Zimska škola, an overview

14. februar 2014

This year we organised the winter intensive program of the BCS language for the second time. The idea was to accommodate all those people who kept asking us about the winter edition and talking us into it.

We have to admit that the majority of the students in our school, on any course or level, are people who keep coming back to Sarajevo and to our school. Crazy people, one may say (ludi ljudi!). So, the whole story about some people preferring winter, or Sarajevo being more beautiful in the winter, boils down to one thing – people looking for excuses to get back here anytime, for any reason. We are quite happy about that, if we may add.

It's important to mention that, unlike our summer program, the winter school is organised in a simpler way – we do not organise additional workshops, only the classes and the weekend skiing trip (which fell through this year, because of the rain and the spring-like weather in January).

And so, Sandra gave me this task of going through the evaluation forms and writing a blog which will give us a better idea of what we should do to improve the program, as well as answer some of the questions that our potential students may have.

The classes were organised in our office, in Alojza Benca 1 Street, where we had to make a lot of effort to adapt, both the premises and our everyday activities. The place is small, its two classrooms and a kitchen being just enough to host two groups of students (up to 7 people a group) at a time. However, we worked hard to make a homey atmosphere, after all, it was as if we invited everyone to our house and decided to have a BCS class there. On the other hand, we are aware that not everyone wants to feel at home in order to be able to learn and that this might be a minus when it comes to some aspects of the program. Some of the evaluations talked about this, as well as the fact that, not being in the centre of Sarajevo, they thought the location somewhat unsuitable. Sarajevo is a small city and, unfortunately, not that well-connected, but we are sure that a 20-minute walk or a 10-minute ride on the tram or bus will certainly help you get to know the city and the people!

We promise we'll work hard on improving the studying conditions in the programs to come. But if it's any consolation, we do always have coffee and tea available for everyone! Refill included!

This being one of the setbacks, I would also like to add some of the thoughts on improving the school that were actually expressed in the evaluation forms. Of course, one of the main problems when learning the BCS language is the lack of additional course books, dictionaries, workbooks, etc. Most of you know that here in Lingvisti we have our own textbooks which are adapted twice a year for our intensive programs. We do try and make additional materials as well as guidelines for our students, but we could always use new materials. Some of you talked about additional hand-outs with grammar exercises, glossaries, syllabi, tables of 'red riječi'. These are the things we will work on, AS WELL AS the get-togethers for BCS learners in Sarajevo, what a great idea!

Having said this, I would like to invite you to share your thoughts with us, either commenting on this post, or e-mailing us, as we hope it might help those who still haven’t made up their minds about coming to Lingvisti. In the meantime, I will share some of the comments from the evaluation forms – I have omitted those which read things like: 'You are awesome!', 'Please don't change anything!!!', 'Stvarno odlični. Vi ste radili dobar posao. Ne promijenite ništa!', 'You were the best teachers I have ever had to learn the language and I feel sorry that I didn't get a chance more than one course with you', 'Najbolji ste, hvala za sve!’  Uh – oh, I've just posted them, didn't I? Keep reading!

What would you change? “I would have liked more challenging exercises. I would change Jakov's hairstyle. “

On organisation: “There was always somebody there, quick answers via e-mail, spontaneous. “

Prostorije: “Malo premanje, ali šarmantan.”

“Baš mi se sviđalo da smo pričali o svim mogućim stvarima (npr. feminizmu :)) i ne samo o temama u knjizi.“

 “I appreciated your positive attitudes – it made me more confident in speaking up! “

“A good mixture of having fun and learning. “

“Excellent explanation of grammatical concepts. Clear enthusiasm for language. Engaging and interesting class discussions. “

“Excellent compilation of materials. Very current and timely topics. Great selection of grammatical charts. “

 “I liked the split between grammar and speaking sections of the class. “

“As someone who lives here, I would love a longer intensive course (4 or 6 weeks).”

“Ja bih htjela da naučim više o književnosti BiH.”

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