23 January 2023
Our Department of Languages for Biomedical Purposes and Communication has awarded dr. Csilla Krisár for her outstanding work in teaching and mentoring Bjorknes/Oslo Nye Hoyskole 1+5 Program students and preserving Hungarian language and culture. The assistant professor living in Norway has been teaching Hungarian for 17 years to students living there and preparing for the Pécs Medical School – they have struggled at first, but learn to love the language, culture and Pécs, too.
written by Rita Schweier
"I was born in Budapest, but my roots lead to the shores of the blond Tisza, because I spent my childhood in Poroszló and Tiszafüred. At the age of ten, I lived in the capital again, all the way until 1995. I graduated from Scandinavian Studies at the Eötvös Loránd University, and went to Norway with an international research scholarship. I did not plan to stay there, but the work opportunities and a more stable existence compelled me to stay. My decision was made easier by the fact that my daughter was already 9 years old when we moved to Oslo and she felt amazing in the local school atmosphere”- she said.
As dr. Krisár said, she is currently employed full-time at the ONH (formerly Björknes Hoyskole, now Oslo Nye Hoyskole), and her position is “försteamanuensis”, which equals adjunct or assistant professor. She alone teaches medical terminology in the 1+5 program. For five years now, her students are examined at the end of their first year by her Hungarian colleagues, which is not only helpful for her, but also an important experience for students. She has had a connection with the Pécs University since 2005, when the first students of the program started off. The truly strong bond formed in the last seven years, after conducting a shared survey of Norwegian students about their learning habits and results with the colleagues of the Department of Languages for Biomedical Purposes and Communication, Tímea Németh and Alexandra Csongor.
She told me about the 1+5 program that students taking part spend their first year in Norway, after which they continue their studies in Pécs on the English program, if they pass their exams. She find the program very popular, and there are many excellent applicants for it every year.
“Hungarian language education in Oslo underwent a lot of changes in the last 16 years. I am not only thinking of the growing the number of participants, the expansion of study materials or digitalisation; we have to teach a completely different generation of students medical communication. As a philologist, this is a very exciting field for me that presumes lifelong learning. It is a giant treasure chest we can draw from either for communication, human attitudes or language pedagogy. The number of students is almost a hundred now, which, compared to the starting number of 18, means a lot more planning. I am teaching four large groups of students, and I still prepare for every single class beforehand. While after this much time I already know the focus points of the linguistic and cultural background and homogeneity of students, they are still always different, and therefore I have to adjust the class materials to fit them” – she explains.
Norwegian students find the Hungarian language difficult, therefore the first semester is mostly about finding the shared wavelength. It takes many weeks until they get the hang of a language that sounds and works so differently, and at the end of the first year, they are able to handle a simple internal medicine examination. Dr. Csilla Krisár believes that there are not enough classes to really give insight into Hungarian culture, but there are popular topics like the Kodály-method or Hungarian folk music – the song “Tavaszi szél” (Winds of Spring) is especially popular. She tells students about gastronomy and wine culture, but there is not much time for history of literature. She added with a smile that she still introduced students to Magda Szabó, since she wrote her dissertation about the novel “Az Ajtó” (The Door).
Based on their feedback, students who got to Pécs really like festivals and various musical events, they attend concerts, enjoy the Mediterranean climate of the county capital, and like Hungarian prices, especially since they think food is just as affordable as a hairdresser. They are only missing fresh sea fish. They like the new theoretical block of the Medical School, that is were they are most comfortable, and since they were taught about previously unknown teaching-learning methodologies, they are quick to get into the routine of students here.
Dr. Csilla Krisár enjoys being with her colleagues in Pécs and shares a multifaceted friendly relationship not only with her immediate professional environment, but also with other educators of the university.