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Heidelberg Alumni International
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Heidelberg Alumni International


'Over the years, Heidelberg has become part of my life'

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Prof. Dr Magdolna Orosz

Prof. Dr Magdolna Orosz, Professor of Modern German Literature at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest/Hungary

Numerous research stays at Heidelberg University’s Department of German Language and Literature (DGLL) since 2001



When, how long and in what capacity did you stay at Heidelberg University?

I first came to Heidelberg in 2001 in the context of a cooperation agreement between Heidelberg University and ELTE in Budapest to give a lecture at the Department of German Language and Literature. In the following years, I returned several times to Heidelberg: As Vice-President, I took an active part in the cooperation agreements and visited Heidelberg every year between 2007 and 2010; in October and November of 2013, I was able to conduct research at the DGLL and work on a book thanks to a two-month DAAD scholarship, and in May of 2015, 2016 and 2017 I came to Heidelberg as an Erasmus scholar. Our German Institute in Budapest and the DGLL of Heidelberg University maintained a German Institute Partnership (GIP) for five years, which allowed me to spend a week in Heidelberg in July of each year between 2012 and 2016. The project offered excellent opportunities for research and study stays to several teachers of our institute, but also to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and contributed greatly to intensifying the cooperation between both institutes. And thanks to HAIreconnect, I was able to take part in the Summer University of the DGLL in July 2017, where Prof. Dr Barbara Beßlich and I taught a workshop on unreliable narration.


Why did you decide to come to Heidelberg University?

Heidelberg University has a reputation in my country and at ELTE as one of the best German universities (Loránd Eötvös, a physicist and the eponym of our university, studied and obtained his doctorate in Heidelberg in the 19th century). The partnership with my alma mater, which dates back to 1982, first nudged me toward Heidelberg University—then I came here time and again, became involved in the GIP project, and by now I feel very close to Heidelberg. The kind welcome I was given by the staff of the DGLL, especially by Prof. Beßlich and her team, and their willingness to assist me, was not just very helpful to my research and teaching. It also gave me the chance to have many positive experiences as a scholar and teacher—over the years, Heidelberg has become part of my life and it’s always a joy to come back.


What did you like best about your stay, and where do you see room for improvement?

In terms of my chosen field, my experience in Heidelberg was positive through and through; the infrastructure, the libraries, too, are excellent. The superb library collections in Heidelberg are a great help when I need to do research for future publications or prepare for conferences. I also like the Marstall cafeteria; you just have to avoid the peak periods.  The guest house in Neuenheimer Feld offers good accommodation; the way from there to the DGLL is a bit long, but if the weather is fine, that means I can get in some exercise on the way to work. The tourist masses in the historic district are not pleasant, but you can always find a quiet spot or get out of town for a day to explore the surrounding countryside.


How has Heidelberg impacted your career?

Most of all, the stays in Heidelberg helped me intensify my research, collect specialist literature, read a lot, prepare and revise papers and even finish my latest monography. My experiences here have also been very valuable in my teaching.


How do you rate the German scientific community compared to your home country or other countries in which you have conducted research?

The German scientific community has a long and rich tradition, but is also tries to adapt to changing circumstances. The typical qualification for an academic position follows traditional paths, but these are increasingly being supplemented by new career opportunities, such as junior professorships, that are targeting younger scholars. The wide range of scholarships, fellowships etc. help secure successful qualification paths; after all, it seems quite difficult to rise to the top in the highly regulated university system. As far as I can tell, there is a lot of support and funding for research in Germany that rests on several pillars; we see a dominance of research in the natural sciences—as is the case worldwide—but, compared to my home country, it is impressive to see how strongly the humanities are also promoted through various channels.


How important do you think international exchange is for scientists?

Science, research and education are always international, which means international exchange is indispensable to good research—it’s very important to support such exchange; several decades of European history have shown how great an obstacle political barriers can be to scientific relations.


How do you rate the opportunities offered by the Research Alumni Network? Do you use these opportunities?

The Research Alumni Network can be a framework for exchanging experiences and opinions in my subject, and thereby promote international expansion and networking. Also, every stay in Heidelberg helps us maintain our intensive dialogue with Heidelberg scholars and continue our individual research; there’s something very inspiring about the Heidelberg atmosphere...


Why did you apply to HAIreconnect and what did you do during your stay in Heidelberg?

During my HAIreconnect stay, I took part in the international linguistic and literary summer school on articulations of uncertainty at the DGLL from 24 to 28 July 2017 (I taught a workshop with Prof. Beßlich). We also developed plans with Prof. Beßlich for a research and conference project in 2018 on Europe and the First World War in order to continue our good collaboration (GIP and Erasmus cooperation; Prof. Beßlich’s participation in a conference at Budapest etc.). I also had the chance to do some research in the Heidelberg libraries for my current project on Schnitzler and Rilke and the Viennese Modern Age.


You are a Research Alumni Ambassador for Heidelberg—what are your future plans in this context?

The experience I gained in Heidelberg has led to the installation of similarly good practices in my home country and at my home university. That is why I am pleased to act as a Research Alumni Ambassador at my institute and my university and to promote and continue our cooperation with Heidelberg University, and especially with the Department of German Language and Literature, on many different levels. We might, for instance, initiate small-scale joint research projects and workshops or organise student exchanges with intensive seminar programmes, guest stays, guest lectures promoting interdisciplinary exchange and the like.

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Latest Revision: 2018-02-23
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