As you might know, I have my Magister's degree in Linguistics and Chinese studies, and I'm working for the MPI EVA and the University of Bamberg at the moment, glossing Tsez folklore texts, collecting wordlists for the ASJP project, and creating a dictionary for the Sanži dialect of Dargi. Then, a few months ago, I read that the University of Zurich is looking for a PhD student to do some research on and writing his PhD thesis about languages and language contact in and around Myanmar. It sounded great and met exactly my interests, so I applied, waited and got among the 4 people to be inteviewed via Skype by the project leader, Mathias Jenny. We had the interview and the week before Christmas I got the position!
That made me incredibly happy and my parents incredibly proud. So, as of March/April 2014 I will be living and studying and doing research in Zurich, Switzerland. I have already started learning Burmese, but I haven't had much time for more than 2 short lessons in a Burmese online course. My 3 years of doing this PhD will also include 5 field trips to Myanmar of about 1 month each. I'm so looking forward to all of this! And I'm so excited!
Kiev is the capital of the Ukraine, the place of quite a lot of political unrest in the past few weeks but nontheless the place where my girlfriend Jana and I are going to spend New Year's Eve. From December 29 to January 5 we're meeting there, in Kiev, to be together again and celebrate. Why did we choose Kiev of all places? Well... it was a kind of pragmatical decision: Jana is from Russia and I'm from Germany, and we both won't need visa for visiting Ukraine, otherwise it would've been complicated, unsure and expensive. Furthermore, Ukraine is more or less in the middle between Leipzig and Yekaterinburg and a relatively cheap country compared to the other choices (which included Turkey and Thailand, among others). So the decision was... logical. ô_o
We booked our hotel, we'll avoid dangerous rebellious crowds but we still hope that Kiev is a nice place to be. This is also something I'm looking really forward to!
And if we're lucky, Jana will get the chance to do her PhD in Astrophysics next year as well — probably in Heidelberg, or in several European cities. I'm crossing my fingers for her!
Дружба means friendship in Russian. It's the name of a tiny village in Dagestan, somewhere between Makhachkala and Derbent, not too far from the coast of the Caspean Sea. Here's a map! Anyways, that's where I will be in February to March. In Druzhba, living with a nice host family. The family father, a native speaker of the Sanzhi dialect of Dargi, will also by my informant, as I am going to conduct fieldwork there, which mostly consists of recording him for an audio version of the above mentioned dictionary and trying to enlarge the size of the dictionary a little by elicitating more words. I'm looking forward to the life in that Dagestanian village (this will be my first trip to the Caucasus!), but I'm also afraid of my poor Russian. Will I manage to communicate, will they understand me, will the microphone and my computer work properly? Will I like the food, the sanitary facilities? But I tell myself: I survived China, I survived Sucha Beskidzka... Dagestan will be a piece of
So next year will provide quite some travelling for me: Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and Myanmar! :D