In the first two semesters as part of your coursework you are required to take FOUR options, of which ONE is compulsory (IR5501) and the other three optional.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The things is I like the President of Tatarstan. I like Tatarstan. I want to learn Tatar. I wasn't even making fun of the guy. I wanted to wish one of my tatar friends a happy birthday in tatar and though he would appreciate the visage of his president. Okay, so my status for a while was "I don't feel so hot," but I wasn't using it in a sexual sense, the President of Tatarstan is a fine looking man by any measure, but in the sense that I was sick. Come on, the man has a sash, he's awesome! So annoyed.
Maybe if Kazakhstan chills out and Sasha Baron Cohen is bored he should do a film about Tatarstan. They seem to want something to get upset about.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Anyway I was chatting with her today while she was in my room. She was complaining about how when she came to Austria from the Philippines there weren't many immigrants and it was easy to get a visa. That made sense to me, most of Austria was boxed in by the iron curtain/communist Yugoslavia so there wouldn't have been so there wouldn't have been much immigration, legal or otherwise from its neighbors from there. Anyway it was funny to hear her complain how there were too many immigrants now and how things basically weren't as good before in the 80s, partly because the mental image I have of the 80 makes it very hard for everything to better then (mainly leg warmers, snap bracelets, and Richard Simmons), but also because an immigrant complaining about immigrants amused me, though I supposed it is basically the same thing as anyone in the US complaining about immigration. Still though she is right, not about immigrants making things worse here (I have no idea about that), but there are a good amount of immigrants here these days, especially from Slovakia and the former Yugoslavia.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I tried to buy a reproduction of an old map of Vienna I liked that had been in a display window. It turned out the store only sold very expensive pipes and they had gotten the map as a gift from a client. They didn't seem to appreciate my attempt to buy it.
A homeless woman selling the homeless magazine here in Vienna waved me on and didn't ask me to buy here paper, as if acknowledging that homeless people and students are pretty much the same thing.
I discovered that not only does Vienna have Christmas markets, it also has Easter markets. Substitute Christmas booze with Easter booze and add real bunnies.
The cleaning lady disappeared with my towels right as I came back from the gym and was ready to shower (i.e. was disgusting).
I found the Russian specialty store here in Vienna. They had the Russian vodka I wanted to buy as a present. The woman at the counter wouldn't speak with me in Russian after I greeted her in German.
I saw an piece of Austrian modern theater with a long monologue read by an Asian woman with a strong accent in an evening gown about eating another woman.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Modest and Shy
Meticukous and Reliable
Practical and Diligent
Intelligent and Analytical
On the Dark Side...
Overcritical and Harsh
Fussy and a Worrier
Perfectionist and Conservative
I have accepted that having European friends means putting up with smoke.
I have accepted that my clothes will stink and that I will have to wash them.
I have accepted that my hair will stink and I will have to wash it.
I did all of that and I still stunk.
I kept smelling smoke the whole day.
It was my beard that stunk.
I couldn't wash it.
I had to shave it.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Basically I have found this year that what I have really enjoyed has been Russia/former Soviet Union related and that I have been trying to relate everything to Russia. Also I am currently taking seven Russian classes and teaching my real classes the like the electives that don't count. I can't really say why but Russian is really important to me. By that I mean both the study of the country (and those of the former Soviet Union, whooo Kazakhstan! Happy New Year to all of my Kazakh readers!) and the language. I really want to speak Russian well in a way that is hard to explain, I get into French when I am speaking it, German I often forget isn't English or that English isn't German depending how confused I am (not a good thing), and Kazakh is sort of a novelty. I am not sure if it is an ethnic/heritage thing, in the states people usually consider me Irish because of my reddish hair, but I can't identify with it much and have never had a connection to Ireland or to Irish culture. I am half Italian, but that is something no one believes. I am part Ukrainian and that is something people can see and that I am proud of. I like it when people tell me I look Russian/Slavic and am likewise proud that I actually speak a Slavic language (one of my proudest moment was perhaps when my native Russian Russian speaker was shocked when I told her I didn't speak Russian at home). So maybe that is why I want to speak Russian well. I just feel like if I don't take a year now and really get good at Russian I never will. I just don't know when I would have the opportunity to do something like that again (seems fairly difficult when you are already working).
So I think I will be applying to Middlebury's masters in Russian program (in Moscow). I like Moscow, though I consider myself more of a St. Petersburg person perhaps because of love the old imperial days, but this is the only American degree program in Russia. It would have me writing a 60 page thesis in Russian and working hard for over a year. At the end I think I would either be sick of Russian or have taken things to a whole new level.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Masters in Middle East and Central Asian Security Studies
The Masters Degree in Middle East and Central Asian Security Studies involves a taught component (one core and three optional modules) and a final 15,000-word dissertation. It runs over 12 months commencing in September.
There is a pressing need for analysts who combine mastery of analytical tools with in-depth familiarity with the culture of the geographic area of the Middle East and Central Asia. These regions have become central to contemporary security studies in that they are both the location of substantial world oil reserves and of its most intractable conflicts that have been viewed as generating the threat of international terrorism, clash of civilizations and are proposed to be the object of democratization experiments.
The course builds on the University of St. Andrews’ existing and long-standing research expertise in these regions, and will be taught by internationally recognized scholars who already enjoy an institutional history of collaboration. These scholars are primarily located in the School of International Relations and in association with the Institute of Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus Studies (MECACS) which is co-sponsored with the School of History. The training program here will offer opportunities for researchers also to be involved in MECACS and in the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence. Additionally, the course offers the possibility of intensive language tuition.
