The Fall 2016 Enrichment Trip to New Orleans kicked off its first evening at the group's chic-styled Hotel le Marais.
The BAFF and HAESF interns journeyed from cities across the United States, and were the guests of honor during the cocktail dinner mingle. Although many interns had anticipated their travels with an intern-rendezvous in Texas, for others, this was a first-time encounter with others living a similar scholarship experience. The courtyard was soon bustling with the exchanges of these new-found kindred souls, who delved deeply into topics of business, politics (American and European), cuisine, travel, shoe design, and more...
Kelly Francis (CIEE), Elina Cire (BAFF)
Maggie Ivanova (CIEE), Kelli Somelar (BAFF)
Day two teleported this cultural cohort back in time to the historical Oak alley Plantation in Vacherie. Here, the group roamed under the canopied corridor of Wild Oak trees while enveloped by verdant fields and sugarcane, to climb the porch of the enchanting Greek Revival mansion.
During the antebellum era, this plantation was owned by the Roman family, whose livelihood depended on the cultivation of sugarcane, as well as the free and enslaved labor that kept their product profitable. In wake of the collapse of this slave economy, the decaying property would be rescued by the Stewart family, whose unrelenting dedication helped restore the plantation to its antebellum appearance, while forming the Foundation that would secure its longevity as a historical gem. The charming tour guide reminded the group that, since the mansion had been built brick-by-brick by its slaves, the Foundation wished to honor the memory and misfortune of these individuals by listing their names on the walls of the replica slave shacks.
In the evening, the interns returned to the city for a world premiere screening of the documentary "Shelter". Directed by Brent Renaud and Craig Renaud, the film chronicles the ongoing struggles encountered by the Covenant House, a catholic homeless shelter in New Orleans. The film showcases several individuals whose lives have been plagued by mental illness, poverty and domestic abuse. However, the story is most centered on the story of Elizabeth, whose degree of mental illness and drug abuse is indubitably the most disconcerting to the shelter staff. The audience would ultimately find themselves tear-stricken during the Q&A when the film's protagonists appeared before the audience, including the still fragile yet improved Elizabeth. Following the screening's Q&A, the interns enjoyed a special presentation by representatives of the New Orleans Film Society. Monika Baudoin, Director of Operations, and Clint Bowie, Director of Programming, who summarized the logistics of organizing this prodigious Film Festival, as well as emphasized the growth that the Festival has endured since its inception, and the solutions they have implemented to manage the Festival's increasing volume.
New Orleans Film Society staff
The third morning of the Fall 2016 Enrichment Trip was designated for a volunteering project at New Orleans City Park. The cohort geared up in their grubbiest garb to partake in some muscle-building volunteerism in contribution to their adored host city. The project was directed by Connie Uddo, Executive Director of both the Nola Tree Project and the St. Paul’ s Homecoming Center, as well as Tyler Havens, Volunteer Manager of City Park Center. Shovels, pickaxes, pitchforks, wheel-barrels, water jugs, sweat-soaked hankies, and laughter were the only tools needed for planting the 40 trees (replacing the tens of thousands lost in Hurricane Katrina in 2005) and laying mulch for park trails. Despite the sweltering 85 degree heat, our BAFF and HAESF interns harbored no grievances. They heralded the satisfaction of these selfless deeds, the idyllic greenery, and the unrivaled companionship.
Kata Kiss (HAESF), Jurgen Klemm (BAFF), David Tekan (HAESF), Zoltan Klimaj (HAESF)
Zivile Marija Vaicekauskaite (BAFF), Jurgen Klemm (BAFF)
Krista Busa (BAFF), Johannes Reppo (BAFF), Vytautas Tamulenas (BAFF), Emilija Bruzgyte (BAFF), Bottom: Csaba Feher (HAESF)
After about 3 hours of this philanthropic workout, the group settled down on a dock, and Connie talked about her trajectory in the volunteering sector. In wake of Hurricane Katrina, she transformed her home into a refuge and resource center for her fellow Lakeview neighbors, and thereafter, established a second center for Katrina victims. She has coordinated over 65,000 volunteers and helped thousands of New Orleans residents rebuild their homes. Tyler Havens's expertise stems from his membership in AmeriCorps, and from having worked with Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a non-profit dedicated to the repair and revitalization of Nola neighborhoods. Now he serves as the Volunteer Manager for New Orleans City Park. Beyond the satisfaction of this one-of-a-kind bonding experience, the interns would ultimately leave the park never to forget these commendable Volunteer Directors, unequivocal catalysts in Louisiana's ongoing beautification and betterment.
