Among Roadrunners: Teacher mobility exchange at UTSA, Texas (February 26 – March 5, 2018)

Published: 18.04.2018 | Text: Judit Hahn, Photos: Judit Hahn and Janos Nacsa

I like exploring new places, especially foreign universities. I enjoy walking around in the campus, meeting colleagues, teaching students... There is a lot you can learn this way. Returning home, I always feel inspired and want to try out new ideas both in teaching and in research. My visit to the University of Texas at San Antonio was such an inspiring visit in the spring of 2018.

San Antonio, the seat of Bexar County, is the seventh most populous city in the United States. It is located at the head of the San Antonio River, which is a major waterway originating in Central Texas. The famous River Walk is probably one of the most attractive sights with its palm trees, colorful flowers and tiny bridges. This is a must-see place even if you are travelling there on business!

River Walk at the end of February.jpg

River Walk at the end of February

River Boat Cruise.jpg

River Boat Cruise

With nearly 31,000 enrolled students, UTSA is about twice as big as the University of Jyväskylä. The roadrunner bird is the mascot of the university’s collegiate athletic program and also functions as a kind of symbol that represents the university. You can find its statute in the Main Campus. According to a campus legend, if you touch its legs, you will return to the university one day (or, in any case, it will bring you luck).

The Roadrunner statue in the Main Campus.jpg

The Roadrunner statue in the Main Campus

A beautiful place to have lunch and meet friends.jpg

A beautiful place to have lunch and meet friends

The university has two campuses: the Main Campus, located a bit further away from the center, and the Downtown Campus. My host department, the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies (BBL) at the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD), is situated in the Main Campus. BBL specializes in bilingual teacher education, in Mexican-American studies, and in the training of ESL (English as a second language) and EFL (English as a foreign language) teachers.

Professor Juliet Langman, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at COEHD and Professor of Applied Linguistics at BBL, was a wonderful host during my visit. She arranged not only my teaching there, but also gave a guided tour in the campus and provided me with an office. I had the opportunity to participate in a Working Lunch, to meet highly professional and enthusiastic American colleagues and to hold lectures on my topic. I gave talks about the use of group-to-group videoconferencing in teaching, which is a form of online intercultural exchange that can enhance the students’ communication and collaboration skills. Assistant Professor Dr. Sidury Christiansen helped me a lot by advertising and streaming my lectures online. Thanks so much to Juliet and Sidury for the great hospitality!

Like March.jpg

Like March

BBL is open to further cooperation with our Language Campus, which is excellent news since our teachers and students could definitely benefit from joint projects, especially in the field of language teacher training.

The trip was funded by the University of Jyväskylä, within the framework of international staff mobility. I am grateful to Tuija Koponen from the International Office and to Dr. Petteri Laihonen from the Centre of Applied Language Studies for helping me arrange this trip. I hope I can return to UTSA one day! In case you are curious, yes, I touched the Roadrunner’s leg…


Judit Hahn

Senior Lecturer

Department of Language and Communication Studies