There is no university student who never worries about what is next, what is going to happen if the exam period does not turn out good, if he does not have enough credits, if he does not get on well with one of his lecturers or just does not find his place in the world. There are students who do not need help in these situations, but there are others who do. There are students who would really need some help but do not know where to go, who to call. Or maybe, they just do not want to call anyone because they think they are able to deal with it. I was in that kind of situation, too. I was not sure whether I was at the right place, but fortunately I found my way out. However, it could be easier with a little help. I had a conversation with Dr Amaryl Árkovits, chief medical officer of the PTE KK Psychiatric Center and chairman of the S.O.S. Phone Service Against Suicide.
Dear Amaryl, is it typical that students visit a professional when they need help?
In my opinion for a student it is not easier to ask for help than it is for anybody else. It only depends on that particular person. There are times when more people look for that type of help and there are also periods when less people need professional help. There were times when going to a psychiatrist was not something you would tell anybody but nowadays it is not a taboo anymore. There are plenty of articles about this issue. Besides, there are other difficulties because many students do not have constant address at Pécs so they are unable to visit someone for free. Of course if the doctors have spare time they see those who do not have a stationary address in the city. At PTE there is a program called Khairosz in the framework of which students can go to a free guidance. To make it more comfortable, every single faculty has its own psychologist. Therapy is not an easy thing, this process can last for weeks, months or years. We often see students who chose to see a private practice, fortunately Pécs has several places to go if you think it necessary.
Which terms are the most hectic?
The exam period, for sure! During this time young adults are the most likely to struggle with stress, to feel fluttered because they want to meet the expectations. The other quite busy period is the beginning of the semester.
Is there a faculty from where a bigger amount of people ask for help or it depends only on the individual?
To be honest, it is only up to the person. In our experiences it is not typical that a greater number of people come from a certain faculty, It may happen only if people share the information with each other within a faculty. Although, there are some majors which requires a stronger personality to be able to graduate in time because of the pressure, the stress and the expectations but as I already said it mostly depends on the individual.
What kind of problems can the beginning of a semester or an exam period cause?
The most common problem is moving away from the family at the beginning of the first semester, when freshmen start their university studies. During the first weeks young adults realize that it is their job now to keep their flat or dorm room nice and tidy, to buy household supplies that they took for granted at home, because their parents took care of it. Their mom will not ask them what they want to have for dinner, they have to take care of themselves and start an independent, adult life. There are a lot more challenges, of course. A lot of students move to a completely different city, where they know no one. In this situation they have to build new relationships, they have to establish a new group of friends. Freshmen camp is a great opportunity to start, but not everyone is able to go there.
As I have mentioned, the exam period is stressful for everyone. Probably it would be easier if students prepared from lecture to lecture, but even if they do so, they cannot avoid all the stress and tiredness, and of course most of them do not prepare from lecture to lecture. At the university there are a lot of changes in people’s life, they have to study differently than they did in high school, they have to read a lot more, and they have to schedule everything for themselves. It is important to know their own limits, but this is the first time they face these limits and that is why the first couple of weeks are really difficult to get through.
Is there something that they can do to avoid problems?
There will always be problems! We should not avoid problems, but face them and overcome them. The ability of handling difficult situations is different for everybody, but you can improve these skills. Not necessarily with therapy, because the relationships we develop, our friends and partners can all help, or cause problems, too. Young adulthood is the time when we start a life independent from the family, and develop our autonomy. This process is called developmental crisis and it can last for years, but we all have to overcome it to find our place in the world, to develop our own identity and to get answers for questions like “Who I am?”. During this period, as well as in the case of any other developmental crises, we are emotionally more vulnerable. We might experience crisis, or get into such a psychological state when our emotional balance is so overwhelmed, that we might ask for external help. The situations that might cause crisis depends on the person himself. It can be a failed relationship, a breakup, or even an unsuccessful exam. It is universal, though, that these crises are the price we pay for our personal development, and if we use all the possibilities to improve and change during a crisis, we will become psychologically stronger and more mature after the crisis. During a crisis you do not have to seek professional help immediately. This is what friends and family are for: to talk about problems, give advice and support. Although, if someone does not have such intimate relationships and cannot overcome the crisis alone, or has suicidal thoughts, it would be a good idea to ask for help. The S.O.S. ÉLET Phone Service is a psychological aid service in Pécs which has been working since 1975, where professionally trained volunteers answer the calls from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. It is a toll free number (80-505-390), callers can keep their anonymity, and secrecy is provided as well.
