Thursday, January 06, 2011

Much Better, But Much Longer Too

So today was our first day of area studies with our new instructor. Our previous instructor retired at the end of the year.

I had mixed feelings about our new instructor. On the one hand, he knows MUCH more about the Balts, which made me hopeful that we'd get more useful information. Our previous instructor seemed to know LOTS about one of the other countries lumped in with us, but not so much about the Balts. And with few exceptions, his speakers didn't seem to know much more. I am not the only one who felt that we were not getting out of area studies what we needed, and we really really need to have good area studies before going to post.

So like I said, I was happy the new guy had potential to give us great info on our countries. In fact, I took a one-week course from him before, though not at FSI, so I knew he was really knowledgeable.

He is also a little full of himself. When he spoke to our area studies a few weeks back, he still seemed really dismissive of the government and those of us working for it. Plus, he told all the same jokes.

Today I was pleasantly surprised.

He brought in a speaker today who seemed knowledgeable about all five countries we cover. And he seemed a little more circumspect. This gives me great hope for the remainder of our area studies.

The class was also our first to go the full three hours, so my backside was a little tired when we were done. Even so, I am optimistic.

Also, he had GREAT things to say about the local staff I will be working with in Tallinn. This is not the first time I have heard fact, every single thing I have heard about the folks I will be working with has been positive. I am unbelievably excited about getting to post! I am certain this is going to be an awesome tour!

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