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Euroculture Spotlight: Best Thesis 2018

15 Jul 2019

Read the interview with Noémi Kalocsay, a Euroculture graduate who got the ALBA Thesis Award this year, to find out about her Euroculture experience and career plans. 

Thank you, Noémi, for answering our questions. What was your Euroculture track and what are you up to right now?

I started the Euroculture programme in Bilbao at the University of Deusto, and moved to Groningen for the second semester. Then, I decided to choose the Professional track and moved back to my home city, Budapest to intern for an NGO called Foundation for Africa. It is an organisation in the field of development and humanitarian aid that also carries out a series of awareness raising and cultural projects in Hungary to promote African culture and intercultural understanding. Finally, I returned to Bilbao for the last semester.

I went from having just defended my thesis straight to employment at the foundation where I had interned before, with a two-week-long detour to Andalusia. I have been working for the foundation ever since as a coordinator of an EU funded consortium project that aims to raise awareness about trends of urbanisation, housing and land rights problems in countries of the Global South. In the framework of this project, I recently had the opportunity to travel to DR Congo for a couple of weeks, where the foundation’s main activities take place.

You have received the ALBA thesis award – could you tell us more on your MA thesis?

My thesis topic was centred around the role of civil society organisations in Hungary in the integration of third country nationals. Not only the services and activities carried out were examined, but a number of challenges and difficulties were identified that interfere with their successful operations. From a broader perspective, my thesis dealt with the dynamics between civil and political society, and democratisation processes as well. I argued for the need to examine the situation within the wider political context.

The idea to investigate this particular phenomenon stemmed from my surroundings: the job I was doing back at that time, the general discourse around immigration, the legal amendments in process. Above all, my aim was really to give a platform for NGOs to voice their opinions and concerns, to put their perspectives into focus, because the job they do is very important!

What did you like the most about Euroculture?

The mobility of the programme, of course, is one of its biggest added values! Sometimes I even regret that I did not exploit the opportunities a little bit more. In addition, it is really positive that this Master allows its students to tailor their academic path according to their own interests.

What are your plans for the future?

Career-wise I can see myself staying in the non-profit sector because I really like what I am doing. But at the same time, I do not want to give up on my passion to travel. There is still so much to see and experience. For a start, my short-term plan at the moment is to move back to Spain, preferably to Bilbao, and find a job there. Otherwise, I just keep my options open.

Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?

Within the Euroculture programme, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that my answer is Bilbao! I just have an inexplicable connection with that place! I love its colours, its proximity to nature, and the fact that a 15-minute-long transport by metro can take you to the beach. Outside the programme, the most interesting place I visited was Congo. It is a land with an unfortunate history of colonialism and exploitation, but with beautiful nature, vast resources and opportunities. I have a feeling that my trip to Congo this April was not my last!

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