S.O.S Phone Service
The 40 years old Phone service has been giving psychological first aid since 1975. According to statistics, in 2014 we received 1436 calls, and a quarter of these calls were “crisis calls”, in which the features of cry for help communication were obvious. The statistics of the Service shows that the number of callers under the age of 25 has significantly increased therefore we pay more attention to emphasize the importance of the youth’s mental hygiene.
It is often the first place where callers talk about their new problems, for which at the time there may not be any solutions. By solving the crisis in a creative way not only eliminates the dangers of inadequate solutions (suicide, alcohol, drugs, other psychiatric problems), but the person also becomes richer with new problem-solving skills and becomes more mature, more complete.
The Service can be called every day from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., toll free in all of Hungary and Europe. The Service provides aid to callers, regardless sex, age, and nationality.
S.O.S. ÉLET PHONE SERVICE IS AVAILABLE EVERYDAY FROM 7 P.M. TO 7 A.M. AT THE FOLLOWING NUMBERS: 06-80-505-390, 116-123
Most people study English and German because these languages are the most well-known all over the world. These are useful languages for work and also for everyday life because if you speak English the world expands. Recently I met several people who do not speak either English or German and their opportunities are limited in so many ways. Imagine the situation when you are really into a certain song but you have no idea what it is about because you do not speak English. So this leads us to the fact that knowing foreign languages is important and English is a must, in my opinion. But what is the case with other languages, like Hungarian? To pick up a new language, that you do not need, you usually need personal reason, a unique experience. Maybe you have met someone from that nation or something happened that made you become interested in that language. Let’s see why a man from Switzerland wants to speak Hungarian!
I began to learn almost 3 years ago. Sometimes I had more time for it and sometimes I had to give it a break. I have 3 sons so it is not easy to keep up with the studying but I am a very ambitious person so I never gave up.
How many languages do you speak?
When I was young, my first foreign language that I picked up was French and then I acquired English, Italian, Spanish, German and now Hungarian is in progress. It is hard I have to say. My dad was also pretty good with languages, he studied Italian, German, its Swiss version, and he also speaks Hungarian but unfortunately he never taught me any Hungarian words.
WOW! Why did your father study Hungarian and why did not he teach you?
Actually he is Hungarian. He moved to Switzerland after the events of 1956. This is the reason why he knows these two languages. I never knew why he had not want to teach me, but as I grew up and learned about what had happened back then I realized that he just wanted to forget about it. I always thought that I had original Swiss parents because my dad spoke so perfectly and acted like a true Swiss man, but once one of my girlfriend asked me what kind of an accent we spoke. I was shocked and told her that it was just Swiss German. So this is the reason why I wanted to speak Hungarian, why I am interested in the culture and the language, because it is a part of me.
Do you want your sons to study Hungarian too? Do you recommend them this opportunity at our university?
I do not expect anything. They do not have to study this language because of their grandpa or because of me. It is totally up to them. If they want I will be happy. This program is really good, interactive, we talk a lot, there are cultural programs too, so overall, it is a great program for somebody who is interested in the Hungarian feeling.
How do you like Hungary?
I like it a lot! It is a wonderful place, I am always happy to come here and I think we come here quite often, 4 or 5 times a year. I have a cousin living in the capital and I have another cousin, too but I do not know her. I tried to find them on facebook because they do not have a typical Hungarian name but it did not turn out as a success. My dad’s brother died and I do not exactly know where they lived, where our family comes from.
I hope once you will meet her.
Thank you very much. Maybe by the time it happens I will speak perfect Hungarian.
I am sure, you already speak nearly better than me! Is this your first time in this summer school?
