Natasha Sardzoska: “Schiller for me is a playground where we can grow, learn, exchange knowledge, and foster our personal experiences of the world”
April 10, 2023
All Knowledge Areas
Today we bring to the forefront a writer, poet, dreamer and ballet dancer in the making. Macedonian-born Natasha Sardzoska’s long list of subjects includes Media Communication Strategies, Public Speaking, Media Literacy, Intercultural Communication, Business Communication, Management Communication, Research Methods and Analysis, Science and Society, and Writing for Foreign Affairs. She was recently teaching in Madrid, where we caught up with her while enjoying some delicious tapas at the Mercado de San Antón, just a few minutes' walk from our Madrid campus.
She started teaching at Schiller in the Heidelberg campus in October 2015, after earning her PhD in the same region of Baden-Wurtenberg two years earlier. She has always had a Schiller mentality: “I am grateful to my life for the opportunity to work in a place where I get to meet people from all over the world and to be part of a strong cultural community”.
Natasha is passionate about her work: “I love the interaction, the freshness, the challenge to learn and to teach new things each and every time, the endless discussions with my students, their feedbacks, the inductive methods, the personal enriching experience, the connection to my field of expertise, the possibility to grow academically, the responsibility to describe, interpret and deconstruct the contemporary societies we inhabit”.
What do you like most about teaching at Schiller?
When I started teaching at Schiller, I was impressed and attracted by the respect and the appreciation I received from the supervisors. Schiller for me is a playground where we can grow, learn, exchange knowledge, and foster our personal experiences of the world. After more than 8 years now teaching at Schiller, I still enjoy the academic freedom to teach and to do research, the dynamic and energetic energy of the workplace, the international and interdisciplinary environment, the culturally diverse students from all over the world, the possibility to travel in between campuses, the support from the colleagues, and the stimulating venues and facilities that our university offers to its faculty. Schiller is part of my personal and status identity!
When you are not teaching, what do you like to do most?
Reading, daydreaming, workouts and sports, swimming and SPA, trekking in mountains, walking by lakes and seashores, music, poetry, writing books and writing books by the lake and the sea. I pretty much agree with Marguerite Duras when she says if there was not love and sea, we would not write books.
Tell us some anecdotes about your teaching experience
Well, once I asked a student what he is planning to work after his graduation, and he told me a club-owner in Dubai. Another student brought Dunkin donuts for everybody during an exam. I usually ask my students to write public speeches in a fictional position as a President of a specific country and the outcome is fun. The world is liminal and liquid, and so we are too! ?
If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?
A ballet dancer.
Do you think students nowadays are different from those 10 years ago?
Yes, very different. But we are also different, everything changes. If 10 years ago I taught mainly theory, now the new generations are so much into the digital side of humanity, and they follow in-depth the emerging communication technological tools. Therefore, I adjust my methods of teaching and I embrace the challenges of the contemporary societies. Students nowadays are much more outspoken. They utilize the power of technology, and they build fast knowledge, thanks to Chat GPT too. They have access to everything. However, I am a very old-school teacher and I do believe, as Jean Baudrillard said: “Too much information is no information”. So, I wish to spread authentic knowledge and I encourage my students to read more books, reviews, chapters but to check and verify the sources, always. This is why we, as University, offer writing trainings thanks to our Global Librarian and we teach them to write following academic patterns, e.g., APA format. Most of them are eager to build knowledge through books and I am happy about that. Books are the real weapon to knowledge and hard work is the paved pathway to success.
What advice would you give to students?
Never forget to be faithful to your dreams! Never stop dreaming!
What is your favorite place to relax?
Paris with its St. Germain des Pres, Lake Ohrid in Macedonia and fishermen villages at the Aegean Sea in Greece.
Tell us your favorite hangout place at campus.
In Heidelberg, it is the Hemingway’s bar by the Neckar river and in Madrid, it is Raimunda Latin fusion restaurant in Casa de America where I often go after work. I love Malasaña neighborhood and Chamberi/Moncloa ,where I live.
You have been recently teaching in Madrid. What do you think about the city and the atmosphere at Schiller there and how different is it at other campuses?
Madrid changed my personal identification and definition to what I do. Teaching in Madrid at Schiller gives me so much motivation and strength, I love it. First of all, to work in Paseo de Recoletos is such a bliss: so much light, so much beauty, so much inspiration, so much regeneration. Teaching here gives me a sense of authenticity, a sensation of meaning, of importance, of elegance, of strength. The classrooms are wonderful, fully High-tech equipped, which is a dream of every teacher, and especially if you come from social science field, like I do, this is a super-dream (even an SF dream ?), there are so many facilities, opportunities, comfort and great guest lectures, nice, warm, supportive colleagues, curious and grateful students. The student lounge is so nice and cozy, and students are loving it.
The differences between the campuses are mainly related to the cultural emblems: it is different to study in Germany and different to study in Spain. But both locations are central and connected to main happenings in the cities and this is one of the main advantages at Schiller. What I find peculiar is that in both campuses when you go out of the buildings, you see green, you see light, you see sky, crowded bars and energized people. But in Madrid you also see the National Library of Spain right in front of the campus!
Madrid is a city of endless space, memory and freedom, a never-ending place of vertiginous richness and deepness, delicious food, fine cuisine and wine, art, theaters, museums, beauty, a web of opportunities, history and cultures, the second largest city in the European Union, after Berlin. I think this explains it all! Students love studying in big intercultural cities.
Anything else you want to add?
I would be happy to come back and share my new competences with my students. I miss my students each time my course ends. But I am looking forward to seeing how their careers grow and develop. Our Alumni are our best spokespersons!