Sunday, February 2, 2014

This past weekend we had a mandatory conference for all 2014 Fulbrighters  from the Czech and Slovak Republics.  For many years, the two countries were together in the Fulbright commission, and they still work closely together. It was wonderful to get the two groups together, as we were to get a much deeper understanding of the Fulbright experience.

The conference was three days where we shared our research, experiences and otherwise networked.  There are only six of us (I think)  that are college professors- and are here as professors, with one of us here doing a project. A couple of us are on a teacher exchange program, so they teach in high school the USA.  A couple of others are Ph.D. Students conducting research. However, the vast majority of the group were ETA’s (English Teaching Assistants).  Thus the average age of our group is probably 22.

We each had to present for 15 minutes, and therefore we got to hear about all the different cities in the two countries.  It was very interesting.  However, I was most interested in the projects and interests of the other professors.  
  •   Linney Wix from the University of Arkansas is here doing a project.  She is investigating Children’s Art from the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
  •  Christopher Philips from the University of Cincinnati is here to teach in US. History. His research focuses on the cultural impact war has on the public identity.  
  •  Erik Ugland, from Marquette University (College of Communication) is here to teach in Mass Communication Law. 
  •  Patricia Dyk is a here as a Distinguished Chair, and  focuses on leadership.  She is the Director of the Leadership Center at the University of Kentucky.
  •   Barbara Vann is here to primarily teach sociology She is from Loyola, Baltimore.

In addition to these presentations, I was assisted in getting my work visa for Slovakia, and met people from both the embassies and directors from the Fulbright Commission.

The conference was held in the beautiful city of  Olomouc .  The city is the second largest and second oldest city in the Czech  Republic after Prague.  I will share more information on the city in a future blog.

One of the highlights was the ability to speak and listen to English.  The conference was open to all dependents of the Fulbrighters, so my son and I had the opportunity to meet and hang out with the wives, husbands and kids of the others.  This was great.  We allowed the kids the run of the hotel and they were so relieved and excited to be able to play with other American kids.  You can check out Cadens blog to learn  more about his expeience with al the American kids (once I can get him to write it!).


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