No, this is my second time here. I really enjoyed it last year and I also made some great friends too. Actually after the previous Summer School I was so inspired that I wrote the anthem of this Hungarian summer school and I hope that this summer we can make a music video for it.
What is the song about?
It has a very simple lyric because I wanted to make it understandable for everyone at the program. It is especially made for this event. It talks about our experiences that summer comes and we come here to Pécs to study this amazing but difficult language and it is not easy but we are having a great time together. It has several different parts, there is a part which is modern, there is one which has the flavour of Hungarian folk music and there is also part which includes rap.
Sounds great! Can’t wait to hear it. What do you think, will you come back next summer?
Thank you! I do not know, anything can happen, but I hope so. I really like it, I love the city, it is so beautiful and of course there is always something new to study. I already learned a lot, this program is organised at a very professional level, if anybody wants to learn how to speak Hungarian, just come here!
A good indicator of progress is the fact that in 2010 the number of incoming students barely number exceeded 1500. The 4000th international student, Ide Kanako, a first year student of the Medical School from Japan was greeted by József Bódis, rector of the University of Pécs with a diploma at the Stipendium Hungaricum Gala.
The growth of the number of the international students was a strategic goal of the university management since 2010, naturally in line with the development of the infrastructure and the professors’ team. As far as the former condition is concerned, the Modern Cities Programme is a great benefit for the university as it provides financial resources for the development and modernization.
One of the performing artists of the Stipendium Hungaricum Gala was Mino Rabenjafimanantsoa from Madagascar and her band, who was the Voice of the UP in spring. The international students had the opportunity to learn a Hungarian folk song with the help of the Eszterlánc Band and with an outstanding talent, Noémi Sturz, student of folk singing at the Academy of Music.
Photos: Szabolcs Csortos /UnivPécs and József Hubay /NNFoto
Our main focus is on integrating newcomers, helping them make a smooth transition and providing a sense of belonging through our peer-mentor programme. The main role of the HUB is to advise and support the faculty’s international community in order to enrich their academic and cultural experience.
At the beginning of the term the traffic is coloured by cyclists. It is important to pay attention to them, at the same time the cyclists should be aware of traffic rules. Therefore the goal of the Bikers’ breakfast was to draw the attention of students on bicycles.
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Anyone arriving to the Medical School by bicycle could participate in the Bikers’ breakfast, moreover, the first two hundred cyclists were even given gifts like bells, prisms and other accessories, as well as awareness leaflets. At the Bikers’ breakfast every fiftieth guest won a new helmet. Moreover new bike sheds were established at the university and at the Clinical Centre.
There are many developments in the city to incite bicycle traffic, but Pécs is still not particularly bicycle friendly. However, it can be said, that the drivers pay more and more attention to the cyclists. And there are more and more forums to draw the cyclist attention to observing traffic rules.
First of all what were the biggest milestones in your life?
I was born and raised in Pécs and while I was always into theater and film I barely thought I should seriously pursue it professionally. Then - while attending the University of Law in Pécs - I got involved with the university theater group, JESZ and my love for performing emerged again, so much so that I applied to the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest. I didn’t get in but I got the „acting bug” so I applied to take a year off and go to the US on a scholarship. Well, that year got extended and I ended up earning a BA in Acting from Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA. Then I worked in the Florida, Georgia, South-Carolina area in various films, short films, commercials and started working on my demo reel – which is kind of like a business card for an actor in the States - but I felt I didn’t know enough so I applied to the prestigious The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and – to my great surprise – I got accepted so I pursued my MA in Acting for Screen there. Then after 2 years in London I thought I should move to Los Angeles, since I just studied acting for film techniques. There I appeared in various commercials, short and feature films but the vibe of the city didn’t suit me in the long run so in 2011, I returned to Hungary where I appeared in Hungarian and international television series and feature films and I also got involved in improvisational theater and started working as a co-trainer at a communication company. This is where I realized how interested I am in training and using theater techniques to improve communication skills. The next step was applying to the Doctorate Program to pursue and study social skills techniques for mentally disabled patients. So I moved back to Pécs in 2016 to study that and – with close cooperation with the University Theater of Pécs, JESZ - I started an English-speaking acting „department” of JESZ specifically for non-Hungarian students in Pécs. This is where I am now. I diverted a bit from the original acting track, but now I feel I get to combine and pursue all my interests simultaneously.
