August 31. 08:00 - September 2. 20:00
The International Mentor Team of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration organized a day out on the 17th of September, where the mentors had the chance to learn how a traditional Hungarian household looked like and operated.
The location of the fieldtrip was in Alsóváros (lit.: downtown) in a ‘country house’ preserved in the style of the turn of the 19th century. The mentors had a quick but interesting lesson on how life looked like for a typical paprika producing family in the period between 1890-1930 in Szeged.
The fieldtrip was selected with aims and purpose (thematic). Instinctively, the first three things that comes to every student when they heard about Szeged and the University of Szeged is firstly Vitamin C, secondly is the Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi who received a Nobel Prize in medicine in 1937, and thirdly is paprika. Do you know that paprika has the highest percentage of vitamin C? Definitely yes, if you are a student at the University of Szeged. Most probably you maybe know that paprika was used for the breakthrough isolation of Vitamin C. What is more remarkable and worth noting is that Szeged is the most significant producer of paprika and one of the two best quality paprika producers. The paprika of Szeged has a long history and it was one of the themes of our fieldtrip to share it with the mentor team.
In fact, this typical paprika producing family has brought back many memories of mentors to live. As the faculty international team is quite diverse and comprised of many nationalities. The team has members from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Jordan, Syria, Azerbaijan, Turkey and of course from Hungary. Each mentor has something to relate it to their old houses in their countries. The bedroom was a full package of facilities. You could see cupboard(cabinet) in the walls. Some beautiful pictures of family members were hanged on the wall. Curtains from old days were especially eye-catching and the view from the window was simply awesome and soothing. The engraved woods with old design were amazing. Last but not least, the multifunctional heating system apart from heating the bedroom which also helps in cooking in kitchen as well uses for drying paprika. After all, every mentor coming out of that room has fresh old memories back home.
After this came the highlight of the day: the making and more importantly consuming of the ‘kalács’ a sort of raised dough pastry, found typically in a Hungarian pantry. The mentors had the chance to make this pastry by themselves, with a little help from Melinda Kulik (the manager of the place). Additionally, the mentors could try a soft drink called ‘szörp’ (a mix of fruit syrup and water) and there was some homemade wine as well for those who felt like taking a few sips.
We had a great time together, again highlighting the fact how exciting it is to be a mentor student. Let’s listen to some of their reflections.
Why did you join the mentor team?
When I arrived I had a very bad experience with my mentor, they weren’t helpful, so it was hard for me to find my way. For that reason, I joined the mentor team, so I can improve the experience of the freshmen. (Ahmad)
I was lost when I came to Szeged, I didn’t know anything, not even where to buy food and it was a cultural shock as well, so I joined to make life easier for the freshmen. (Zohaib)
What are your experiences about mentoring?
I have twofold experiences. On the one hand, I have met numerous new people, could try myself in challenging situations that aren't likely to otherwise ever happen to me. The team programs I attended were really fun as well. On the other hand, one of my mentees was absent this whole time and that was quite disappointing for me to see. (Berni)
Did you enjoy your time as a mentor?
Yes, I had a lot of fun and I was able to make friends with many people. (Ahmad)
You are one of the Hungarian mentors of the team. How can Hungarian students help their international fellow students?
I think we can help them in many different ways. First, when they are remotely organizing their arrival and initial tasks from home, we can help them by explaining how the city and the country "works". We have hands-on experience with mostly everything or if not, we are very easily able to find out the necessary information. This saves them time and headaches as well. Later on, we can help them with their actual arrival, things like how to use public transportation, where to find info on it, where they can/should shop for groceries, what restaurants to try, where can they go out to on a Friday night and many other things in connection with student life. These seem little things for us that have lived here before but can mean so much to newcomers. (Berni)
How did you prepare for mentoring?
To be honest, I didn't really prepare. We were given some guidance, some rules we needed to follow at the very beginning. Of course, I studied those to be able to properly help people but otherwise I didn't really know what to do. So I did nothing other than what I knew I had to and waited for reality to begin. After getting my assigned mentees, some questions were raised on my part but in every case one of our head mentors helped really fast. They were so much help! (Berni)
Would you do mentoring again?
Yes, absolutely, without skipping a heartbeat. (Zohaib)
Do you have any favourite moments?
I definitely loved the treasure hunting in the beginning of September. That was the first time when I unofficially met the new students. It was great to see how open everyone was, to learn about them. It was so much fun, everyone took part in the whole game. (Berni)
What would you recommend for those who want to join the mentor team?
Listen to the staff and cooperate as much as possible, also join all the meetings and make sure to take part in the trips and activities. (Ahmad)
Organize your time, make sure you leave enough time for yourself, so you can do your work, but also have enough time to help others. (Zohaib)
It is a unique experience that gives deep satisfaction when you see that your help made a difference in the life of someone else. You can also learn many new things from the new students. Also, a very important thing is that you become a member of a great team, get to know new people (not only in the mentees but also your fellow mentors). (Berni)