MOTIVATED BY CURIOSITY: Eva Rhode, Journalistic Lecturer
By Keo Kounila
While the wind is blowing a cool and comfortable touch into Room 219, a very energetic voice floats along from a 47-year-old slender German lecturer standing in front of a big whiteboard among other 26 seated sophomores at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC). With a funny-looking grin and a warm friendly smile, Ms. Eva Rhode, a lecturer of News Writing and Copy Editing at DMC, gives brief and vivid explanations of what her course will cover to those students on their very first meeting.
Back inGermany, she received a Master’s Degree of Sociology which she said is a study of how people’s mind and society work. Also, she successfully completed a two-year study in journalism. She had worked as a journalist and editor in her country for some 15 years for the National German Newspaper and had taught journalism to adults for five years there.
Motivated by her curiosity, of course, of trying something new, after she read a job description in Germany 20 months ago, she was intrigued in it and came to work here. Till now she has been teaching here for one year and a half. Eva said, “What encourages me to work here is a new way of life, a different culture, language and interaction.” She is working inCambodiaas she has been employed by a German organization called D.E.D., which has been operating inCambodiafor the purpose of enriching a post-war country likeCambodiato move forward along with journalism. Not only does she teach a few classes, but she also assists in designing the academic curriculum of DMC. She has cooperated actively with her colleagues to think of new possible ways to improve the students’ learning at DMC.
Asked about her everyday activities inCambodia, Eva said that she works during the weekdays for 8 hours and at the weekends she cannot do much due to the hot and wet weather. The Cambodian weather has been a little challenge for her because she is used to a cold weather, getting up cool. Compared to her life inGermany, it would be a different thing. She used to bicycle, walk, swim in her paste time and especially go to museums. “I had to work 6 to 7 hours a week. It was a tough life with so much work inGermany, but I’m ready for a change. The change is I will work less.” Eva said, “The reason I want to be a teacher is I love teaching. I want to be a good one, and I am willing to be one.”
Eva is a very competent teacher because of her long-time in journalism areas. She earns a reputation of a strict but good teacher. A third-year student, Sothea, who took her writing course last year said, “She is a good teacher for me because she makes the students work hard and gives a lot of homework. She can be strict when the deadlines of the homework or assignments arrive late. What is more, she is a friendly lecturer with a smiley face and an energetic character. There is, of course, some complaint of the work load but personally it’s good to learn a lot from her.” Eva finds it interesting teaching news writing inCambodiasince she meets different students from different backgrounds. “I do not like it when students come late. They can disturb someone’s concentration when they enter the class late,” she said.
“Now, I see a lot of challenges for young Cambodians to face. Hence, it matters most when they endeavor to learn a lot and take a good direction. A journalist learns something new every day so it is a very interesting job,” Eva said.
“Although Germany has a lot of press freedom, there are also some difficulties that Cambodia is also facing is people can bribe you, invite you to dinner or buy you a present when they want you to write something nice about them, “she said. For example, a mobile phone company has a very special 50% discount so that it often has a good press. It’s bribery.”
This summer she traveled toIndiaand noticed the newspaper was really interesting with a good adopted international writing standard. To her, some newspapers inCambodiahave not met the international standard yet because the layout is not quite advanced; some journalists do not report the truth or even invent stories themselves. Thus, this causes the public such confusion that they can’t decide for themselves.
“Every where there are challenges for journalists, even inGermany, yet it is important to be ready to make change,” she said. She has not decided what to do after teaching, but she hopes to make change to her life by doing something more important one day. “She has tried hard to teach us and so I love learning with her,” Sothea said. She has overcome her difficulties of being a journalist and teacher up to now. She is now living in a new environment, quite a challenge for her. However, she said she would strive to teach Cambodian journalist students for the improvement of the society.