To reward the interns for their exhausting efforts, the group was boarded onto the Creole Queen paddlewheeler for an evening of quintessential food and live jazz music, as they peacefully cruised the grand Mississippi River.
The final day of the New Orleans Enrichment Trip began with a morning seminar led by Exchange Foundations Director, Laura Lyons, whose presentation, Dimensions of Culture, demonstrated the clines of cultural programming in line with research conducted by Professor Geert Hofstede, a Dutch social psychologist. The presentation incited reflection on the overall variances in the predispositions of these relevant countries, according to Professor Hofstede's defined dimensions. Ms. Lyons summarized these dimensions which include Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism, and Masculinity (referring to the nature of dominant values). The group became attuned their own country's position on these paradigm scales in relation to that of their internship host country. The participants were then asked to participate in an interactive discussion pinpointing the values that they believed lie on the highest and lowest points of the American scale.
Laura Lyons, Exchange Foundations Director
In the afternoon, the interns were hosted at The Idea Village, a nonprofit startup accelerator which has supported over 6,000 entrepreneurs committed solely to working in New Orleans. Beyond the equivalent underlying mission to burgeon enterprise, these two groups have crossed paths before this occasion. The BAFF Foundation sponsored a State Department project to promote entrepreneurialism in Latvia, and The Idea Village was chosen to work alongside incubators in Latvia to help develop Latvian startups. The audience also included the BAFF Board of Directors, who were keen to learn about the incubator's mission, as well as personally meet the presenters, Victoria Adam Phipps, Executive Director of NOEW, and Emily Egan, Director of IDEAVILLAGEx.
Emily Egan (left), Victoria Adam Phipps (right), The Idea Village
Laima Egilte (BAFF), Kata Kiss (HAESF)
All credit goes to Denise Desrochers
On November 27 with over 30 HAESF alumni we gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving together. This time we organized the event to a special place called "Görbe Bögre Kávézó" the first logicafé in Hungary run by a former HAESF fellow, Andras Dobner and his family. (gorbebogrekavezo.hu)
(Photo by Anett Sóti)
As usual, we also had some very inspiring and interesting presentations:
- Andras Dobner introduced the logicafé and how his sister and his wife created this place from an idea and a successful application for EU funds.
- Tamas Haidegger introduced his company Hand- in -Scan which already gives work for several HAESF fellows. "HandInScan Ltd. is a health-tech company focusing on the unmet and critical need of reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) that causes more than 250,000 unnecessary deaths in the developed world and 1.4 million cases a day worldwide." (source: www.handinscan.com)
- Beata Borzasi returned from the States not long ago, where she worked for Boberdoo, a lead distribution software company. She made a good impression, and now her task is to set up an office in Budapest for the company.
- Anna Losonczi introduced Ginko Green Architecture Studio, which she runs with her husband, Miklos Oroszlany. Please read more on their website.
Naturally considerable amount of turkey was served and the conversation went on till late night. In response to the questions and the inspiring conversations we sent around a short questionnaire to see what are your preferences and ideas about an efficient alumni community. With this spreadsheet we also would like to collect information about companies, organizations, research connected to HAESF alumni, so we can promote them and share with others to find possible co-operations. Please take a few minutes and fill:
October has been a month full of events: we have been to the BME study Abroad Fair and had the deadline for applications for all our programs on October 15th. The same day we organized our first HAESF Homecoming event with great success. The recently returned fellows gave a short presentation about their experiences and their current state back in Hungary. After the presentations we had a fun, US themed QUIZ to test their knowledge and we all agree they did really well in spite of some pretty hard questions. We hope to repeat the event in the future for the returning fellows. Here are some photos from the event:
Photo: Anett Sóti
In November we will organize the interviews for new HAESF applicants and hopefully many of our Alumni will also participate and evaluate the candidates. After interviews and evaluations we will celebrate Thanksgiving together with HAESF Alumni. Invitations and registration link will be sent soon.
