No more Spanish at OTEN

Andrew and I have been studying our Certificate I course in Spanish language this year through OTEN (TAFE’s distance education arm). Certificate I is a 108 hour course: we’re trying to finish the second half of it before the semester ends in mid-November.

I’m really disappointed to hear that OTEN doesn’t intend to accept new enrolments in Spanish courses for 2008, meaning we can’t enrol in Certificate II.

I’m not quite sure what to do. My feeling is that, considering how busy we are with work, studies, diving, yoga, swimming etc Andrew and I won’t have the discipline to continue well with private and informal studies; in addition there will be no one to check our pronunciation and grammar and so on, which has been very helpful. We don’t have money to duck off to Spain or Latin America for immersion lessons more than once in about the next decade.

I can do some undergraduate units with my PhD (obviously Andrew cannot) and Macquarie University also offers a Diploma in Languages which is the equivalent of a full major over three years, but that’s an enormous commitment and neither of us really feel equipped to commit to undergraduate standard studies for any length of time (even leaving aside the commitment to continue being Australian residents). The university loading suggests that even though the Diploma is only one-third of a full-time load that we should prepare to spend 16 hours a week on it. That’s not possible: 5–10 hours for OTEN has been hard enough.

Thomson Education Direct offers Spanish, but at quite a high price and also it sounds like the course is essentially the one we’re finishing now, not the next level.

Meadowbank TAFE will likely run Certificate II in a classroom. In theory that’s only 25 minutes on the train, but those trains are half an hour apart, so there’s the up to 30 minute wait for the train at both ends plus 2.5 hours in a classroom: there goes an entire evening, and we already do this for yoga and SCUBA.

I actually went through this before choosing the OTEN course, and all this stuff was reasons why I did their course. I’m really sad that it’s being cancelled, because at this stage I really can’t find a approx 5 hour per week distance course (or one in my actual suburb, not just my region) to replace it and we can’t rearrange our life around a more intensive or more remote course.