Ottília Boross

What is your area of research? How long have you been dealing with this project? How long have you been lecturing at PPCU?
As a psychologist and also a teacher, PPCU is ideal for my fields of interests: educational psychology, psychology of gender, and evolutionary roots of bullying.
I was one of the pioneers in PPCU’s Department of Psychology at the turn of the Millennium. There was no Psychology program on the Piliscsaba campus at that time. I loved giving courses in teachers’ training programs.

When you were a university student yourself, did you ever study abroad? If you did, what courses did you take? 
For Hungarian students in the 1960s and 70s, during the socialist era, there were no exchange student or study abroad programs like Erasmus. We could not even visit „capitalist” countries more often than once in every five years.

Have you got any recent teaching experience at foreign universities and with the students of these universities?
Since 2000 I have been giving courses at the Budapest campus of McDaniel College, an American college headquartered in Westminster, Maryland. International students come to Budapest from such diverse parts of the world as Nigeria and South Korea. I have spent some semesters working with teachers at Rutgers University New Jersey, and at Indiana University, Bloomington. 

Your lectures here, at PPCU, are very popular with foreign students. To what reasons do you attribute this? 
I am really happy to hear that because I love my students. Erasmus classes are a kind of dessert accompanying the hearty meal of other, everyday courses!

How easy is it to find the way to your guest students, to reach them and to get on with them?
Erasmus students greatly enjoy the dynamic atmosphere of Budapest, with its exciting student life. They give all new experiences a warm welcome, find classes enjoyable, work hard and do their best to meet the requirements. I have found that they bring new ideas, different attitudes and perspectives, raising the spirits of everyone in mixed, Hungarian-foreign classes. I find it very easy to reach these students and get on with them.

Are you able to make time for your foreign students out of the tight timeframes of the lectures?
I am happy to give them extra attention, and do so whenever they ask.
In general, most of them are too busy with their academic and social lives to ask for more time with me.

Can you contribute to broadening your foreign students' horizon about Hungary and Hungarian culture?
As we often have Hungarian students in our Erasmus groups, there is a continuous ’cultural exchange’ going on, explaining local customs, practices, holidays to the visiting students and sharing their cultural pecularities in turn. They also talk about their impressions of Hungarian people and the country itself.

How can you introduce your foreign students to our university, its past and its spirit?
Many of the Erasmus students come from Catholic Universities, and already understand the academic perspective and spirituality of an art and humanities faculty. In my opinion, the everyday experiences, the attitude of professors, lecturers, fellow students and administrative staff, are the best medium for transferring PPCU’s ethics and values.

Could you mention any differences between Hungarian and foreign students in terms of their needs or expectations?
Foreign students seem to be more active in class, feel more free to ask questions, and have higher need for interactivity.

Last but not least, when you have spare time, how do you usually spend it?
My number one love is gardening, and whenever I can, I also go running and swimming (preferably outdoors).