I’ve complained about it a lot, but I can’t blame you if you haven’t been able to keep up. All my complaints are spread out all over the place. So I’ve decided to compile it into one big blog post, just… because.
I have to pass five modules of Danish language in order to stay in the country, which is fine. I went to the language school near me for a laughably short interview during which the school director determined I should be placed in the lowest level. I really felt like she had decided on my level before the interview even began, because I asked her something about how the school works in English, because I wanted to make sure I really, really understood this point. I think she just assumed at that point that my Danish must suck, and she seemed really dismissive after that.
I started module 1, and the way it works is you’re in a module 1 class until you can pass it, and the students start and stop at different times. So the teacher pulled me to the side since it was my first day (and not anyone else’s) to give me books and stuff. Remember this class is for people who don’t speak ANY Danish, but it’s basically immersion-style. He explained the course structure and what the books were for and everything in Danish and asked if I understood. I said, “ja” and he was like, wait… really?! After a bit of talking, he said I should be in at least module 3, but unfortunately he couldn’t change what the director did. He did say I could take the test the next time it was offered instead of after 3 months, which is the usual time. To pass the test, amongst other things, you have to have read three books (the length and difficulty of which depends on the module, so for module 1, I use the term “book” kinda loosely), so even if you’re a star at the language, you need some time to prepare for the test.
I passed modules 1, 2, and 3 in a about month each (though with sick days and vacations and such, it took longer than 3 calendar months). My module 3 teacher recommended me for the module 5 class, because she figured I’d fly through module 4 as well and could just take the test in my own time while studying with the module 5 class, but I requested to be put in a proper module 4 class anyway since I wasn’t in a hurry and module 4 actually has some new-to-me material. I had been in module 4 for about three weeks when I had to stop because my morning sickness was out of hand.
I contacted the school at the beginning of January and asked to restart, and they send me a letter that very day with the details of my new class. I was all set to start right away. When I arrived, I discovered all the other students in the class were in module 2. I wanted to talk to the teacher and find out if there was a particular reason for this placement, but unfortunately she had a sub for the day, and of course the sub didn’t know diddly. I thought I’d stick it out for the day anyway because at least I’d be using Danish and practicing a bit, but once we headed to the computer lab and our assignment was given, I realized I wouldn’t actually be speaking to anyone, and what we were asked to write was so far below my level as to not be helpful at all. Like “See Spot run.” stuff, when I’m supposed to be able to do past, future, conditionals, and subjunctives by now. The guy next to me was looking up every single word in the assignment in a dictionary. I got up and walked out.
I emailed the school and said they had mistakenly placed me in module 2 but I’m actually in module 4. I got a reply just now that my class is for module 3 (not sure why everyone thinks they’re in 2, then, but whatever) and since I haven’t passed module 3 yet, I’m in the right class. BUT I HAVE PASSED MODULE 3. I know I did. I remember it very well. And I remember sitting in a module 4 class and doing module 4 assignments, and I remember turning in all my module 3 books and getting module 4 books.
So, the secretary said she would check with the woman who administers the test to check and see if I passed or not, but test woman was out sick. For some reason, no one else can look. Whatever. After a few days, secretary gets back to me to tell me test woman says I failed. So I asked how it’s possible for me to have failed but then have this very same woman tell me to my face that I passed with high marks, and then to be placed in an advanced class, and for me to have in my possession the books and homework assignments for the next module. I dug up the name of my previous teacher in the hopes they could find out if she remembers me or anything, and I even found the date of the text I sent home saying I passed. (I would not have sent such a text just because I *felt* I passed, kwim? Someone had to have TOLD ME that I passed.)
The secretary didn’t bother trying to explain how this all happened. She just came out with: “Well, we were supposed to do another placement interview anyway since it’s been so long. I didn’t think you needed one, but obviously you do now.” I felt like there’s nothing I could do about this, because it’s what’s “supposed” to happen anyway, so even if I can prove that I passed and was in the middle of module 4, they’re were going to reinterview me to make sure I didn’t forget everything. That shouldn’t be a big deal, but all I could think about was how my first interview had gone. Uuuuugh. I got scheduled for an interview a couple days later.
The interview guy (someone I’d never met before) started out with “do you speak Danish?” I said yes, and he asked, “did you go here?” I said, yeah and actually…. I explained the whole mess, and he volunteered to go get the test for me so we could figure it out. He came back and said there was no test. It was as if I never took it at all. I said I knew I took it and I passed, and he said, how about you take it now? (Just the written part… I think having explained the clusterfudge in Danish was good enough for him.) It’s a two-hour test, I did it in 20 minutes, and he said there were no mistakes, and obviously I should be in module 4! I went in all angry about it but left happy. He was very understanding about the whole thing.
The interview was on a Thursday, so I was expecting to start on the following Tuesday, but I need to get a letter from the school telling me the details and confirming my spot. When I didn’t get my letter by Tuesday afternoon, I asked what was up, and the secretary said that she needed a referral from the municipality. She wrote to them asking for it on Monday, and as soon as they get it, they’ll send me my letter. Don’t ask me why I didn’t need one before. I don’t know.
Yesterday, the secretary emailed me to say she was sending my letter right away, my referral finally came through, and I would start classes on Tuesday. Please let this be the end of the saga. Assuming there are no more glitches, that’s still a whole month wasted when I could have been learning Danish and making progress towards the test I need to pass to stay in the country!