Bianka Speidl

What is your area of research? How long have you been working in this field? How long have you been lecturing at PPCU?
My field is Arab and Islamic studies, I am conducting research on Islamic law, religious movements, migration, Muslim communities in Europe, Midle Eastern politics and last but not least on Muslims in Hungary. I apply philology as well as anthropology in my research method. I am interested in intercultural communication and I have been teaching cultural recollection and communication to Erasmus students for 3 years.

When you were a university student yourself, did you ever study abroad? If you did, what courses did you take?
Yes I had the chance and the pleasure to study abroad. First in Tunis in the Bourghiba Institute, then in Naples with and Erasmus scholarship at the Istituto Orientale di Napoli, finally in Damascus at the Damascus University. During my Phd I studied in Exeter, UK where I earnt my degree and I conducted a 9-month fieldwork in Lebanon

How did you choose the country and the university, and how much information did you have about the courses and the lecturers before your visit?
I had information and contacts form my fellow students. Each time was a real adventure.

Have you got any recent teaching experience at foreign universities and with the students of these universities?
I did my doctoral research at the Institue of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter where I maintain strong professional contacts ever since. I was a visiting research fellow there in 2016 and I regularly participate in conferences and workshops abroad.

Your lectures here, at PPCU, are very popular with foreign students. To what reasons do you attribute this?
I think cultural recollection and communication is a lived experience for everyone, it is interdisciplinary and practical.

How easy is it to find the way to your guest students, to reach them and to get on with them?
I enjoy my Erasmus classes a lot, I feel I learn a from my students it is a real exchange of knowledge and experienece.

Are you able to make time for your foreign students out of the tight timeframes of the lectures?
I wish I could teach cultural recollection in both semesters so that we can go deeper into the subject.

Can you contribute to broadening your foreign students' horizon about Hungary and Hungarian culture?
I hope I do. This is my intention. I advise on cultural events, talk about our history and with one of my classes we visited the National Museum together.

What do you like about teaching foreign students?
I love to explore the world, get acquainted with various world views and stand points as well as heritage as lived by the youth.

How can you introduce your foreign students to our university, its past and its spirit?
I hope to be able to convey with my firm identity with respect and curiosity for others.

Could you mention any differences between Hungarian and foreign students in terms of their needs or expectations?
It depends on the country. In general I find foreign students more active in the classes.

Do you ever give your Hungarian students advice on where to spend their Erasmus scholarship? What aspects do you take into consideration when you do so?
Yes, of course. The choice is based on the interest of the particular student and the opportunities available.

Last but not least, when you have spare time, how do you usually spend it?
Of course by travelling.

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