While attending a seminar at Georgetown University Law Center where I was an adjunct law professor, I happened to sit next to a Chinese law professor studying at Georgetown Law under his Fulbright Scholarship. He was, to my amazement, already familiar with my publication, INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW, and promptly invited me to speak at his law school in Xiamen, China. However, he said the only caveat was that I needed to obtain a Fulbright grant to fund my trip. I was somewhat surprised, but did receive the Fulbright as a result of this fortuitous meeting.
While I did lecture at his law school, it was too late to use my Fulbright. So, in the end, I was invited to use my grant to teach at the John Paul II School of Law in Lublin, Poland.
For two weeks, I taught about 80 Polish law students (in English) about the dangers of failed and failing states. This could lead to ungoverned and ungovernable territories which may give rise to all manner of criminal activities. I then discussed a complex thicket of laws dealing with transnational organized crimes, Islamic-based terrorism, and corruption. In fact, I divided my law students into groups to negotiate fact patterns and create legal solutions to extremely difficult problems. This was a very different way of teaching law than what they were used to. It was a very demanding course for them!
At the end, each student was give a certificate for completing an English-language law course. Afterwards, all my students stood up at the same time, and started clapping. That’s strange, I thought. It was only until two of my male law students came up to the stage with two bunches of flowers for me that I realized that I was being given a standing ovation! I promptly burst into tears, and could only blurt out, “My mother tells me I cry too much!” I never dreamed that as a law professor, I would one day feel like a prima ballerina!
Rumu Sarkar – Fulbright to Poland 2016