U of T’s Graham Library is Hosting a Hungarian Studies Display!

To coincide with our first annual Hungarian Studies Conference which happened on Friday October 16th,  the Graham Library at University of Toronto is hosting a display highlighting Hungarian studies for the entire month of October.

This beautiful display was created by Kristen Csenkey, Dr. Susan Papp and Dr. Eva Tomory with the support from the Graham Library to remember the anniversary of the events of 1956, Hungary’s 2015 Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and promote the Hungarian Studies Program. It features books from the library and private collections, ceramics, traditional motifs, artifacts to showcase Hungarian culture.

Enjoy the beautiful photos of the display below courtesy of the Graham Library and visit in-person to check out the entire collection.

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Announcing the Hungarian Studies Conference Program!

We are pleased to announce the program for our 1st-ever Hungarian Studies Conference!

Please visit our Conference Program page to see the full schedule of the day and learn about our speakers and sessions.

We invite University of Toronto students to attend the conference, filled with engaging sessions which are sure to spark great discussions and inspire new ideas and action. Join us on Friday October 16th, 2015 at Room 108N, Munk School of Global Affairs.

Bookmark our Blog as we will be highlighting our presenters until the day of the conference!

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My Hungarian Experience: A *(not)Travel* Diary – Part III: Budapest

Written by: Laurence Cote-Pitre

The final chapter in the travel blog series – Last but not Least: Budapest

Budapest is such an amazing city! It is definitely one of my favorites in Europe!

My first impression of the Hungarian capital was rather unusual and a little bizarre, but it was representative of the typical, everyday, Hungarian life.

A lot of young people in Hungary, specifically in Budapest, rent flats at cheap rates in old apartments built during the communist period. Immediately after arriving in Budapest, we visited a friend living in one of these buildings. When we went inside, I felt like I was in an old movie! It looked exactly as depicted in the communist films of the 60s and 70s. It had a long and wide hallway with a flashing light at its end, and an old elevator. The elevator stood out to me because at first glance, it didn’t look like an elevator and it made so much mechanical noise ( I must admit, I was scared)!

When we finally got to the apartment itself, I was surprised by the smallness of the rooms. It looked old and not very functional – exactly how I imagined a typical communist apartment!

Thankfully, I didn’t spend too much time in there. The place where I actually stayed during my stay in Budapest was totally different. It was a more modern building that was originally intended to be a hotel. However, this studio-apartment was even smaller than the old ‘communist’ one, but much cozier! And we had the best view of the Buda Castle!

I experienced the city’s nightlife on my first night in Budapest.  With a small group of friends, I walked from Buda to Pest –the Chain Bridge looked gorgeous at night with all the lights! My friends took me to the beautiful Cathedral before going to what is called a “ruin pub”. Ruin pubs are outdoor bars that are located in a few private courtyards downtown. Often, many bars share the same courtyard, which makes the atmosphere even better! We went to different pubs throughout the night, which allowed us to experience the diverse atmospheres.

During the next day, we went up to the Mátyás Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion. The walk there is quite tiring, because it is a steep cobblestoned hill, but it is totally worth it: you get an INCREDIBLY GOOD view of Pest!

In the afternoon, I walked through the city with a friend to do some more sightseeing. We saw: Heroes Square, Andrássy Boulevard, the Parliament building, the monuments to Imre Nagy and Lájos Kossuth, and the city park. It was a very long, but interesting walk. I also got to taste Túró Rudi that day and I have missed it every single day since then!

That evening, we took part in a “quiz night”. Teams play against each other every week throughout the whole year. Over 1700 people take part in these quizzes every week. These “quiz nights” are a truly a European affair. The same sets of questions are asked in 3 countries, 13 cities, and in 27 different locations. I had the chance to join a team earlier in Graz (Austria) and it was really interesting to take part in the Hungarian version this time!

Budapest is such a nice city and I had a really good time there. Since leaving, all I want to do is go back! There are still so many things to do in the city!

I am very lucky to have been able to experience Hungary in this way. I was immersed in Hungarian culture and everyday life in a non-touristy way. During the five days I spent in this beautiful country with people who, no matter what happened in the past, truly love their culture and their country, I felt closer to the people than I ever did before. It was such a great feeling and experience. I learned so much from it!

I want to thank all my Hungarian friends and their families who helped me remember all the details of this trip, but most of all, for taking me into their country and their homes, for allowing me to have such a wonderful experience, and for sharing all these great moments.

Checkout Part I: Nagykanizsa and Cserfő

Checkout Part II: Pilisszentlászló and Szentendre

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The Hungarian Scout Movement (Conference Presenter: Adrienn Goczi)

Written by: Adrienn Goczi (Biochemistry, Victoria College)

The Role of the Hungarian Scout Movement in the Lives of Hungarian Children, and Young Adults Living in the North American Diaspora

Scouting is one of the biggest youth movements in the world. Today, there are about 38 million Scouts from nationalities all over the globe, including the Hungarian Scout Association in Exteris, (locations outside of Hungary) which has about 4,000 Scout members (KMCSSZ, 2007). The main goal for the Scout movement is to aid children and young adults in attaining their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potentials as responsible members of society without any political affluence (Nnt, 2013). What makes scouting so different from other leadership activities lies in its unique teaching methods, like the playful approach to learning, the Patrol System, and the fast-paced work plan. Also, the Hungarian Scouting movement makes it possible for children with a Hungarian background to learn more about their own heritage, language and culture. Both the educational strategies as well as the focus on Hungarian heritage fabricate the ‘Scout Method’, which is unique to the Hungarian Scout Movement.

