Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pazmany Peter Catholic University

The process of finding new GM partners is an odd one. There is a lot of thought that goes into picking out countries and universities, but some of it is just a process of adapting on the fly. A few days before taking off on the last trip I almost cancelled the Hungarian leg of the trip because I didn't think it made sense as I was balancing out the cost of the trip and my initial perceptions of the reaction I was getting from a couple Hungarian universities. I actually contacted my travel agent about just flying back early, but in the space of a couple hours I heard what it would cost to change the flight, and found a more affordable hotel, and received a couple very hopeful emails. As it turns out the Hungarian leg of the journey ended up being remarkably productive and Hungary may end up being a foundation of the expanding network. I've already talked about one of the universities, Corvinus.

The other Hungarian university is Pazmany Peter Catholic University. You take a pleasant forty-five minute train ride out of Budapest to the village of Piliscsaba. Finding the right train station can be a bit iffy in Hungary because at some of the stations signage is at a minimum. Instead of a series of signs that run parallel to the tracks, you often only have one sign that is facing towards the front of the train (so it benefits you to sit up in the front of the train). I kept getting out of the train at each stop to see if I could spot the sign. Luckily, the stop for the university, Pazmaneum, was very well marked and had a quaint little station, which you walked through and right into the university itself. The university has a very intimate feel, about the size of Champlain itself, with a very strong liberal arts tradition. I had a series of great meetings with Marton Beke from the international program, Gyorgy Domokos, the Vice-Dean for Foreign Affairs, Kathleen Dubs from the English department, and Karoly Kopasz, a student who works with Marton Beke. Kathleen Dubs had some wonderful ideas for Global Module themes, including using portions of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings for a Global Module focused on perceptions of "the other." This really made me happy because literature is a wonderful fit for the Global Module approach. Karoly Kopasz was tremendously excited about the project and was checking out the new GM website while we were having the meeting. He couldn't wait for me to get back to the states to get the official OK so that he could get other students at the university to post on the general discussion forum.

No comments: