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Eszter Soos – Setting A New Path for Hungarian Students

Apr 7, 2019 Special Report

In a new series about the international community at SUSTech, we put a call out to our international students. Eszter Soos, a Hungarian sophomore, was one of the first students to come back to us. She joined SUSTech in 2017 from central Hungary, and the Newshub sat down with her early in the 2018 academic year to find out more about her.

About Our International Student

Eszter is from central Hungary, about 40 minutes drive from the capital, Budapest. She had already spent a year of her high school in the United States as an exchange student in 2014 before she graduated.

Eszter is an intelligent young woman who is looking to develop her knowledge base, make new friends and develop stronger connections while in Shenzhen. As someone who has already traveled in her teenage years, she’s not afraid to head out into the unknown, despite what her parents may have thought about her ability to be an independent woman.

She does miss her family, Hungarian food and the snow, but she’s found herself so busy here that she hasn’t really had time to miss them.

Why SUSTech?

We asked her what attracted her to China, and she told us about an enormous three-day exhibition in Budapest. “If we went to the right, we could go and see all the Hungarian universities, and if we go to the left, we can see all the foreign universities.”

After her exchange year, she really wanted to study abroad again. Eszter had loved her exchange year and wanted to do it again. She was looking for a university that taught in English.

Eszter admitted that at first, she didn’t want to come to China. “ When I saw the Chinese stand, I was thinking no way. I will not learn Chinese because it is so difficult.” However, her father felt differently. He stayed and spoke to the professors at the stand, while Eszter went and explored other parts of the exhibition. After ten minutes, Eszter’s father called her, encouraging her to return to the Chinese university stand, to talk to the professors. On her arrival there, she found herself convinced by the professors, in terms of the opportunities for her.

Having gone through a lot of procedures to get to SUSTech successfully, she is working hard to achieve her dreams.

Achievements so far and plans for the future

Along with making new friends, learning more and forging stronger connections, Eszter wants to enhance her knowledge of Mandarin. She is extremely happy on campus and in Shenzhen.

“I have so many friends here that are encouraging me and helping me all the time, it’s great.”

She is hoping to apply for a big competition for international students next year, and on graduation, work for a major Chinese company. Eszter spoke about the major opportunities that a Chinese university degree provides her.

Some of the biggest changes she found relate to the different lifestyle. She found that the Chinese lifestyle is very different from what she was used to. Her life is very busy, and she wasn’t used to having so few holidays. She reflected on the different way of thinking and pointed out that she had to adapt to it because she is in Shenzhen. Eszter also talked about the different weather, comparing the humidity of a Shenzhen summer to the dry heat of a Hungarian summer.

Eszter has been active in as many activities as possible, throwing herself into the Shuren College experience, and mentoring new international students. She helped organize the 2017 Christmas party, and whenever a new activity is hinted at, students can count on Eszter to be someone that has signed up to it, or been involved in organizing it.

She felt that it was important for her, and for others, to step outside their comfort zones. “When I left, my parents didn’t think I would be able to survive on my own.” She spoke about how leaving Hungary and moving to China forced her to become an independent woman.

“I want to visit all the places.”

Visiting all the places is a desire shared by the writer of this piece. Eszter’s wanderlust was clearly on display. She spoke lovingly of traveling to Xi’an with a classmate over Chinese New Year, comparing to Christmas in that it is a family gathering full of traditions and culture. While Eszter couldn’t really communicate with her friend’s mother or vice versa, she was embraced and included in the family in the traditional Chinese way. Her eyes glowed with her reminiscing about her eating different types of cuisine, learning a few new phrases, doing some Chinese dancing and being generally absorbed in the culture.

While she has not traveled as much as she wants to, Eszter plans to travel to “all the places in China, as well as the surrounding countries.”

Message for her countrymen and countrywomen

In her own words, it is the best choice ever. “I would encourage everyone to come here because living in China is the best chance you can get.”

Eszter believes in her ability to fulfill her potential here in Shenzhen, and getting a Chinese university degree would result in her being successful in life and being able to get a job anywhere in the world. The students are very friendly; the professors are very helpful and with strong connections to universities all over the world, that she would never find in Hungary.

Text: Chris Edwards

Photo: Su Jiahui

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