Dóra Győrffy

What is your area of research? How long have you been working in this field? How long have you been lecturing at PPCU?
I have been lecturing at PPCU for 7 years. My main area of research is international political economy, and I focus primarily on social trust and its consequences for the economy and politics. I have been interested in this field for almost 20 years - first as a student and later as a researcher.

When you were a university student yourself, did you ever study abroad? If you did, what courses did you take?
I did my BA degree at Harvard University with a major in government - international political economy was one of its subfields. I completed my MA and PhD degrees in International Relations and European Studies at Central European University (CEU) where over 80% of the students were international students.

How did you choose the country and the university and how much information did you have about them beforehand?
I received an invitation from Harvard as a successful high school athlete. Harvard is a very famous university, and I tried to learn about it as much as possible before going there. Still, being there was very different from reading about it - you cannot really learn beforehand what it feels to meet all the people there. Afterwards I chose CEU to be able to come back to Budapest - by then I was able to appreciate the importance of small class sizes, which make a program much more personal.

Your lectures here, at PPCU, are very popular with foreign students. To what reasons do you attribute this?
I teach Economic Policies of the EU with a strong political economy perspective. Politics often dominates economic considerations in the EU and we see this on almost every area. The EU is currently facing several paralell crises and in my course I try to give a very up-to-date picture of these various crises. Students are able to put the daily news into a wider perspective after completing the course.

How easy is it to find the way to your guest students, to reach them and to get on with them?
As I did my studies in international universities, I find it very natural to teach guest students. They bring a novel perspective into the classroom, and I enjoy class discussions with a variety of perspectives a lot. This is especially the case with EU studies, where national narratives might differ rather sharply on various issues. Small class sizes make such discussions possible.

Can you contribute to broadening your foreign students' horizon about Hungary and Hungarian culture?
Studying abroad has a lot of advantages - I believe learning to be independent is probably the most important, but getting to know a different country and culture is probably the second most important. Before and after classes I often discuss ongoing events in Hungary, and I also try to suggest places to visit.