Monday, November 9, 2009

Review: Immersion Spanish Institute

Lately, the classes in which I enroll are more likely to be canceled than to actually run. Folks aren't signing up for classes these days; when they do, they often have to cancel because of H1N1 or other illnesses.

So, I wasn't surprised a few weeks ago to get an e-mail from Nancy Ciskowski, director of IUPUI Community Learning Network's continuing education program, informing me that a class I planned to take was in danger of being canceled. (Several people had backed out at the last minute.)

The Immersion Spanish Institute runs for a full week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Obviously, some students make special arrangements or take vacation time in order to attend. It's not the kind of class you want to cancel at the last minute.

Fortunately, Nancy didn't want to cancel the class. Instead, she suggested a revised schedule: meeting from 9 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. for four days. We'd still get through the material, she said, because the conversation practice wouldn't take as long with fewer students. She gave us a choice: accept the revised schedule, or get a full refund and take the class later.

All three of us accepted the revised schedule, and the class proceeded just as Nancy had promised. We got through all of the material, had a great sense of camaraderie and learned a lot. By the end of the week, I was actually thinking in Spanish (to the chagrin of the students in my evening English classes).

I've already enrolled in the level-three class, so obviously I found the experience worthwhile. More than that, however, I appreciated IUPUI's flexibility. All of us had our reasons for wanting to learn Spanish now rather than later, and I'm grateful that Nancy understands -- and respects -- the needs of her students.

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