Each summer an entire class of Flinn Scholars engages in a group study-travel seminar. This year’s seminar, held in Hungary and western Romania, runs from late in May to mid-June. Here’s a day-by-day account.
Paul Thomson (’11)
You know, it’s one of those things where you hear everyone say, “The time flies by!” and, “It’ll be over before you know it!” and you never really believe them until you wake up one morning to sunshine streaming through your window and the sound of a car alarm just outside and you realize, “Hey! It’s my blog day!” and then, “But I’m at the end of the list!” and then, “Oh my gosh, we only have three days left.” But, time stops for no one on the Central European Seminar, and so it was with this stunning realization that I greeted the day. Good morning!
I am pleased to say that we are (finally!) back in Budapest at the Medosz Hotel. This place, with its high pressure showers (except on floor three…sorry, floor three) and its complimentary towels/soap/shampoos/biscuits/fluffed pillows and its continental breakfast to end all continental breakfasts, has become a sort of home away from home on this trip. It’s foreign, for sure, but a familiar kind of foreign and I couldn’t be happier about spending our last days here.
Today was a “back to business” day after the reprieve of yesterday’s transition, and when I checked my itinerary at breakfast like the resourceful boy I am, I was somewhat distressed to read that we had not one, but two lectures on MY blog day. Welcome back to Budapest! But, I am overjoyed to say that my pessimism was proved a thousand times wrong throughout the course of the day. The lectures were two of the most fascinating–if totally dissimilar–lectures we have had thus far. The first was given by Gabor Bojar, creator of a booming computer software company called Graphisoft. Not only was homeboy successful like wow, but he also knew how to give a quick, concise, and engaging lecture. The business majors ate his entrepreneurial advice up, and the rest of us were drawn into his “success is a competition” motto, too.
We then met up with Geza Kallay for a crash course in Hungarian literature, and–I have to tell you–this was one of my favorite lectures so far. Actually, it’s one of the only ones I haven’t slept through. No, I’m totally kidding. Kallay was not just knowledgeable, but passionate. He was the kind of speaker that really gets to know his audience and, in so doing, makes them want to listen. The fact that he joined us for dinner and led a game of blind-telephone-short story was only a testament to just how much he really cared about us as a class.
Now, I’m going to be real with you: I am not always the easiest to please. I like my lectures fast but full, my meals nutritious but delicious, and my days to be stimulating but relaxed. Well, I guess today was my lucky day, because I genuinely enjoyed everything we did. Now, I don’t really know what tomorrow holds, but I know it’s going to be amazing. After all, you’re only in Hungary once: YOHO!