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Ed McKenna

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1 reviews

Review for CILS Benefactors Inc., Steamboat Springs, CO, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I participated in the Senior Lawyers Program through CILS in the fall of 2008. My assignment was Kazan State University in Kazan, Russia, Republic of Tatarstan. I was fortunate to combine my orientation with my first assignment and this is truly one of the best experiences of the last many years. I had an opportunity to use my experience as a lawyer and share my knowledge with students eager to learn about the law and about America and to prepare themselves for a better future. The orientation program in Salzburg, Austria was well designed with some very engaging professors who conducted their classes in a friendly atmosphere in a most pleasant environment. I can’t say enough about the Schloss Leopoldskron or Salzburg, Austria. Our weather during October was magnificent and not only the experience and the professors of the program but the fellow lawyers we met were a rewarding experience in itself. My wife was able to join me and I feel we made many lasting friends I look forward to seeing again in the future. The orientation program prepared me well for my experience abroad both in a practical sense and in preparing me for the techniques of teaching and the level of substantive matter to cover. After the wonderful stay at the Schloss Leopoldskron, I departed from Salzburg to Frankfurt and then a direct flight to Kazan. Even at my age in the late 50’s I had a certain degree of fear and trepidation of traveling by myself to a foreign country where I did not speak the language. Arriving at 6:00 a.m. I was an hour before my academic liaison was to meet me and my first experience was with the taxi drivers of Kazan, Russia. I survived and was on my way. I had wonderful accommodations at the Shalyapin Hotel. The real experience was the teaching at Kazan State University and engaging the students. They took wonderful care of me and I enjoyed the experiences outside the classroom, particularly the ballet, a college basketball game, a trip to the Volga and several museums. The weather in Kazan also cooperated. I didn’t see snow until the day before I left Russia on November 12th. It was also an interesting time to be there during the Presidential election. Aside from the students, I was able to also have a lecture for practicing attorneys, which I thoroughly enjoyed although there was a bit of a stumble at the start as I began speaking in English which was familiar to all my students but none of the older attorneys spoke any English and my professor did not advise me and was not there at the start of the lecture. Luckily, a translator arrived in 5 minutes and everything went smoothly thereafter. I have many stories, some of which I compiled in a journal, but for the purposes here, teaching abroad was a rewarding experience.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

interacting with the professors

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue the programs in place

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

teaching foreign students

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

well-informed and friendly

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide materials, books and more programs

Ways to make it better...

I had mastered the Russian language

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

coordinating all the programs and providing sufficient funds

One thing I'd also say is that...

I thoroughly enjoyed my teaching experience

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

Role:  Volunteer & Teaching in Kazan, Russia.