Wednesday 30 December 2009


I (Samm) moved jobs from Budapest (where I was working for an NGO for 5/6 months) to Szeged in June and started teaching at the Law School in the Comparative Law Institute. They have an “American Legal Expert's Training” and I get to teach undergraduate law (tort, property, drafting, case law analysis etc) to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

It has been fun but challenging in some ways in that I have to teach in blocks, so 5-6 hours in one go which is a bit weird for me as I am used to seminars being 45 or the longest 90 minutes. This has meant that I have had to really think about what info and how to structure the seminar etc. The other big difference is that the students are not at all used (or so it seems) to an interactive format! This meant that at the beginning of the term they were very quiet, just writing things down and only talking if they were asked a direct question as the term has progressed they have got better at it but I do feel as if though they are very much outside of their comfort zone. I now appreciate how frustrating and demoralizing it must have been sometimes for my own tutors in our tutorials when it was obvious no one had done the reading or very little, its such a waste of everyone's time!

Anyhow, I look forward to the next term I am also learning on the job how to teach better and how to convey complicated terms and ideas. I hope that I will continue to develop good relationships with the students. I have a possibility of teaching something that I am (more) interested in next year so that would be very exciting, just have to think about what I would like to focus on.

I have also had the fantastic and fun opportunity to do some human rights writing (and got published!) in the form of a booklet which is a user-friendly guide to a declaration. I have also being working on a guidebook around issues such as access, advocacy, adolescents etc and how to engage and make “rights” meaningful to them. So that has been fun, don't know where it will lead but have been learning lots.

Apart from the teaching I am also undertaking a PhD. I have felt very daunted by this prospect and the first three months I feel like I have not had enough head space to even think about it as I was learning the subjects that I was teaching and getting to grips with that! However, towards the end of November I got some time to think and write down some thoughts so I am starting to feel a little better about the situation now. I have a few article and conference paper deadlines on the horizon which will mean that I will have to start getting somethings down on paper. The other big problem is the library facilities here, not many of the legal text books are in English let alone touch on/cover the areas that I am interested in and the online journals are not really subscribed to unless they are in German etc. So, I have come up against somewhat of a brick wall in that respect. So come January I think that I will be trawling around the library somemore to see what is on offer.

Regional TV.
I had 5 minutes of fame on the local television here in Szeged! The report was about Szeged University and the different programmes on offer. I turned up as usual to the department to be told that I was going to be interviewed (they had mentioned something the day before but I wasn't sure if they were really going to interview me) in Hungarian, in about 5 minutes! The reason being was that they wanted to talk to the different “lektor's” (this means the foreign speaking teachers) and get their perspective, what do they teach, the pro's and con's of the legal systems etc. riveting stuff , eh?

Andy Continues as usual.
Andy has had his contract renewed for another 6 months (until June), we will have to wait and see what happens about that. We do feel at peace about the whole situation and are just excited to see what happens for him next here in Szeged.

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