MEANWHILE IN THE UNITED STATES...
Most of our Fall 2015 fellows arrived to the States and begun their internhsips or research. Soon we'll share news about their time and adventures. The Spring 2015 group of selected candidates recently returned from a wonderful enrichment trip organized by our colleagues at CIEE headquarters, to Boulder, Colorado... Now we give the floor to Larion Gungl who is in Miami as an intern for AON Risk Services:
Here we are. I am walking around the beautiful Bear Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and trying to figure out how I got so lucky to see so much of the world at the age of 24. It all started two years ago when I participated at the alumni day of my “alma mater”, University of Pécs. Many succesful people shared their experiences that afternoon; some of them worked at multinational companies, small consulting firms, the Budapest Stock Exchange or even for the government. At the end of the event they set up a laptop and told us that there is a former student who is currently working in San Diego and is willing to share his experiences via Skype. His story was highly motivational and that is when I first heard about the Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund (HAESF) and its Professional Internship Program that helps fresh graduates to gain real work experience in the USA. I instantly decided to contact him personally to get the details. (Everything can be found on www.haesf.org) Long story short; I applied during my last semester and I got in succesfully.
Photo: Larion Gungl
I started to work in Miami as an intern for AON Risk Services in April 2015. Currently I’ve been living here for almost seven months and it is without a doubt the most interesting journey of my life professionally and personally as well. I am not going to lie; Florida is an amazing place and probably the best state of all at least according to the people who live here. Of course one cannot decide on this without seeing the other states as well so I am trying to travel as much as I can. So far I’ve visited Key West, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Chicago and most recently the aforementioned Colorado.
Photo: Anna Tóth (HAESF Fellow - Spring 2015)
This last trip was the official Enrichment Trip for all the participants of the HAESF scholarship program and a very similar program for the Baltic countries organized by the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation. It took place in the wonderful town of Boulder, Colorado. The whole trip was planned out by the awesome members of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), the sponsor institution for both scholarship programs. Boulder is a rapidly evolving town with a lot of startup companies, which also became the main theme of our trip. In this spirit we visited Galvanize, which is a startup accelerator and had the chance to talk to some amazing young entrepreneurs there. We had some people in our group who already owned some companies in their home country in Europe but for most of us all of this was very new and highly educational. We also had a chance to hear a presentation from one of the members of the Boulder Economic Council who explained to us how they manage to keep the region constantly evolving and have new companies coming in all the time.
Photo: Gyula Schmél (HAESF Fellow - Spring 2015)
Of course we had a lot of casual activities too, as I already mentioned we spent almost a whole day in the Rocky Mountain National Park – and it was stunningly beautiful. I love nature and hiking so I am fairly sure that if I could I would move to Colorado tomorrow. We had also organized lunches and dinners at the top places of Boulder, so I am positive that CIEE did everything to make this Enrichment Trip memorable. I made a lot of new friends and we are already planning to travel somewhere together for Christmas because we won`t be able to go home to our families.
Finally I would like to encourage everybody who reads this article to apply for the HAESF program, because it is a life-changing opportunity and I know that I will benefit from it my whole life."
You can read about the enrichment trip on Anna's and Gyula's blog too:
Follow the adventures of Gyula Schmél (Spring 2015), doing his internship in Raleigh! He has a well designed blog with wonderful photos of all places he visited so far and extracts also in English.
"My first workday was on the 1th of July. My supervisor was nice, talked to me about the company’s structure and introduced me to some colleagues and he took me to a restaurant at lunchtime. In the afternoon I was talking to some other interns and it turned out that Rolling Stones played in Raleigh that evening. I could buy ticket fortunately and went to the concert with Varun and Andrew.
