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Postcard from Hungary: Understanding socialism & social justice

Studying abroad in Budapest, Hungary, Kerry Randazzo is learning that history is very present in the collective consciousness of many Hungarians.

  • Name: Kerry Randazzo’20
  • Hometown: Portland, Maine
  • Major: Environmental Studies and Theatre Production (costume focus)
  • Study Abroad Location: Eötvös József Collegium, Budapest, Hungary

Q. Tell us a little about your academic experiences at your host university abroad. What are you learning in your classes about human rights and/or social justice?

I am learning a lot about what life was like living under socialism (or communism, as Americans tend to think of it), as well as how that history is still very present in the collective consciousness of many Hungarians. I had never thought about it and hadn’t gone through any educational experiences that discussed how harmful it was for so many people.

Q. How have you been able to learn about human rights and/or social justice beyond the classroom, whether through organized extra-curricular activities or more casual explorations and observations?

Just by spending time in areas of the city where there are higher populations of Roma, I’ve noticed how blatantly they are discriminated against here. This is a form of racism that I had never seen or been aware of in the US, but in my experience it seems to be the most prevalent form of oppression here. My advisor at Beloit, who has spent a significant amount of time working in Central and Eastern Europe, told me that there are arts-activism groups in Hungary that specifically work with Roma communities in order to shed light on their oppression and to get people of all backgrounds to consider and discuss it more.

The Hungarian Liberty MonumentThe Hungarian Liberty Monument Credit: Kerry Randazzo’20

Liberty statue in Budapest

A backpacker blows bubbles in a public square to fund his Europe tripA backpacker blows bubbles in a public square to fund his Europe trip Credit: Kerry Randazzo’20

Performer in a public square blowing giant bubbles for children.

Yashodhara Kundra’20
December 13, 2019

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