Interview with Kristi Lemm about her Fulbright experiences at ELTE PPK
What are your general experiences about your time spent at ELTE PPK?
I have enjoyed my experience at ELTE PPK so far, particularly with the students. I'm teaching students in the masters program in social psychology, and two groups of Erasmus students. I was initially worried about whether students would be willing to talk and participate in class, but I have been very impressed with their willingness to engage. I'm having so much fun teaching both classes. I'm very pleased that I get to teach Hungarian students as well as international students. I am learning so much about culture from all of them!
For what reason did you choose Hungary, and ELTE PPK within it, as the location of your scholarship?
My husband, Mark Bussell, and I applied for Fulbright awards at the same time, so we needed to find a location that had opportunities for someone in Chemistry as well as Psychology. Hungary was one of the locations that had relevant Fulbright awards for both of us, and we were both excited at the prospect of living in Budapest. Mark had some connections in Hungary through his PhD advisor, who is a Hungarian chemist who emigrated to the US after the 1956 revolution. I did not initially know anyone in Hungary, but I found Dr. Anna Kende through the PPK website, and she was very enthusiastic and supportive of my application. Mark and I were thrilled when we learned that we both received Fulbright awards. Dr. Kende has been a great host, and everyone at ELTE PPK has been so nice and so helpful, letting me see their previous course syllabi and helping me understand the expectations for teaching here.
Your subject is Academic Writing here. What made you chose this subject?
My department at Western Washington University revised the psychology curriculum a few years ago to place a greater emphasis on writing skills. I began teaching writing courses at the masters and undergraduate levels, and I really enjoyed it. The Fulbright application required me to propose teaching two courses, and when I saw that the PPK curriculum offered writing courses in English, I knew that would be a great fit for me.
You work at the Western Washington University, and your research areas are social cognition, stereotyping and prejudice, gender identity. Did you have a chance to get an understanding of these areas at PPK?
My Fulbright award is focused on teaching, so I haven't been doing any research here at PPK. However, the students in my graduate class are working on literature review papers that are relevant to their potential thesis topics, and I am enjoying learning about their research interests. I am also very interested in Dr. Kende's research on prejudice toward the Roma community in Hungary.
What are your experiences about Hungary, in general?
As an American, I tend to smile at pretty much everyone I see on the street. I learned pretty quickly that this is not a normal thing to do here! However, although Hungarians are not always so smiley, I have found everyone to be very nice and helpful when I needed it. People seem to be appreciative of my efforts to say a few (poorly pronounced) phrases in Hungarian. And Mark and I are absolutely enjoying getting to experience Budapest. The city is so interesting, and so beautiful. I have never lived in a place where I can see a castle from my living room window!