Meet Vlada Volkova from Kazakhstan, Almaty. Her mother comes from the Transcarpathian region so for Vlada the Hungarian language and culture were always familiar. Her dream to get to know more about her Hungarian heritage came true when she received the Hungarian Diaspora Scholarship, and she could start to learn the language as well.
Tell us about your Hungarian ancestry!
My mother was born in the village of Shalanki, the Transcarpathian region. When she was 15, she moved to Kazakhstan to live there. Throughout my childhood, I heard my mother speak Hungarian, and I became a member of the youth wing of the Hungarian Cultural Center. We often participated in events organized by the Hungarian Consulate and the Hungarian Cultural Center in Almaty, chaired by my mother. I was especially inspired when I saw guests from Hungary: actors, musicians, and opera singers, and I also wanted to learn the Hungarian language. I have been to Hungary many times as a tourist, and I fell in love with this country, its traditions, and its delicious food. Since I was a kid, I tried to describe to my classmates at presentations at school – what Hungary is.
Why did you choose to study in Hungary?
After graduating from school, I wanted to enter a language school in Hungary to learn the traditions and customs of this beautiful country. Unfortunately, at that time, I could not find a program suits me, so I entered a university in Kazakhstan, where I received my first degree in Architecture. After some time, I saw the opportunity to study Hungarian with the support of the Hungarian Diaspora Scholarship for people with Hungarian roots. When I was selected for this programme, I could see no limit to my happiness because I had dreamed about it all my life.
You are a first-year graphic design student at the University of Fine Arts. What are your impressions on college life, and living in Hungary, Budapest?
I’m really impressed with the way the learning process is going here. Students can participate in many international competitions that help us make a name for ourselves in the field of design. This March my work was selected in a brand identity competition for our university. We receive a lot of useful information and have enough freedom to express our creativity.
Vlada Volkova received her award at the University of Fine Arts.
@University of Fine Arts
Award-winning work of Vlada Volkova.
Why would you recommend the programme, why should young people in the diaspora apply?
I like the activities organized for students! It’s a lot of fun because you meet new people and learn Hungarian traditions together in national dances, tasting folk cuisine, etc. My favourite was the trip to Sátoraljaújhely because of the indescribably beautiful view, the programme in the museums was very interesting, and after a delicious dinner, we all learned Hungarian dances together.
As you mentioned you participated in a Hungarian Language Course as well. Could you tell us more about your experiences?
It was very important for me to learn Hungarian, as there are not many Hungarians in Kazakhstan who speak their native language, and I wanted my heritage, language, and traditions to remain for my children. Everything went very well during my language learning. The teachers conveyed the information in a very clear way, and I went from zero to B2 level in one year. I can now understand everything that is said to me and can easily hold a conversation. Everyone says that Hungarian is very difficult. I can agree and disagree with that. If you love the language – it will be easy to learn!
I studied Hungarian at the MFA Balassi language school. During the 1 year training, we studied the Hungarian language, history, art history and philosophy. I am currently studying in Hungarian at the university.
Photos: Vlada Volkova
Hungarian language preparatory programme
Within the Hungarian Diaspora Scholarship, selected universities offer a non-degree, two-semesters-long Hungarian language preparatory programme. The speciality of these programmes is that it involves intensive learning of both the Hungarian language and in some cases field-specific knowledge and vocabulary. Its schedule embraced by innovative language teaching methods and modern field-specific materials enables the students to prepare efficiently for their further studies.
The aim of the language course is to prepare students for the various faculties of some of the most renowned Hungarian universities: by completing the course, participating students will have the opportunity to apply for a wide range of Hungarian language study programmes across the country.
Currently, six Hungarian higher education institutions offer the preparatory language course – you can read their detailed study curriculum on the DreamApply platform:
- the MFA Balassi Institute
- the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- the John Wesley Theological College
- the University of Pécs
- the University of Nyíregyháza
- and the Eötvös Loránd University.
While the specifics of the language programme vary among the institutions, the Hungarian Preparatory Course lasts for two semesters that cannot be extended and requires basic English language proficiency from the participating students.