Bookmark our Conference Information page to learn more about the conference program and see the presenter schedule (to be updated soon).

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Spotlights: Introducing Hungarian Studies Conference Presenters!

We are excited to announce that starting this week we will be shedding a light on our amazing presenters for our Conference! Stay tuned for presenter abstracts which feature a diverse range of topics and dive deep into many complex social, economical, cultural and political Hungarian issues. We are looking forward to sparking discussions and spotlighting our presenters!

In the mean time, visit our blog and browse though our previous blog posts which feature exciting stories and highlight great events, places & people of Hungary!

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My Hungarian Experience: A *(not)Travel* Diary – Part II: Pilisszentlászló and Szentendre

Written by: Laurence Cote-Pitre

Continuing from my last blog post…

I arrived in the village of Pilisszentlászló after a rather long overnight car ride from Nagykanizsa. Since I was too tired when I first arrived, it is only when I woke up in the afternoon that I was able to truly appreciate this place.

This small village –ca. 17 km²– is one of the best places to catch up on some restful sleep and dream! I had never seen such a peaceful and quiet place before. I slept so well!!

Other than being the quietest place in Hungary (not a bad thing!), Pilisszentlászló is full of gorgeous landscapes. I was impressed by the beauty of the Hungarian villages and countryside. Pillisszentlászló – like Cserfő – is half hidden in the woods, but surrounded by a few hills – the view is stunning!

The people of Pilisszentlászló were just as nice to me as those in Nagykanizsa. By that time I already thought that being nice, friendly, and welcoming must be a Hungarian thing in general!

It is also in Pilisszentlászló that I tried traditional Hungarian food for the first time. I unfortunately cannot remember the names of all the dishes we ate at that restaurant – I also don’t recall the name of the restaurant! I can only recommend that you try Hungarian food when you have the opportunity!

Szentendre

Szentendre is a beautiful village near the city of Budapest (20 minute-drive). This off-the-beaten tourist track village is a filled with cool pubs and cafés – making it the perfect non-tourist place to visit in Hungary!

When I went to Szentendre, I particularly enjoyed the late afternoon walk through the village, which allowed me to appreciate all the charms of this small place. Before stopping by a pub for some drinks, my friends made sure to show me the breathtaking sights of Szentendre on the Danube River. I was truly amazed by the grandeur and the beauty of the landscape. So many people pass by Szentendre on their way to Budapest without ever stopping to admire the views on the Danube – they have no idea of what they’re missing!

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My Hungarian Experience: A *(not)Travel* Diary

Written by: Laurence Cote-Pitre

People often say that a year abroad during your undergraduate degree is a wonderful experience, and that it is the best way to learn about yourself, the world, and about life!

In 2013, I chose to immerse myself in the diverse cultures of Europe for a year. When I look back, I can confirm that what we hear about student exchange programs is true. It is truly one of the best experiences.

Among other things, an exchange in Europe means a lot of travelling! At the end of my year of travels, I had the chance to visit to Hungary in an unusual way. Forget about all the mainstream and touristy things you can do there – I haven’t seen nor visited half of them! I had the chance to experience Hungary the local way with a few Hungarian friends who brought me into their homes. This allowed me to experience the culture as a native Hungarian.

From the big city of Budapest to the small village of Cserfő, here are my memories from this amazing trip in July 2014:

First Stop: Nagykanizsa and Cserfő

Nagykanizsa was my first impression of Hungary. This small town is located near the famous Lake Balaton and the border to Croatia. Although is it is a small and simple place, late July is a good time to stay for a day or two.

Nagykanizsa

After a warm welcome from my friend’s family who took me out to see the beautiful landscape, the town’s church, and even to a lake that’s exactly on the Croatian border, we soon left Nagykanizsa for the next village called Cserfő. This small village hidden in the woods hosts a wonderful outdoor jazz festival every year in late July: JazzLand. I had the opportunity to go to JazzLand as a “V.I.P.” because I was travelling with jazz musicians. The event turned out to be a lot of fun!

But JazzLand was not the last surprise in Nagykanizsa! I also experienced Hungarian sports. What is Hungary’s biggest sport? When I saw everyone gathered around a TV, I first thought that European football was the favourite sport, but I was completely wrong! It was actually the Hungarian water polo team playing against Serbia! For those who are familiar with hockey or who are Canadian (or more specifically a Quebecker), it felt like watching Montreal play against Boston in the Stanley Cup Finale! Everyone was so passionate about this game!

Nagykanizsa and Cserfő were full of surprises – I discovered the Hungarian jazz scene, listened to excellent musicians, and learned about water polo! I was completely immersed in the Hungarian culture and everyday life.

Interested in hearing some very good Hungarian jazz? Check out the links below:

Matyas Bartha Trio:

Matyas Gayer Trio:

Jazzland 2013:

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