Wednesday, September 22, 2010


One year later …

When I embarked upon studying law in September last year, little did I know what to expect. How easily would I get back into learning? Which subjects would I find interesting? How much time would I be able to devote to studying besides job, family and teaching?

One year later I have answers to most of my questions. Getting back into the learning routine wasn’t too hard. The work commute has provided an excellent opportunity for reading text books (although they look somewhat shabby after a few round trips in the backpack). Watching the video streams in the narrow period during which they are made available turned out to be the biggest challenge, with soon-to-expire lectures piling up towards weekends and more than once requiring the family’s understanding and support.

One year later I am happy to report that things have been going well. I took most of the exams offered and passed with reasonable grades, and will soon have completed the first section of the program.

This week I attend the second lecture block at the Institut für Multimediale Linzer Rechtsstudien in Linz to learn about the courses offered in the upcoming years, to pick up more books and DVDs with recorded lectures, and to meet with other students.

Will this change what I do professionally? That question I haven’t answered yet, but it’s quite possible that one day it will. After I finish my courses, that is.

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Friday, September 25, 2009


Brain food

Over twenty years after coming to Vienna to study computer science, I felt like going back to university and enrolled in a master's degree program in legal studies offered by the Institut für Multimediale Linzer Rechtsstudien at the Johannes Kepler Universität Linz.

The program started in early September with one week of lectures at the Burg Schlaining conference center. Besides getting an introduction into the concepts of law, registering and picking up the text books and DVDs, we had sufficient time for socializing and getting to know fellow students. On the first evening, the major invited to a reception at the town hall. I appreciated the warm welcome and thoroughly enjoyed the week, learning something new in the relaxed atmosphere of scenic Stadtschlaining and meeting nice people.

Having spent a good portion of my study period with checking bulletin boards distributed throughout the campus for announcements and organizing the study—the Web had not been invented—I was positively impressed how well things were organized here. The lectures and practice sessions are available on DVDs or as video streams, and textbooks are available for all courses, eliminating the need to take illegible notes.

What's nice about the program is the flexibility where and when you study. Of course that flexibility comes with the risk of procrastination, so feel free to ask me about my progress from time to time (read: no more than once a quarter!) as a gentle reminder.

Will I become a lawyer some day? Probably not. I haven't given much thought to how a law degree might change my career plans. Either way, it will be worth it to me.

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