It is obvious to say that Andrea Bohár, 24, knows everything there is to about Hungary – but it is not just that. Born and raised in Budapest, Andrea has already lived in France and Portugal, and has visited other European countries like Germany, Spain, Romania, Greece, Holland and Slovakia – giving her a varied international experience that makes her more aware of her home country. We asked Andrea, an MA student at ELTE, what it means to be a Hungarian and what the young generation of the central European country wants for the future.
What does it mean to be a Hungarian?
In my opinion, being Hungarian is mainly about family habits. When I was living abroad, the family habits are what I missed the most. And, of course, the food, Hungarian food is unique and unforgettable! It also makes me proud when I cross the Danube [river] with the 4-6 tram and I see all the beautiful sights. I think our generation doesn’t have the same patriotic feelings as my grandfather’s generation did, but if I move abroad again I will always feel homesick when thinking about my family and the Hungarian food.
Name three positive things about Hungary.
I love the Hungarian language; it is one of the greatest languages there is. The food is certainly one of the best things and also the Hungarian wine.
Name three negative things about Hungary.
I don’t like that Hungarians are always complaining. If you take the public transportation, everyone appears to be depressed and sad and they like to voice this. But this behavior is related to the second thing I dislike about Hungary; it is really hard to thrive here compared with other countries, especially in terms of salary, living conditions and quality of life. I also hate our public health system.
What do other countries, in general, think of Hungary?
Hungary is quite a small country so I’m glad when someone knows where it is and doesn’t get mixed up between Budapest and Bucharest. I have met a lot of people who have already visited Hungary and they were charmed by its architecture, bath houses and historic sights. And, of course, young people are amazed by the ruin bars and Budapest’s nightlife.
You are part of a generation “in transition” – your parents lived in a different society with a different world view. What does your generation want?
I have no right to speak for my whole generation, although maybe the majority shares the same ideas with me. In my opinion, Hungarians generally don’t have a very positive future prospect, and only the young Hungarian people have the luxury to move to wherever they want. A 40 year old woman with two children who cannot speak a foreign language will hardly go anywhere. My generation wants a decent job with a decent salary, and if they can’t find it here, they will leave. Even if they work hard in Hungary, they can’t afford the life they want. I would choose to live in a country which is economically better off and less corrupt than Hungary.
Do you think Hungary wants to be more integrated to the European Union (EU)?
I think the current government doesn’t want any further integration. We lose millions of euros on EU tenders because the responsible ministry is not doing its job properly, like in Ireland, a country who mastered the system to withdraw money from the EU. In terms of the students, the government is quite against the freedom of movement in my opinion. What do Hungarian people want? That’s another question, probably what’s best for them, and I think in that sense the EU could help Hungary a lot.
By Eliza Muto