In conversation with Sabine Pendl

In conversation with Sabine Pendl

They say that good things come in small packages and new EAIE Vice-President, Sabine Pendl, Director of the Office of International Relations at the University of Graz in Austria, is no exception. Following her official induction at the Liverpool 2016 Closing Plenary, we sat down with Sabine to learn more about her. What’s she anticipating most about her new role within the EAIE? If she had one superpower, what would it be? Read more to find out.

The EAIE and internationalisation

Sabine first became involved in the EAIE in 1994 and attended her first EAIE Conference in London. Since then she has been active in the Association’s various activities and served in many positions on the Leadership. Sabine joined the Steering group of the Expert Community Language and Culture (formerly LICOM) in 2008. She became the Chair in 2010, served as a representative of the group on the EAIE’s General Council for a number of years and was member of the Task Force working on structural changes within the EAIE. She has also been a trainer for the EAIE Academy, a conference speaker, and written extensively on international topics such as teaching in English, benchmarking internationalisation, and managing an international office.
You are a long-time advocate of promoting international cooperation through better understanding of language and culture. Can you explain a bit about why this is so important?
SP: The majority of problems in our world occur due to failures in communication. As I see it, this makes (foreign) language one of the most important tools we can use to successfully convey messages.
You have been working in internationalisation for nearly 25 years. Did you have an international experience that inspired you to dedicate yourself to this particular field?
SP: My mum (who is 91) was raised bilingual in Romania. This meant that at family meetings I always loved the fantastic mix of different languages and cultures. The other important time in my life was when I spent a year as an exchange student in the United States.
What’s your favourite memory at an EAIE Conference?
SP: Hands down, the EAIE dance at the conference in Vienna in 2003. It was held in the famous Hofburg Palace in the centre of the city!
What are you anticipating most about your new role as Vice-President of the EAIE?
SP: I hope to gain an even better understanding of the EAIE and to work as a translator between the different sides of the EAIE-coin.

The fun stuff

Although we’ve seen Sabine participating in the EAIE Morning Run more than once, we had no idea just how active she is. In addition to a love for skiing and windsurfing, Sabine revealed that she has a black belt in Judo, ran a marathon, and sometimes gets up at 4:30 in the morning to make sure she gets her time in the gym!
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
SP: Crete.
What’s your favourite TV show or movie of all time?
SP: (Laughing) An old movie, of course…Point Break.
What’s a place you still want to visit?
SP: Definitely, the Maldives.
What’s your go-to source for news?
SP: Austrian daily papers in the morning and articles on University World News online once a week.
EAIE: How would you describe yourself in three words?
SP: Funny, energetic and motivating.
EAIE: If you had one superpower, what would it be?
SP: I’d love to be able to race up and around like the Flash – with this super-speed I could get even more out of each day.
EAIE: What’s something you’re passionate about (besides international education, of course…)?
SP: The alternative rock band, Muse.

Poised for Presidency

In addition to her involvement as an EAIE volunteer, Sabine has been a member of a working committee for equal opportunities at the University of Graz for the last 12 years as well as an auditor for the German Rectors’ Conference. She has also served in various positions within the Utrecht Network, including two times as the President. All of these experiences have shaped her as a professional and prepared her for this next adventure with the EAIE.
Following these next two years as the Vice-President, Sabine will automatically become the EAIE President for the subsequent two years. We’re excited to have Sabine on board and look forward to working with her more closely over the next several years.