How does one have to imagine your work at JESZ?
I don't actually work for JESZ. I am a full-time PhD student working on my research and in my extra time I work with my English-speaking team. The casting process ended in April so we spent most of May training, doing acting exercises, learning techniques, getting to know each other and so on. JESZ has been kind enough to provide us with rehearsal space and admin support and I am hoping to be able to put up a new show with the team in the fall semester, a play I will be directing. It is still a small group, but I am planning on expanding it so I will probably hold auditions yearly in order for us to grow slowly but surely.
What exactly do you study now? What are the main differences between studying in Hungary and abroad (in the US for example)?
My research topic contains social communication, social skills trainings, the idea of theory of mind and mentalization which has incredibly rich and fascinating research literature. I would say overall where these mental illness trainings link and overlap with communication trainings using theatrical tools.
To be honest I can only compare my two-year law school years and another one-year psychology studies in Hungary with the four-year BA program in the US where I majored in theater - so it’s a very subjective and narrow scope. Overall I could say that the biggest difference is in the size of the classes: in the States we had small seminars where everyone had a face and a name whereas in my Hungarian university experiences I was just another headcount sitting in a huge auditorium. Also because I studied performing arts, I had more practical classes where we actually had to get up and try things out, voice our opinions, and express in some sort of way with a two-way interaction between us and our teachers. But we have to keep in mind that different fields require different teaching approaches so what works for acting students isn’t necessarily appropriate for law or psychology students. When I studied in London, interestingly their approach was a mix of both: practical classes intertwined with some straight, one-way methods. Coming from Europe, the American style was always a bit too liberal for me, so I flourished in the British teaching system. I also got very lucky studying at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama so I cherished every minute of it. Attending the same school as Dame Judi Dench, Sir Lawrence Olivier, and Carrie Fisher gave me the feeling of pride and a sense of belonging, not to mention, that when I was an MA student, Kit Harington from Game of Thrones was finishing his BA there.
That sounds really uplifting. If you had to highlight one or two achievements in your life, that you are the proudest of, what would they be? You had a role in the widely-known Hungarian soap opera "Barátok Közt", maybe that?
I can only think in terms of things I am proud of: I am proud of getting accepted to the MA program in London as 12 people were picked from applicants from all over the world. That I am proud of. I am proud of getting into this doctorate program and I also consider myself lucky for getting the chance to work in various international series and films in the past 5 years. Though they were smaller parts but some of them were quite challenging. “Barátok közt” was fun and I was grateful to get screen time after having just moved back to Hungary and nobody knew me, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a highlight of my career.
What are your plans now?Do you have any big dreams you'd like to come true?
I guess becoming an expert in my field of study, doing trainings, making the English student theater program flourish both in the long and the short run.
I am very dedicated toward building this English theater for students as I believe this is somewhat of a "niche" here in Pécs. Of course the city is trying to catch up in terms of providing enough English-language channels in entertainment so my goal is simply to add to this. I hope that more and more foreign students decide to participate or just come and see our shows.
For those interested:
Janus Egyetemi Színház Zsolnay Cultural Quarter 7616 Pécs, Zsolnay Vilmos u. 16.
Would you be so kind sharing your opinion about your degree course? I graduated from Andragogy: the study of employment policy, cultural science and psychology gave a good foundation to make my choice easier concerning the special programs of the faculty. At the same time I discovered the winter and summer schools offered by the faculty. Thus I got a chance to study in Belgrade and Würzburg – it was such a great experience! I highly recommend this opportunity to all students, because language skills can be improved easily. I chose to major on the Human Resources Counseling Masters’ program after this experience. As we study in English, students are not just from Hungary, but from all over the world! Within the frame of our future work we will assist organizations and companies in any field of human resource management. There is a growing need for such professionals. In addition, there are courses by the help of which we learn how to bridge the cultural differences in multinational environments. The last semester is a professional practice that we can as well do by foreign companies.
