Introducing Anna Doherty who works as part of the Student Wellbeing Team within the Centre for Student Services as the International and Communities Officer
What did you study and when did you finish your studies?
I finished my studies in December. I did English studies here in Budapest at ELTE, I also did an Erasmus in Ireland and then I had a semester in Denmark, in Sønderborg at the University of Southern Denmark where I studied communication design at an MA level. Communication design is basically how to design information, how to organize communication between computers and humans, how to be able to give comprehensible and visually pleasing information, which looks nice, which leads to the desirable information. However, I stopped my MA studies. It is a really interesting field but I did not feel it was practical enough. So I dropped out. I am a very practical type of person, quite proactive, too. I always have to do something, and this MA was a bit too theoretical for me. The school taught us how to approach and evaluate these sites but I rather wanted to learn how to make and create sites.
Also, I must admit that I missed Budapest, the vibrant life of a big city and all that goes with it. The advantage is that I can compare different universities. ELTE is a big university with a very different atmosphere than let’s say IBS.
What are your major interests?
I must say that I am most interested in people from all around the world, so IBS is an ideal place for me. I am coming from a humanities background, so I am also interested in the arts, painting, contemporary dance, cinema, I love music as well.
How did you actually found this job at IBS?
I was actively looking for jobs after I left Denmark, and I found the advertisement online, so I applied. When I came for the interview, I felt it even stronger that I was interested in the job.
Did you receive challenging questions during the interview?
I did, I received for example a scenario situation where a student presented serious, psychological, financial, social problems, an inquiry that a foreign student might have. The question was how I would react, respond to this. What would I say to this person, how would I handle the situation. I realized that this would be the challenge of this job, I would meet people who need help and human compassion.
What was your answer?
I could really feel empathy with this student, as I myself often felt the same way when I was studying abroad. I said that this person needed someone to sit down and talk with him/her. I could well imagine that it could be difficult and very lonely in a foreign country. Sometimes all we need is someone to really listen to us.
You are very young, close to the students here. Is it helpful? How do you see this?
Students can be more open with me, on the one hand, which I hope they will be. I can really emphasize with them. On the other hand, it might be a bit strange that all this official information is coming from me, but since I am in contact with the authorities, I can guarantee that this information is valid. Overall, I think, since I am a link between the university and the students and I am ready to give help, I think it is an advantage. I know what language my generation speaks, and it is easy for me to understand them, I do hope.
How do you share the work with Kenneth Umeh, Student Support Manager who is your immediate boss?
My job is divided into more practical and more creative parts. I am responsible for helping and assisting international students and the student clubs, sports activities and overall community life. The more practical part is like helping international students with Immigration Office paperwork. Right now, I am just giving all the information. I am helping them with answering all the questions that I am capable of answering. Whenever someone has a question, what they should do when they get sick or there is an emergency, I am the one who can assists them, I am a link between them and the Hungarian authorities. The more creative side of the position is with the student clubs, a lot of activities are going on in the newly formed clubs at IBS and I am really excited, as the students are very motivated, and initiative. Apart from that, sports are also becoming a part of IBS, our basketball team is about to enter its first league. Currently we are also busy with organizing the 2nd International Week, which is also very creative.
I get immense support from Kenneth and Gabriella Szabó, Academic Counsellor and all my colleagues, I am very hopeful. I have already inherited a lot of useful procedures and useful connections. I really enjoy meeting lots of people from around the world, and being able to help. I also immensely enjoy the creative part of this position. I am able to learn everyday, when it comes to managing, when it comes to projects or just being creative.