The program will allow students to combine modules from several different disciplines, or to specialize in one area. Examples of possible optional courses include: Central Asia in Global Politics; Nations, States and Nationalism; Conflict in The Middle East; International Relations of the Modern Middle East; Political Economy of the Modern Middle East; Politics & State Formation in the Middle East; The Political Role of Islam in the Contemporary Arab World; The Promised Lands: Great Britain & the Arabs, 1914-23; Egypt:1798-1970: Imperialism and Nationalism in the Middle East; Modern Arabic Literature : Exile and Identity and Special Topics in Modern Middle East Politics.
Students will also be offered the possibility of language tuition either at the University of St. Andrews (Arabic) or at the intensive language summer school at Indiana University with which it has an agreement (for example beginners’Azeri, Kazakh, Turkmen, Uzbek, Tajik, Pashto,Uyghur, and Georgian).
Monday, March 19, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
1. Go and teach English in a French public school for a year. Pros: a year when I am being paid to work on my French. Cons: school sucks, I could be stuck in the French equivalent of Hicksville without a car.
2. Try and get a job in finance in New York. Pros: I might actually have money/an apartment and would be back in NYC. Cons: I would kind of be a major sell out. I would also be doing what my dad wants me to.
3. Apply for the UNESCO internship for former Fulbright scholars in Paris. Pros: It is Paris. Cons: I would probably be doing everything in English so my French probably wouldn't improve that much and it is only for six months (sept.-march).
4. Apply to the Middlebury masters in Russian program. Pros: I would get to improve my Russian Cons: I would have to spend the summer in Vermont and the year in Moscow when all my Russia learning-friends would be in St. Petersburg.
5. Apply for the German Parliamentary Internship Program. Pros: I know Berlin pretty well it sounds pretty coo. Cons: It is from March to July, which leaves the question what I would do before and would keep me from being able to do the Middlebury program the next year if I wanted to.
6. Try and get a job as a paralegal. Pros: Russia! Friends should be in St. Petersburg. Cons: I don't know if I could get one.
7. Be a janitor. Pros: I would have at least one pair of clothes and would never have to worry about fogeting my name. Cons: I would be a janitor.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
I also just find the Slovenian identity extremely interesting. I just found myself wondering what differentiates Slovenians from Italians, Austrians, or Croatians? Not the relgion, they are all catholic, not the landscape (Slovenian is a mixture of Austria's mountains, Croatia beaches and Italy's historic Venetian towns). It seemed to me that what was really Slovenian was the mixture of all of the different cultures. Even going into the Slovenian restaurant in Ljubljana I was struck by how all the typical Slovenian dishes I had been recommended by Slovenian friends were only side dishes, and all of the entrees were standard Austro-Hungarian fare. I don't know how representative it was but is seemed to say a lot about the culture and made me start to think that what was Slovenian was maybe the mixture of all the influences in Slovenia.
Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital, also really impressed me. The historic city center looks pretty much any medium sized Austrians city (Americans read: small), but Ljubljana is much more dynamic. Austrian cities are almost pretty and well kept, but especially the smaller ones lack any sort of a youth culture, to the point where they are nice to visit during the day, but God help you if you are stuck there at night (not true of Vienna to be sure). They are the equivalent of an old person's house, everything is pretty and in order, but the plastic cover sure as hell isn't going to come off the couch. In Ljubljana you got the feeling there were a lot of young people, there was interesting graffiti, and just the feeling that something was going on. It was nice to have the plastic off.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
An odd number, unless you are trying to give them a subtle hint that you want them dead.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Discussing in German class how Austrian states are happy to pay women to stay at home with their kids, but don't want to make enough daycare available for them to be able to work.
Having international law where the professor is amazingly good about listening to my question, sounding like he is going to address it and then moving on without any apology, transition, or excuse.
Being the only American in the class who the professor doesn't know by name. He calls the the other two by name. It is always those two by name and then "the other Americans in the class." I am the other Americans. I am not plural.
Listening for a song for the hundredth time on my ipod that sounds like "Buddy Holly" by Weezer.
Russian classes at the university. Having the professor speak extremely slowly, articulate every syllable and then there being students saying they couldn't understand a word she said.
Having an old Austrian women who worked for an airline in the Caucuses insist on peaking to me in English even though we had spoken entirely in German the day before and are both trying to learn Russian.
Introducing myself to random people I have had way too many Russian classes with in the past few days.
Listening to a lecture by a Russian historian hero of mine. Having him sign his book for me. Arranging to meet with him for a coffee.
Russian at the Russian cultural institute. The director for some reason had randomly decided he likes me. Like a lot. Like if he wasn't a married old Russia man I would think he was coming on to me. He used to try and scare me away. Apparently I randomly became interesting at some point.
Watching over an hour long graphic film in Russian about Chechen terrorism. I have no idea why my teacher showed this to us. It lasted the whole class. A lot of people died. I didn't understand a lot of it. She didn't bother to stop the video to explain any of it. I have no idea why we watched it. Apparently she showed another part of it last week, today only about half of the class was there.
Planning a weekend trip with a Fulbright friend (i.e. being completely exhausted and being prepared to go anywhere suggested at any time suggested).
Downloading "Buddy Holly" by Weezer.
Taking a nap.
Updating my blog.
Procrastinating doing the work for French I am way too tired to do.