Kristóf Szuromi

What is your area of research? How long have you been working in this field? How long have you been lecturing at PPCU?
My area of research, also my thesis topic, is the aspects of the Ottoman image in Europe (considering especially the 16th and 17th centuries.) I have been dealing with this area for about seven years and it is still possible to find undiscovered details in it. I am also interested in early modern intellectual history, propaganda history and military history.
I have started teaching at PPCU in September 2016, after finishing my PhD studies.

When you were a university student yourself, did you ever study abroad? If you did, what courses did you take?
As a PhD student, I have spent a semester in Leuven, Belgium and another one in Halle, Germany. My main aim was to conduct research, but I also had the chance to attend lectures and to present my thesis topic to the foreign audience. When I was working on my PhD thesis I was also in contact with Prof. Krzysztof Stopka, from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He was of much help with my researches in Poland.

Your lectures here, at PPCU, are very popular with foreign students. To what reasons do you attribute this?
I usually ask my students why they chose that particular course. According to their answers, those lectures are able to provide them more detailed knowledge and information about the history of Hungary and about the Central-European region as a whole. Owing to the knowledge they acquire, students have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the processes that had been shaping the image of this region.

How easy is it to find the way to your guest students, to reach them and to get on with them?
Overall I find it fairly easy. The experience is quite similar to that with Hungarian university students. They mostly have different fields of interest and strengths, and the courses also aim to address these interests as much as possible. In this was they can profit even more, it keeps them motivated (hopefully), and also helps them to understand the subject more effectively. It is also a positive experience, that most of my students are basically always attending lectures, they tend to ask a lot of questions and are open to discussion, thus making these courses more interactive.

Can you contribute to broadening your foreign students' horizon about Hungary and Hungarian culture?
Partly, I focus on this matter during my lectures and I also try to contribute through organised cultural programmes (such as museum visits, excursions, etc.)

What do you like about teaching foreign students?
It is always an opportunity to learn from your students (Hungarian or foreign). Getting to know their perspectives and new ideas about a given topic makes its study and the lecture itself more interesting. Moreover, it is a constant language practice for both sides.

Could you mention any differences between Hungarian and foreign students in terms of their needs or expectations?
I do not experience any major differences.  As I see it, they move along the same spectrum in terms of interests, enthusiasm, needs, education or possible difficulties as their Hungarian fellows.

How can you introduce your foreign students to our university, its past and its spirit?
Firstly, the course I teach also addresses the period in which the university itself was founded, therefore it gives us an ideal opportunity to talk about PPCU’s history and significance. On the other hand, I believe that the teacher is also obliged to represent the tradition of the university through their own person. The way a lecturer prepares for class, teaches and the way they communicate with students are all representatives of this tradition and intellectuality.

Last but not least, when you have spare time, how do you usually spend it?
Besides teaching, both researching and my participation in the CEEPUS Programme play important roles in my life. I usually dedicate my remaining spare time to fencing and reading.