Balázs Matuszka

What is your area of research? How long have you been working in this field? How long have you been lecturing at PPCU?
My principal area of Research is the psychology of addictions. I started to work on my first paper on this topic 11 years ago. A brilliant professor, József Gerevich M.D. involved me in one of his research projects as a research assistant in 2007 at PPCU. After I have graduated, I started my Ph.D. years under his supervision and I have started to deal with the topic of aggression in the context of addictions. I have started to lecture at the University in 2012.

When you were a university student yourself, did you ever study abroad? If you did, what courses did you take?
Unfortunately I have not. I have participated in student exchange programs, and during such an exchange project I have visited the Catholic University of Leuven in 2009.

Have you got any recent teaching experience at foreign universities and with the students of these universities?
No, I am not a guest lecturer at the moment. I have worked together with teachers and researchers from the Karolinska Institutet during my Ph.D. years at the Addiction Research Institute.

Your lectures here, at PPCU, are very popular with foreign students. To what reasons do you attribute this?
Well, I think aggression is a very popular topic. All of us have some experiences with it and I think that all of us want to better understand the darker side of human nature. And at the same time the fact that I try to accommodate the topics of my lectures to the interests of the students might serve as a factor in this popularity. And finally, maybe the integrative and interactive nature of my lectures can be such a cause.

Your lectures here, at PPCU, are very popular with foreign students. To what reasons do you attribute this?
I think it is very easy. Guest students want to learn something they can not necessarily learn at their home universities. And in connection with most of the topics I try to show the Hungarian characteristics and they find those very interesting, they are open to learn something about Hungary. I always ask them about the characteristics from their own cultures and it contributes to the intercultural aspects of the lectures.

Are you able to make time for your foreign students out of the tight timeframes of the lectures?
I hope that I can. I always try to facilitate the students to express their own ideas, experiences, reflections on the discussed topics. This part of the lectures is very important for me, I think that we can learn from each other a lot. And I also think that the critical approach to scientific models and research findings are essential in the socialization of the young scientists. And of course, after my lectures my door is always open for the students if they have any questions.

Can you contribute to broadening your foreign students' horizon about Hungary and Hungarian culture?
Hopefully I can. I usually present result from Hungarian studies and I try to show some Hungarian 'specialties' to them.

What do you like about teaching foreign students?
I like to have students in the group coming from diverse cultures. I like to learn their ideas about the topics and I enjoy to explore what they learn at their home universities. And it is always very interesting to learn how they perceive Hungary.

How can you introduce your foreign students to our university, its past and its spirit?
Erasmus students mostly come from catholic universities and they are open to spiritual, moral, and cultural aspects of the discussed topics. I always try to incorporate these aspects into my lectures.

Could you mention any differences between Hungarian and foreign students in terms of their needs or expectations?
Yes, as I can see it, Erasmus students tend to be more active during the classes and they are very open for group work and they enjoy the interactivity of my lectures. It is very good to see, that they stimulate the Hungarian students and by the end of the semester these differences disappear. We can learn a lot form each other.

Do you ever give your Hungarian students advice on where to spend their Erasmus scholarship? What aspects do you take into consideration when you do so?
Yes it occurs quite often. Students ask me many times to give them a letter of reference to foreign universities and I am more than happy to help them. We always consider their professional interests, their language skills and other specific needs together with the students to find the best university what could meet their interests.

Last but not least, when you have spare time, how do you usually spend it?
In the last couple of years I try to spend as much time with my family as possible. I like to be in the company of my little boys, we have fantastic times together. In the other part of my free time I work on many interesting topics, brew coffe, read books and spend some time in the nature.