The language does not matter much. The basics of programming don't change with the language, only the syntax and some details. Once you know one language, learning another one is quite quick.
IMO Java is a good language for learning. My teacher used to say that in Java there are many things of which you can say "always" or "never" (such as "objects are always handled by reference"). Java protects the programmer by preventing direct memory access (unlike C) and memory management (garbage collector does that). Error handling and stack traces are good as well.
I believe the best way to learn programming is to go to a course like you (I never learnt it by just reading books). The most important thing is to do the exercises by yourself
and play around with things.