Lifelong Learning: Languages

Recently, I was given the opportunity to read and grammatically edit through a friend’s friend’s masters dissertation on the topic of Lifelong Learning in Macau. I took the job, because I thought, “Why the heck not? I’m not doing anything much anyway. Might learn something as well.”

And I did indeed learn quite a lot about the whole system. I also found it quite a fascinating read. I’m not going to mention anything that was written in her paper, but all I can disclose is that she has many good ideas on what could be improved in Macau’s education system; her SWOT analysis pinpointed a lot of valid weaknesses that are very obvious and it really is quite frustrating to know that they just haven’t been…eh…giatiman…I’m thinking in the wrong language…

Taken care of? I think that’s the right translation in English…but I know there’s a better phrase. I just can’t remember what it is.

Well, anyway.

I never met her before and while I was going through her paper with her, we got to talking — or rather, she kept talking, while I kept on working while listening to her (and I think I just made a new friend!). Since she works at the university’s Lifelong Learning Office, she knows a lot of things about the university and the other universities in Macau. And because of that, she noticed a specific behaviour among the students of Macau (or rather, the students at the university) that didn’t exactly help improve tertiary education in Macau; students weren’t willing to take initiative in their own education and were lazy as f***. It was a generalisation, but I saw her point. Then she said that the only department where students weren’t like that was in architecture (made me feel quite proud, in a way, when she said that).

This then segwayed into a conversation — a one-sided one, where most of my input were affirmatives to her points (it’s becoming quite obvious that I just am weak in debate, despite my interest in it. I see both sides and would rather agree than disagree just to keep the peace) — about making learning part of one’s lifestyle. Which I totally agreed on, since I feel the same way. We bonded over that fact most of the time I was editing her paper and I really do hope that her paper could lead to some positive changes to the current education system here. There’s potential, as she pointed out, but there’s still so much work to do to bring it all up a notch.

Her point about making learning a part of one’s whole life stands though. We can never actually stop learning and if we do ever stop caring about learning, then, really, all hope is lost. Okay, an exaggeration maybe, but still. Constant self-improvement will not only help one’s own self, but could also potentially lead us to contribute some small little things to society in some way.

Hmmm…this was a very…pointless post without any focus…but I’m keeping it up here, merely because I did put a few minutes into it’s creation.

On a related note to constant self-improvement, I’ve gotten myself a Portuguese teacher and she’s taught me quite a lot already. I’ve always wanted to learn some European language and I’m doing it right now! I initially just relied on Duolingo to learn Portuguese, but then I realised I just wasn’t getting enough grammar lessons from it, as it only teaches short phrases. Plus, it just sank in that I was learning Brazilian Portuguese, and not Portuguese Portuguese, and being a stickler for the proper proper of languages, I prefer learning the original form of Portuguese from Portugal; Brazilian Portuguese can come after.

My last lesson with her focused a lot on the different ways the letter “s” can be pronounced and boy does it feel nice to know the differences now.

“Ate próxima vez em Março. Em 13-28, eu estarei nas Filipinas. Bom fim de semana!”

That was the first message I wrote to her in full Portuguese. I doubt the grammar is right, but I am trying. Plus, she’s given me homework and I should get started on them.

So, yeah. Lifelong learning! Simultaneously, I’m learning Tagalog and Cebuano from my parents, and polishing up my Cantonese and Mandarin by listening to random people on the streets and from the choir people at church. Oh! And I’m also mastering the British accent from my boss at work.



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