Monday, November 19, 2012

Awesome General Studies Modules in NYP

By Nicole Edwards, Year 3, Diploma in Marketing

One of the things I really like in NYP are the different General Studies Modules (GSMs) we are offered each year. During my second year of school, I signed up for 2 GSMs that were definitely interesting and memorable.

The first was Appreciating Leisure Lifestyles, aimed to help students develop an appreciation for various leisure activities. During the course, topics like performing and visual arts were discussed. Personally, I enjoyed learning about all of the activities but the one that I found most memorable was the session on golfing.

Golf is Boring, NOT!

Photo credit: chispita_666

Why Golf? I thought golf was a pastime for the rich and generally quite dull, but I guess my lack of knowledge for the sport makes it seem that way. After completing the module, golf did not become my favourite sport but I do have a new found understanding and more appreciation for it.

It may seem silly to just hit a ball into a hole. However, the aim of the game is to get the ball into either 9 or 18 holes with the least amount of strokes. It was also interesting to note that different parts of the course have different names such as ‘Green’, where the hole is placed, and ‘Hazard’ where golfers are faced with various obstacles from sand to water.

In order to overcome these obstacles and other conditions, golfers have a set of clubs that each have their own specific purpose and are used in specific situations. For example, Woods are clubs that have a large head and are used for long range shots. They are numbered from 1-9 and each club can create specific types of shots. There are many other factors that affect the quality of a shot, from the way the golfer grips the club to the way they stand. It is a sport of great detail and surely each player has taken a long time to perfect his game.

I guess this explains why it seems so slow! The amount of patience required for this game is something toappreciate. Perhaps this is why businessmen enjoy this game. Players have to make sure their position is perfect and every move calculated. If anything, I have definitely gained a new respect for golfers themselves.

Wine Appreciation is Not Just About Tasting Wine

Another memorable session would be Wine Appreciation. I have always thought wine tasting was slightly pretentious. The way the taster would swirl the wine in his mouth, making odd and almost humorous facial expressions only to spit it out into a bucket before announcing his final judgement. However, the course taught me the science behind this practice and also brought to light some facts and misconceptions about wine and wine tasting.

We were taken step by step through the whole process of making wine, from cultivating the fruit, to storage and finally to packaging.

We learnt what the labels on the bottles told us and about the origin of wine. We learnt some interesting facts such as, all Champagnes are sparkling wines but not all sparkling wines are Champagne. A sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it is actually from Champagne, France.

Also, a common mistake about wine tasting is sniffing the cork to assess the wine. I’m sure all of us has gone to a party or a restaurant and seen someone across the table sniffing the cork of the wine bottle apparently to assess the quality of the wine. Well, I’ve learnt that this is completely wrong. The smell from the cork does not provide any value in determining the quality of the wine. So next time you’re at a fancy party, remember NOT to smell the cork.

This module was eye-opening and very entertaining, I am quite sure that it is still being offered to the 2nd year business students and I would definitely recommend it!

The second module that I took was International Film Appreciation and Critique. When I first signed up for this module, I thought it would be an easy pass.

An Exciting Behind the Scenes Experience

Watch movies and then point out what I liked and did not like about it, how tough could that be?

However, after the first lesson, I found that there was much more to it than that. From the composition to the frames and cuts, so much time, effort and skills are needed to shoot a single scene! During the course of this module we were introduced to various genres of film and studied the differences, from big Hollywood films shot in exotic places to independent films shot in the producers’ back yards.

One of the sessions I really enjoyed was the one on foreign films. I watched foreign films before and always enjoyed seeing the different cultures featured on film.

Another session that was very interesting was when we took a look at the filming of one of the most famous Hollywood movies ever, The Titanic. I am sure that most of us have seen this movie at least once and we are all able to empathise with the victims of the tragedy, but that aside, the effects and ‘behind the scenes’ work are what made this movie so brilliant.

During this session, we learnt how the crew had shot those amazing scenes. One in particular that was really impressive was the scene where the water could be seen flooding the grand staircase. That entire scene was shot solely on a scaled model of the ship used in filming. This meant that all the furniture and other props in that scene are literally no bigger that the size of your palm!

This module really gave us some insight on what goes on behind the scenes of the movies. I learnt to appreciate not only the plot but the technical aspects of filming as well. I enjoyed this module very much, and again, would definitely recommend it to anyone who is offered this module.


Nicole Edwards is a Year 3 Diploma in Marketing student from the School of Business Management. She loves reading and socializing with her friends. She has "a bit of an obsession with shoes and Starbucks".

She is a loyal fan of Arsenal football club and she hopes to do a lot of traveling in the future. Her dream job is to be a travel and living journalist. Her other interests include photography and Public Relations.

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