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Showing posts from November, 2014

The first 100 days

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Today is the hundredth day of my learning journey in my Humphrey Fellowship year, so it's time for a small recap.

The most important, the most impressive, the most powerful experience that I've gained here is meeting people - people from all the six continents, people so different in so many ways, yet so similar, so kind, so friendly, so helpful.

Emerging technologies come next. Learning from experts is absolutely priceless. It feels great to be a student again, especially here at Penn State where I have access to all the books, journals, articles and databases! A whole new world opened up to me when I got my student PSU ID.   All it takes to borrow a book or an article is just a click. In a semester a student can borrow up to 200 books and keep them for the whole semester! If only I had  time to read all of them.

What I still haven't learned is thinking in English. I'm still waiting for that click to happen to make me think in English spontaneously .. and speak it fl…

Week 14: Brown bags

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Brown bag lunches are very popular here at Penn State. A brown bag lunch is an informal meeting that takes place over lunch. It's usually an informative session about a topic that is of interest to faculty and students. They can bring their own food, usually packed in a brown bag, but sometimes the food is provided for the participants. I went to my first brown bag in September when all the Humphrey Fellows were given several minutes to introduce themselves and the work they do to the College of Education faculty.

This past week I spoke at two brown bags and I'm speaking at another one this Friday. In two  of them I spoke about Croatia to the staff of the Corporate Controller and I think they liked my talk and I hope I was a good ambassador of my country, especially as some attendees told me after the presentation they would like to go visit Croatia. I spoke about, I think, unusual things, like what coffee means in the life of a typical Croat, the secrets of lace-making from …

Week 13: Global Leadership Forum

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2014 Global Leadership Forum was held in Washington D.C. from November 2-6. All the Humphrey fellows from 16 campuses got together in DC. There were 171 fellows from 98 countries!


The event was organized by the IIE and there were many events we attended, such as the dream-like visit to the National Geographic Society or the grand reception at the Department of State where I met Mario Skunca, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Croatian Embassy and Maja Cakarun, 2013-14 Humphrey Fellow from Croatia.

The topic of the GLF was climate change and resilience and each campus gave a presentation. For the occasion we had  T-shirts made with a print of a photo of all of us in the woods of West Virginia and Brinda and Muhammad,  who delivered the presentation, rocked! The GLF was also a great opportunity for us to meet with representatives from local organizations and talk about the possibilities of doing our professional affiliation in their organizations at the end of the Humphrey year. It was a h…

Week 12: It's ..... yeeeeeaaaaah .... Halloween!!!

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Needless to say, to celebrate  Halloween was one of my must-do things while in the U.S. and I was lucky to have been invited not to one, but to two parties. The first one, on October 31, was thrown by Jackie, who was so kind as to prepare all kinds of things kids usually do on Halloween, like decorating cookies or putting hands in the feel box where there were some things like eyeballs, guts and some other gross stuff.

The other party we went to tonight is I think one of the most famous Halloween parties in this part of Pennsylvania!  It is thrown every year by my mentor Dr. Kyle Peck at his home in the middle of the woods. There were about 100 people there wearing fantastic creative and original costumes, there was a band playing and we were all dancing, singing, drinking, eating, chatting, it was fun, fun, fun.