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The Connecting Link is the Hungarian Language

Fourteen participants from seven countries arrived this year to attend the Conference of Non-Hungarian Native Speaker Teachers of Hungarian, held at the University of Debrecen.
 
Montano Evelyn has been teaching for more than 25 years at the Hungarian House in Sao Paolo. Her parents immigrated to Brazil after World War II, so she and her younger brother were already born in the South American country. Thanks to her father and mother, she also learned to speak perfect Hungarian. She came to the conference to polish her knowledge of Hungarian.
 
“I am Brazilian geographically, but Hungarian in my soul, and this duality determines my identity,” said Evelyn, who also participated at the first Conference of Non-Hungarian Native Speaker Teachers of Hungarian, held in 2012.
The Connecting Link is the Hungarian Language 
“I love Debrecen: there is a great atmosphere, I am already friends with the teachers, and I find it important that I can improve my command of Hungarian”, she added. “In Sao Paolo, 60-70 students each year want to study Hungarian out of respect for their ancestors. However, since the Hungarian language is difficult and very different from Portuguese, a few of them usually drop out. In the Hungarian House, those interested can not only study the language, but also the gastronomy, poetry, literature and folk dance”, she said.
 
In addition to Brazil, conference participants also arrived from the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Croatia and the United States. Ildikó Bézi, the principal of “Széchenyi” Hungarian School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, also found it important to participate. She has a degree in anthropology, has lived in the USA for 20 years, and has two young daughters. For them it was also natural that they should be among the 165 students learning Hungarian.
 
Kathrina Dowas works as a kindergarten teacher in Austria in bilingual institutions. This is the second time she came to the conference and the third time she is enrolled in the Hungarian course of the Debrecen Summer School.  Her grandparents are Hungarian, so she was also brought up in a bilingual family. She believes that those who can communicate in both languages have more opportunities on the job market as well.
 
At the opening of the conference, organised by the Debrecen Summer School for the fifth time, Péter Szaffkó, director, welcomed the teachers. He emphasised that the work of the non-Hungarian native speaker teachers of Hungarian is indispensable and priceless. The event also provides opportunities to the participants to exchange their experiences, share their successes, forge friendships, and thereby create a real network between teachers of Hungarian living abroad.
 
At the conference, held between 1 and 3 August, the participants will review the situation of teaching Hungarian outside of Hungary, learn new methods for teaching problematic aspects of the language, as well as deepen their knowledge at presentations on teaching materials and by visiting classes at the Debrecen Summer School.
 
For more pictures, see the Photo album.
 
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