“I like to to be physically present in a classroom with my classmates and teachers but I have adjusted to the new system of online classes. Our co-ordinator, José Antonio and all the teachers are ensuring that everything is in place for us. Our only responsibility is to attend classes, study and do homework,” says Harshith Gariga, 22, who is a young graduate from Anantapur.
Having completed his Bachelor’s in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, he felt the need to hone his public speaking and communications skills to enhance his employability in a competitive job market which is why he is currently studying German and brushing up his English and soft skills at the RDT Professional School of Languages.
Since the lockdown, the classes are being conducted online, a transition that was challenging for some of his classmates. Here he tell us more:
How has the lockdown affected the Professional School?
The main challenge is not having face-to-face interactions with the teachers and other students. We are nearing the end of our course and these two months are quite crucial because in this period we are improving our soft skills such as how to face job interviews, etc. It would be more effective if I stayed at the Professional School because I would be able to learn from the feedback of my classmates and teachers as to how I am presenting myself, areas I can improve on, etc. So this aspect of interpersonal learning is now missing but we are learning other skills.
What has been your experience of studying online during this lockdown?
It has been fine but I prefer staying at the Professional School. Once my friends and I translated some sentences from Telugu to German and vice versa. Staying together provides such opportunities and it is easier to communicate with friends. Now, during this lockdown, we are assigned to speak for 15 minutes with our friends in the language we are learning. We are in touch but I miss the physical interactions.
Are you able to cope with the online classes? What are the different methods you all are using to study?
Yes, I have learnt to. In the beginning I didn’t know about the existence of these websites and apps that we are now using to study, how to use them, upload my homework, etc. but now it is easy. We use Google Classroom, Hangouts, Schoology and Zoom. We have a whatsapp group with our teachers to solve our queries and doubts. Some students are also using apps like HiNative where you can practise your language skills with native speakers from all over the world. Some are using apps that help with grammar, others are using audio apps.
How are your classmates coping, since most of them are in villages?
Some of them have internet issues so they have to come outside their homes and attend the online classes by sitting in some open spaces in their villages, which is a bit difficult for them. Also we have to co-ordinate with our teachers according to the time difference since most of them are in Spain. When classes are at 3:30 to 5:30 PM, it is tough for those in the villages because of the heat and the weather.
What do you think will be the next step? And what are your plans?
I want to join a company that works in the field of electronics and telecommunications and needs German translations. I want to keep improving in both areas. As for the lockdown, currently we have missed out on our B1 exams. This situation is uncertain but we just got to know that our official exams will be conducted in the first week of July, so, the final countdown has started.
But throughout this all, I want to thank my teachers. Due to this tough situation, they had to go back to their countries but they continue to teach us with dedication. Our co-ordinator, Jose Antonio, is constantly ensuring we work according to our normal schedule and that there’s no hindrance.
Pictures and Text: Felita Viegas