What countries are the fellow students from?
They came from Indonesia, Jordan, India, Turkey, Syria and Pakistan. We learn a lot from one another and we have become familiar with the cuisine of these countries as well. Students who join in via Erasmus also spice up our lives.
Does the faculty offer help or guiding for you?
We get a great support from our professors ! Let me share an example: in January, we received an invitation from our professor, Balázs Németh and a professor from Belgrade to join this year's UNESCO GRALE conference. In order to participate, we applied for the Talent Scholarship of the Student Union of the UP. Our application was accepted and we received the money for the trip. So five of us travelled by car to Belgrade - it was a great experience, of which we benefited quite a lot.
Have you heard of Lacrosse? - interview with Moritz Wüller, student at the UP
I’ve made an interview with Moritz Wüller, a German-speaking student at the University of Pécs. Moritz is currently in his fourth year of studying medicine in Pécs. He was born in Hamburg but lives in Leipzig.
My neighbour was studying here, I have seen the city and I found it beautiful. Since my first days in Pécs do I love to be here. Especially the international students and the beautiful life are what make the city unique for me.
What would you recommend for a foreigner to visit and do in Pécs?
I have visited the Tettye Ruins, Orfű and Downtown Pécs quite often. I actually find everything worth seeing here: the Cathedral, Király Street. It’s also rewarding to go to the PécsZoo. Yeah, and the Pécsi Est Café…
What do you think is worth seeing in Leipzig?
A whole lot. The downtown area, everything related to Bach and the musicians. Also St. Thomas Church and the Monument to the Battle of the Nations, where Napoleon got defeated. The view is great both from there and from the Uniriese, which is a skyscraper that looks like a tooth. Leipzig is very green and has a lot of parks. Almost all of the bars are on the same street, the Karli (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße), where you can find some techno and electro clubs, too. The city is like a small Berlin, there are many hipsters, young people and young families with little kids. You can reach everything by bike and it has a charm like Pécs - if you go through the city or along the Karli, you definitely meet someone you know. You can go to a lot of different shops and bars, everything is available here. You hear diverse languages and see diverse people studying or living in Leipzig. Something’s always going on, let them be either illegal techno parties in a park or street musicians playing.
What is the international atmosphere at UP like?
The German and the English courses were often together. A lot of people stay within the fellow countrymen like the Germans, the Spaniards, the Iranians and the Hungarians, but I have many friends regardless whether they are Norwegians, Hungarians or Spaniards or, of course, Germans. I think there is a lot of potential in bringing all the students together, especially from different faculties.
You play lacrosse. How did you find the lacrosse team at the UP?
I’ve played lacrosse for several years in Germany. My neighbour from Leipzig introduced me and my brother to this sport. He was the one to establish the team in Pécs and when I started my studies, he was almost ready with his education. That’s how I continued to train the team. We played at some tournaments together, thereby I have known some people from Pécs, even before I came here.
Lacrosse is a team sport played between two teams using a long-handled stick called a crosse and a lacrosse ball. Players use the head of the lacrosse stick to carry (called cradling), pass, and catch the ball in order to score by shooting the ball into the opponent’s goal. Protective gear is essential, since collisions are an organic part of the sport.
What is there to know about Lacrosse?
I’ve tried to make it a university sport, and we are officially a team of the UP Medical School in cooperation with the guys from Budapest and the national team from Hungary. Lacrosse is quite new in Hungary, not generally known yet. Since I speak only a little Hungarian (rather only everyday language and medical), I depend on all the others speaking German or English. Nobody in Pécs has played this sport before, so I have to teach them everything.
I have the starting equipment for about 10 players. One needs a helmet, gloves, elbow and chest protection, plus the suspension for those. Lacrosse is the fastest team sport, which is played on two feet. The net, the racket and the other parts of the equipment are like the ones in ice hockey and handball. One tackles like in rugby and hits with the racket like in ice hockey. However, severe injuries are rare! Clearly you can hurt your hand and bruises are more common.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Working. I don’t yet know where. In Germany or elsewhere. We’ll see.