Us Europeans

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Attending school

Theoretical knowledge is important in Hungary and the education system is organised accordingly. Facts are highly valued, history is more popular than in most other European countries and so is literature. What else is there to know about the time Hungarians spend preparing for professional life?

Posted by Bruno

Only 15 years ago, internet was still a new phenomenon. People were not familiar with even the expression `on-line`, let alone the drastic consequences the internet would have on their daily lives only a decade later. Internet was introduced to the big public well after the 1989 revolution in Eastern Europe, which means that it could develop simultaneously all over Europe. Differences in the quality of infrastructure have put Eastern Europe behind on Western Europe, but countries like Estonia show that initial delay can also serve as an advantage. And what about Hungary?

Posted by Bruno

Language cross road

Multilingualism is a major topic on the European agenda. In general, it is an asset that is reserved for smaller countries, with `odd` languages. Large countries like the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and France can afford the arrogance of not caring about foreign languages. Smaller countries cannot. Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Malta, Cyprus and all of Scandinavia depend on their language skills to maintain their positions in the global market. Such need to learn foreign languages could also be expected of Hungary. Located right in the middle of the European Union, bordering all major language groups existent in the EU, it could form an ideal European linguistic cross road. But only the capital Budapest seems to take advantage of that situation.

Posted by Bruno

Lack of inspiration

As I learnt yesterday, enjoying is not something that comes natural to Hungarians. Smiling without an obvious reason risks to be seen as something suspect, while openly displaying happiness is likely to cause confusion. Few events can spark a feeling of community and belonging. Still, I refuse to believe that all Hungarians are depressed all of the time. I am tracing down some English-speaking Hungarians today to ask what they do to cheer themselves up from everyday sorrow.

Posted by Bruno

Red, white and green

I already got to meet some Hungarians in Romania, but since my arrival in Debrecen yesterday ? it`s now Hungary for real. A country of 10 million people that, just like its neighbours, has been overrun by foreign invaders several times during its history. Celts, Romans, Ottomans, Habsburgs, Austrians and most recently, Soviets. Here`s a brief description of current day Hungary, starting off by briefly comparing it to Romania.

Posted by Bruno

Another month gone by! It`s number 8 and there will be four more to go. I think that`s still quite a lot but if I

look at how quickly the previous ones have gone by, it seems like the whole adventure will be over soon. Anyway, many people

have been asking me about what kind of comments I get on my projects. I obviously can`t write down all of them, but I did

manage to compile a good list of e-mail comments that I received during the previous months. Most of them are quite positive,

some are negative or even insulting, another few have nothing to do with the project itself but are still quite amusing.

Posted by Bruno

Role patterns

As I learnt during previous days, Romanian boys and girls are expected to behave in a similar way until they reach the age of 11 or 12, with the exception that the girls have earrings. Gender roles are only starting to sink in during the early teenage years. From then on, boys are raised to be men, and girls are raised to be women: two distinctly different paths.

Posted by Bruno

Most reactions to the Us European project are quite positive. Some are not. As it has been made clear to me, the tone I have so far used in describing Romania is degrading, too harsh and too Western. Since today is my last day in Romania, I will try to make up for any emotional damage that my writings may have caused to sensitive souls. I am asking people only to tell me positive things about Romania. Here`s the result:

Posted by Bruno