Monday, 16 June 2008

ASIST in Hungary

This past week saw the introduction of ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) to Hungary. After completing the course last weekend I was very happy to act as interpreter for Joyce Borgs and Alan Briscoe from Mind Wales, in the first ever Hungarian language ASIST workshop. The workshop was organised by the Élet Mentálhigiénés Egyesület (Life Mental Health Society) in Budapest. The Society operates one of the 24 hour crisis lines in Hungary. Thanks again to Joyce and Alan for their hard work and to the organisers, Domonkos Buza and Mihály Kucsera.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Language Conference coming up

I will be giving my workshop, The Canadian Experience at MM Publications fourth annual National Language Teachers Conference August 21st and 22nd 2008. I've been to every one of their conferences and they have been a delight. Now it's great to have an opportunity to share some of my expertise. Please check out the program at

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 9 June 2008


I took one of my grade nine English groups to the Bodies exhibit on display now in Budapest. We have just finished learning about the human body and being the last week of the school year it was a nice way to reward ourselves. If you don't know what the exhibit is, please have a look on the web for information. I also took my two oldest daughters. We found the exhibit fascinating! And I feel the bodies were treated and displayed in a respectful and dignified way. The human body is a miracle.

A serious matter.

Many of us know basic life saving skills that can help us in a crisis situation, such as if someones heart stops. But what if someones will to live stops? ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) provides practical training in what to do in a situation where the threat to life is the person themself. An ASIST workshop was held, for the very first time, in Hungary this weekend past by Joyce Borgs and Alan Briscoe from Wales and was a great success. I now feel I could act with greater effectiveness if I met a suicidal person. Thank you. This Thursday and Friday will be another workshop in the Hungarian language.

Friday, 6 June 2008

The Bunker Hospital

Today was the last day in Budapest for the exchange students from Augsburg. They began their day with my presentation on the United States of America, afterwhich I accompanied them to the recently opened Bunker Hospital. The castle hill in Budapest is criss-crossed with several kilometres of tunnels that have served different purposes over one thousand years. In the war torn twentieth century, one section of the tunnels was turned into a bunker and shelter, part of which served as a hospital. During the Cold War it was also prepared for the possibility of atomic attack. Part of these facilities have been opened to visitors this year. I also visited for the first time and I can decidedly say its well worth the visit. The students found it fascinating. Afterwards we bid goodbye to each other and they left by train to Munich.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Terror House Museum tour

I accompanied and gave a tour of the Terror House Museum in Budapest to the exchange students from Augsburg, Bavaria. I have given many talks and tours, but the place and its message never cease to have a strong impact on me. I believe that the students too were given an impression and possibly understood a little bit more of what a brutal totalitarian regime did to this country.

Sunday, 1 June 2008


We honoured Mrs. Károly Ábrahám yesterday through words, film, song, and scripture. She has had a great and beautiful impact on EFL teaching in Hungary and in neighbouring areas. It became evident to me that the magic she worked has not disappeared with her passing, but remains among us and will continue to inspire, and compel us as educators. Many thanks to Mark Andrews and Csilla Hős for organising the day.