By: Matthias Baudinet
At Green Mountain College there are many opportunities to select courses and pursue academic interests. Even when a student selects a major, not only can they pick whatever courses related to their major, but they also have the privilege of picking any course in any other major as electives.
Of course, even with the more than 22 majors offered at Green Mountain College there are certain academic fields of study that are not directly offered in the school’s curriculum. The Green Mountain College Registrar however makes it possible for students to pursue a variety of different academic interests through “independent studies.”
Since my first semester at Green Mountain College in the fall of 2011 I have taken 4 different independent studies. Each of them has allowed me to deepen my knowledge in subjects outside of my major. I believe this to be crucial to a well-rounded liberal arts education.
Already a fluent speaker of English, French, Italian, and Luxembourgian, I have always had a strong interest in the study of languages. Though I have taken Spanish both in high school and at Green Mountain College, I have longed to pursue study in other languages. Now, with the aid of professor Mark Dailey (Anthropology faculty) I have an opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese.
This past semester I have drawn up a syllabus and independent study proposal for “Mandarin Chinese for Beginners” with fellow student Brooke Hallock. Both Brooke and I have little previous knowledge or study of Mandarin. With the help of Professor Dailey however, we will be able to learn the basics of the Mandarin-Chinese language and important Chinese cultural norms/customs.
The great things about independent studies is that it is the student’s responsibility to form the structure of the class. The student has to do research to find appropriate books, propose a class syllabus, grading requirements, etc. This develops academic responsibility which is important not only in academia (further academic study at a graduate school), but also in life in general.
I look forward in studying and learning Mandarin Chinese this coming spring 2015 semester. Mandarin is a world language that is crucial in becoming what is called a “global citizen.” With China becoming ever more influential in many aspects of the modern world, I believe it it to be important for people to become bilingual or multilingual.