The next day I went to a mexican place to eat with Varun where we agreed to go to Washington D.C. for the long weekend. Later we realized that the 20th anniversary concert of Foo Fighters was in D.C. so we bought tickets for this too. We arrived there in the evening of friday and did a little sightseeing then on saturday , we saw the parade of the independence day and went to the concert. It was awesome!
During this week I went to work, spent my time to integrate. People are nice there I am sure I will have a great year here. Today I bought a bike so the life is going to be easier now :)"
July 4, 2015 H13 Student- and Business Development Center
Over 30 enthusiastic HAESF alumni gathered on the occasion of the 239th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America. We had five presentations of HAESF alumni about their businesses or initiatives which were partly or entirely the results of their HAESF fellowship. The new fellows selected for Fall 2015 were also present and could already get good advices and recommendations with a bit of envy from the already returned fellows. After the presentations delicious hamburgers and hot-dogs were served.
The entire audience agreed that all the presentations were truly inspiratonal and showed the great vareity of fields represented by the HAESF Alumni. We hope to create a tradition both for the July 4 celebrations and the Alumni presentations. The aim is not only to promote their business or research, but to find highly qualified employees, business partners, supporters or simply share what they beleive in and inspire others.
Here you can find a brief description about presenters and their presentations:
Ákos Szödényi - Partners in Leadership
Ákos was a Graduate Scholarship Fellow at the Business School, SUNY Buffalo from 2006. Partners In Leadership is exclusively representetd by him in Hungary. They are the premier provider of Accountability services around the world. If you are not getting the results you want or your coworkers are unaccountable many times, they can help.
Máté Vincze - FWD Affairs and ReConnect Hungary
Máté was a Professional Intern at Hungarian Human Rights Foundation from fall 2011. He introduced FWD Affairs which is a Public Relations firm since 2010, with the mission of strengthening ties within the CEE region and the United States, with strong content-creation (copywriting) portfolio. He also talked about his other passion, ReConnect Hungary, which is a unique cultural, educational and social immersion program for young adults aged 18-26 of Hungarian heritage, born in the U.S. or Canada. Máté encouraged participants to learn more about the program and meet the current participants on July 20. Register here.
Tivadar Limbacher - Ma este színház!
Tivadar studied International Relations at Indiana University with the University Academic Scholarship from Fall 2007. Ma este Színház! sells last minute theatre and concert tickets: online, on the very last day. Tivadar created the website www.maesteszinhaz.hu where young people can buy theatre tickets quick and simple. There is a catch, though: the site only offers tickets for that very night, but with great discounts. Their customers –more than 120 000 people and counting- love them because the site make choosing an activity for the night easy and spontaneous. The partner venues love them because they sell the normally unsellable tickets. Everybody wins. Literally.
József Laczkó - RehabMatX
József was a Senior Fellow from Fall 2012 at Robotics Laboratory at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. His field is the research and Development on (Biological ) Control of Movements. Thanks to his Fellowship József now organizer of an International Conference in Budapest:
"Progress in Motor Control 2015." The conference brings together people from all over the world who are interested in the neural mechanisms and biological control principles underlying human movements and motor behavior. Applications in Medical Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Robotics and Human-Machine Interfaces. He asked for support and promotion of this very important conference.
Dezső Kovács - Mecsek Honey Road
Dezső was a Senior Fellow from Spring 2010 at the University of Missouri at Columbia, exploring rural tourism development in the USA. He introduced a project called Mecsek Honey Road, which has brought together those beekeepers in Baranya county who sell their honey directly to customers. In Hungary this pattern is an exeption because 70-80 % of the honey is sold in bulk form to abroad. Mecsek Hoeny Raod is a marketing and cooperation project. All honey-lover HAESF alumni is encouraged to contct him to learn more about the project.
As the presentations were over all felt inspired and hungry. All you can eat hamburger and hot-dog was just the best closure for this successful event. For the rest of the evening fellows had the chance to share their memories and plan for the future. Here are some pictures from an informal perspective:
An award-winning T-shirt
THANK YOU FOR COMING! SEE YOU AT OUR NEXT EVENT!
See you tomorrow at HAESF Alumni barbecue! Check the detailed program below. You can still register here: http://goo.gl/forms/lJTlB7I9Y2