09 October 2006

"Native Speaker" report

I got through the [no, let's be posessive: "my"] introductory day of classes at the University of East Sarajevo. The morning was a terrible setup with all 1st year students in one group from 9 until 12:15. Too many students (about 75), and too long a session. Doesn't work on that scale for engaging in converation. Was supposed to be two 1.5 hour sessions with each session having half the students. Is supposed to be that way next time. Have received a syllabus for the English Department's "essay" composition component developed over several years by Nenad. He leaves here Wednesday morning for Calgary (he has previously studied, lived, and taught ESL courses in Vancouver). After posting this on my blog, looking at his syllabus is next on my "entertainment" list (there's no tv or radio in the faculty apartments).

My schedule tomorrow is three classes of 3rd and 4th year students: 9-10:30, 10:45-12:15, 12-2 pm. Zeljko, the driver, for some reason, assumes I'm travelling with him to Beograd in the van leaving noonish. Not! Not if I'm teaching until 2 pm (and not if means overnight in BG again with travel north to Senta on Wednesday).

If all settles and comes together here, I might also be interested in entertaining an opportunity to become the "native speaker" in the University of Kragujevac's English Dept. Nothing definite, but it was raised as a possibility yesterday by a professor from there during the drive to Pale, as was the question of whether I might be interested in editing papers written in English by Serbian academics . . .

Republika Srpska Ministry of Labour has not completed their paperwork and issued my work permit. I can't be given a contract to sign until that work permit is delivered. Additionally, the university accountant has found out that she cannot open my payroll deposit account at, I believe, Razvojna Banka (Development Bank of Southeast Europe, reputedly the largest bank in Rebulika Srpska, it's Banju Luka headquartered) until my work permit is issued. This bank has Visa cards that allow cash withdrawls in Serbia and "everywhere", in whatever the local currency is, once it has been sucessfully applied for and received. It is the bank where all UIS employees have a payroll account. Next month I should receive a first pay.

Good news is that I did receive an English Dept. office key and some cash today—a mix of travel expense refund and advances totalling about 180 KM. As a full-time lektor, I will also receive a 70 KM per month food allowance, and three "free" turkish coffees per workday from the faculty-only 4th floor cafe. Other than a pastry, sandwich or pizza slice from the ground floor cafe, all meals or food will have to be bought elsewhere in Pale.

The math prof from BG that I shared a faculty apartment with last night gave his exam today and went back to Beograd a day early. I'll have the room to myself for the next two nights. Nice!

Found out that elsewhere in Pale is the Phys. Ed. faculty, and that Economics just moved into the Law faculty building next door. Also that elsewhere in Pepublika Serpska are this university's campuses for electrical and mechanical engineering, art, and other disciplines. Will have to look into this further.

Didn't bring my camera's cable or software so I can't upload any new pictures while here. Will have to plan for that next time.

shirt: burgandy dress shirt
loc: Rm 401, Filozofski fakultet, UIS, Pale, BiH
temp: 13 C
sound: my typing, the computer, the building's elevator

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