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Dr. Carl Auerbach Reflects on Semester Teaching in Rwanda

Dr. Carl Auerbach, professor of psychology at YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, recently returned from a semester abroad teaching in Rwanda. As part of a Fulbright Fellowship, Dr. Auerbach taught courses in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the National University of Rwanda.

An excerpt of his experience, in his own words, is below:

In the fall semester of 2011 I traveled to Rwanda on sabbatical, having been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and conduct research at the National University of Rwanda. I went from classrooms where the largest class size was 20 to 30 students, most of whom were white and all of whom spoke English, to classrooms of 80 to 100 students, none of whom were white and only about half of whom spoke English. I went from a cozy apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to an African hotel, where the fact that the power failed at least once a day was compensated for by the invariable cheerfulness of the desk clerk who assured me that the power would be back in no time at all, which it usually was. I went from a culture of rushing to a culture of greeting. From a work environment where I would nod to my colleagues in passing as we hurried to our offices, to a work environment where it was rude not to shake hands with someone you know when you encounter them and to inquire about their health and state of mind.

In short, my sabbatical in Rwanda was a life-changing experience.

To read more about Dr. Auerbach’s experience teaching in Rwanda, click here.

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