book from the 1950's, others as if someone translated with Google. You know, a bunch of random words that doesn't mean anything when put together.

The prize question was near the end, telling the story of a woman named Mona who managed to drive to England without stopping. That is quite a feat considering England is an island... I thought, "Fantastic, they're not only bad at Swedish, they're bad at geography too, and these people are scoring me?"

Luckily, I was the only one taking a test. I couldn't help but giggle, I even laughed out loud a couple of times, and other people would probably have found me really annoying.

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