I’m an expert?
Today I gave my first guest lecture at the Kirovograd Technical College (also known as the Kirovograd Machine Building College – KMBC).
Before I say how it went, I will clarify these terms I have been using as relates to my secondary assignment. Because living in Kirovograd is expensive, I live in a dormitory building (luckily for me, in an apartment of sorts on the first floor – the students all live on the other floors). Because I live in the dormitory building, I have to earn my rent, so to speak. So I work with the university where I live. It is called the Kirovograd National Technical University (national because it is a “state” college – like the U of MN, U of WI, etc. and there are other locations in other oblasts).
Affiliated with the Kirovograd National Technical University (or KNTU) is a college, KMBC. In Ukraine, kids can leave school at age 14 and go to a college like KMBC, which can be viewed and used as either a trade school type education or as the basis to use at University. In this case, the students who go to KMBC (ages 14-18) and study auto mechanics do not usually continue on to university, unless they will study engineering. The students who study business and computers usually do go on to university.
Clear? Yeah, sometimes I still get confused too, because believe me, that is simplifying it. In any case, I am affiliated with both the university, KNTU, and their college, KMBC, because when I approached them to live here, it turns out that the college had applied for a Peace Corps Volunteer already – but they wanted a TEFL volunteer. They got me.
Because I came to them so late in the semester last term, we just did a few English Club meetings (this is not a raging success at KMBC OR KNTU) and decided to revisit things this semester, with the idea that I could do some guest lectures as well. At both campuses. Oy.
This is in addition to my work at the library. This is normal for CD volunteers who live in larger areas, to be affiliated with a university (because we have to have someplace to live) and thus do English clubs and, sometimes, guest lectures.
Well, when they found out that one of my graduate degrees is an MBA, they called me an Economics expert. From day one. I tried to explain that simply having an MBA does not make me an expert, in Economics or any other aspect of business (well, I am grateful they did not call me a Finance expert, since that was my weakest area in my MBA studies).
I actually like Economics – okay, I like Macro Economics and Global Economics, not so much Micro Economics. Yet, I still would not call myself an expert. But they are, so we lined up my first guest lecture at KMBC for today, on the topic of Minimum Wage in the United States.
Luckily for me, my work was made easy by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Economic Policy Institute – they had already done most of the work for me re: analysis, and all I had to do was put it together into a guest lecture.
Somewhat to my surprise, the lecture went over very well. The woman I work with at the college translated when they needed it, and the students seemed to be interested in what I had to say.
English club, however, still is not drawing them in. Oh well…they all say they want to learn English but…
Back to my “expertise.” So now I will be conducting guest lectures on various Economic topics at both the university (I have moved to the International Business Department) and at the college. They are still calling me an expert in Economics – I cannot seem to stop them from doing that. Maybe by next year, when I am coming closer to the end of my service, I actually will be? (just kidding, I know it would take years for that to actually happen).
Well, I’ve never been called an expert in anything before, so I guess I’ll just roll with it!