I realized that I have not given an introduction to my classes and term here at Carleton yet! Before I start, my schedule is based heavily off recent news for my summer plans. During winter term, I was offered a chance to teach at a rural school in a village in Burma with my Professor and two other Carleton students for eight weeks this summer! At the end of winter term, I found out that my grant application was accepted for this trip, so basically Carleton will be funding my plane ticket, and assorted other expenses. What this all means however, is that I am definitely going to Burma this summer!
Because of this, I am taking an independent study on the topic of education this term on top of my three classes. My project during this study will be to design a curriculum that I can teach this summer (Since my professor seemed to imply that I could choose what topic I wanted to teach). In addition this class also mandates field experience in some sort of teaching setting. Just this afternoon I had a meeting to set up volunteering at the local middle school. Although I haven’t done this yet it sounds like I will be observing, but also helping out in a traditional classroom setting. I hope this will better prepare me to be able to teach this summer, seeing as besides tutoring people in high school, I haven’t had much teaching experience.
In addition to this class, I am also taking Politics of Southeast Asia with the professor that will be going with me in the summer. I am really super excited about this class because I will get to learn way more about the region that I am about to set off for! It is only the second week of the class, and we have already started to explore the economic, political, social, cultural and familial aspects of the region. This class involves writing a research paper on the region. Currently I am leaning towards learning more about the subsistence ethic of peasants in Southeast Asia for this research paper and have already done some preliminarily reading that seems absolutely fascinating about the topic.
This term I am also taking Biology 126. This will be my first biology class since junior year AP Bio, so it is both exciting and a little worrisome to get back into the sciences. This also means that I have labs every week, which I did not have the last two terms. Although it has only been two weeks I have really enjoyed this class. Our professors are wonderful and definitely find a way to make the lectures lots of fun. Even though this is by far the biggest class I have had at Carleton, so far I have found it easy to ask questions in class, and it seems that ample help is available outside of the class as well.
For my third class I am taking Middle Eastern Music. This is particularly appealing to me because I already have a little bit of background in listening to Arabic music, from when I lived in Cairo my freshman year of high school. It’s also been exciting to pick out arabic words here and there, within the songs, that I actually understand. This genre of music seems very different from western music, which makes it all the more new and interesting. So far we have already touched on the emphasis of improvisation of arabic music, as well as the connection between the audience and the performer in Arabic music concerts. Recently we have started to cover a little bit of music theory. I’ve learned that in Arabic music, they have microtones(or quartertones). This is significant because in western music we only have half tones and whole tones. What this basically means is that I am learning that there are certain notes in Arabic music that are just simply not included in western Music.
My professor of Arabic Music is also offering optional Oud(similar instrument to the lute) lessons this term, to go along with the class! I just had my very first lesson today and it is very exciting to begin learning a new instrument. I also believe it will be a great connection to the actual Arabic music class. I’m hoping that I can use what I’ve learned about different arabic modes and ways of improvisation in my actual playing of the Oud. In terms of musical endeavors, I am also continuing jazz piano, which was great fun last term. So I’ve already been extremely busy this term, but I’m really excited for everything I have going on at Carleton!