"My brother is a college student."
Translation:Mi hermano es estudiante de universidad.
There's a inconsistency with the way Duolingo translate this sentence. In this example, un is not in the sentence. However, in the another translation: "Mi hermano es UN estudiante de universidad." is translated as "My brother is a college student".
I reported it and hope they will fix this.
The permanent vs. temporary "rule" for ser vs. estar is an over-simplification that most of us learn at first, but does not serve us for very long. The following link is a very good and clear explanation of the issue:
I know the general rule is ser for long term or permanent states, estar for temporary, but honestly I find it easier to respond quickly and use it correctly when I learn each instance individually, sort of as a broad case idiom, rather than try to decide if a state is temporary or permanent. (My cousin may not always be boring, but you'd still say "Mi prima es aburrida"", and dead is certainly permanent, but "Abraham Lincoln está muerto""
Of course you are absolutely RIGHT in that learning correct examples is pivotal and key to accuracy. It is also sometimes useful to have some sense of where to go if you have not yet memorized every conceivable circumstance. There are some much more in-depth guidelines online for the ser and estar, which sometimes helps with the guess if you are just out there trying to converse. --see also my crib-sheet comment to becausewecamp below.
College and University is not necessarily the same thing in the US either. Generally speaking each University is made up of different Colleges. So, State University would be composed of the College of Liberal Arts, College of Business, College of Engineering, and so on. While most students will say they are 'Going to college', this is actually colloquial. College also can be used to refer to vocational schools or 2-year university prep-schools.
In the U.S., I've heard of colleges in two different contexts. A college can be part of a university, such as the College of Engineering or the College of Business, but still part of the university. If a college is separate from a university, it can offer B.S. degrees, or maybe even M.S. degrees. If it offers PhD degrees, it is a university or part of a university, at least from my understanding.
Yes, I've been trying to look into this too.
In British-English 'College' and 'University' are very different things. There are 'Universities' which grant degrees, such as The Universities of Durham, Cambridge, London etc., and there are 'Colleges', which are like residential comunities, where you eat, sleep and socalise. Many Universities only have one college, such as the Universities of Dublin and Edinburgh (I believe) and others, and many don't even bother to note the seperation of the University and the College, such as Bristol (again, I believe) and others.
Then there are 'Polytechnics', or 'Institute's of Technology' in Hiberno-English, and these are very different again. In general they have less and different degree-granting rights, are less prestigious, and offer degree subjects that are more science/ industry/ technical in nature, as opposed to many of the Arts & Humanities degree courses that one finds at Universities like Theology, Land Economy and Near Eastern & Jewish Studies etc. Moreover, the ITs offer diplomas which are below the level of a degree, unlike universities.
Anyway, I'm having trouble finding the words for these destinctions in Spanish, except for very literal translations.
"Why mi hermano es un estudiante de colegio" was not accepted. Instead it was pointed out that "Why mi hermano es un estudiante del colegio" was the correct answer. On the other hand "Mi hermano es estudiante de universidad" (the other correct answer) does not need definite article in front of universidad. Can someone explain to me why do I need to use del (de el) in my answer.
This is actually something that I am often confused by in English, and have to think about which way to write it. I too think that 'a student at the University of York' is someone taking a degree there, whereas 'a student of the University of Oxford' is someone studying the history, say, of Oxford, as you say.
There are many more guidelines for the use of SER and ESTAR: Personally I like using the mnemonic acronym PLACE to call-for ESTAR: Position, Location, Action, Condition, Emotion ... by process of elimination, (most) all others get SER. Gets us a little closer than only temp and perm. Also, check out how the meaning can change depending on the choice of verbs: http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/servsestar.htm
Mi hermano es estudiante de escuela de estudios universitarios is not ok? The dictionary translated college as the above or as colegio....but we were not asked for a translation of "university student". I'm getting confused again...since college and university could mean two different types of institutions and therefore shouldn't the translation be as close as possible to the original?