Looking for a job at a university? Here’s what a professor has to say about the market
A professor of Arabic linguistics in Germany gives advice to young graduates. (Shutterstock)
Eckehard Schulz is a Professor of Arabic Linguistics and Translation Studies at Leipzig University — one of Germany’s oldest universities. In 2010, he founded The Al-Arabiyya Institute, an online testing system which draws upon the long tradition of Arabic Studies at the Oriental Institute in Leipzig University. The Institute has been successfully educating Arabists, translators and simultaneous and conference interpreters for Arabic for decades using a world-renowned teaching material which has been successfully used in Germany and around the world.
In this interview, Prof. Schulz gives advice to young graduates who are about to enter the job market. He also tells us about his life, books and what universities look for in new hires.
1. Tell us more about yourself and what you do in 30 words or less.
I am professor of Arabic Linguistics and Translation Studies at Leipzig University which was founded in 1409 and is one of the oldest universities in Germany. My courses are about Arabic grammar, translation studies and history of Arabic language. I teach both BA and MA students. My students are young adults, mostly between 18 and 25 years old.
2. You have worked in the Middle East before. How did you like the environment? How is it different from the West?
I have seen all Arab countries as visiting professor or with official delegations and during private visits, and have always liked the hospitality there which is warm and welcoming and very different from most countries in the West.
3. What is your average day at work like?
My average day starts between 3:00 and 4:00 AM after breakfast in my study room. At around noon I have a siesta or “qailula”, and I go to bed around 11:00 PM. I’m used to sleep only 4 or 5 hours per day. In addition to teaching, I dedicate my time to research and writing books mainly. Here are the most important books I have published so far:
- Standard Arabic, An Elementary-intermediate Course. (Cambridge University Press 2000)
- Modernes Hocharabisch, Lehrbuch mit einer Einführung in Hauptdialekte. (Leipzig 2013)
- Modern Standard Arabic, Textbook Integrating Main Arabic Dialects. (Leipzig 2013)
- عربی معاصر به انضمام لهجه¬های اصلی عربی (Teheran 2013)
- معاصر عربی اہم لہجات کے ساتھ (Islamabad 2014)
- To appear in Indonesia in 2015: Bahasa Arab Modern.
4. What do universities look for in new hires?
Universities hiring new staff mostly look for the best certificates and an outstanding social behavior.
5. What is your top tip for fresh graduates who are about to enter the job market?
My advice for young graduates and students who are about to graduate is to finish their degree as early as possible. From what I’ve seen during my professional life, I can say that the early bird is always the one that catches the worm.
6. What would you say is the biggest challenge for academics in our age and time?
I believe our biggest challenge as academics is to find a good balance between the wishes of the family and the needs of the job and academic research.
7. What would you say is the best way to recruit new hires in the academic field from foreign countries?
Foreign candidates should simply be good scholars and know the basics of the academic system in Germany.
This article originally appeared in bayt.com.
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