Distance education and the lack of personal contact challenged both students and faculty members; however, the Department of Dutch Studies at Eötvös Loránd University proved that coping with difficulties can serve as a cohesive force and it also provides opportunities for creativity. During the semester, they organised numerous creative projects and community programs. Through repurposing everyday items they had at their disposal, students recreated various works of art.
According to the university’s website, first-year students of the Department of Dutch Studies at Eötvös Loránd University joined the popular “Tussen kunst en quarantaine” (“Between Art and Quarantine”) project and incorporated it into one of their courses. The initiative was launched in the Netherlands, and it aims to bring fun and creativity to people’s lives during isolation. Its success is unquestionable: the project’s Instagram page has more than 280,000 followers, and enthusiastic participants from all over the world have been submitting impressive painting adaptations.
In order to put the theory of lyrical genres and adaptations into practice, students of the ‘Introduction to Literature’ course had to write poems and create their own artworks based on Dutch or Flemish paintings. The feedback was remarkably positive, and students, even though some of them got into dangerous situations, enjoyed the project. The poems can be read HERE.
“I am really proud of my students, they are creative, open-minded and hardworking. They have turned the difficulties of the school year into art,” – said Janina Vesztergom, their teacher.
A young researcher, Krisztina Gracza organised another creative endeavour for the department’s students and teachers based on the idea of Roland Nagy: they recited Sándor Petőfi’s famous poem “Arany Lacinak” (“Johnny Gopher”) in Dutch and Hungarian.
“The Dutch translation of the poem was provided by a wonderful old lady, whom we met during a Dutch−Hungarian child rescue project in the 1920s.
Meanwhile, our colleagues in Sheffield have posted a video in which they recite a Dutch poem related to the current crisis. We thought that in the spirit of Dutch−Hungarian cultural transmission, we would rather recite a cheerful poem.
The project was accomplished with the help of first-year undergraduate and postgraduate students, foreign students, Dutch colleagues and teachers,” Roland Nagy added in connection with the initiative. The photos and the post about the project are available in Dutch on the department’s blog.
The graduation ceremony plays a vital role in the life of the department. Although it could not be organised in the usual way, everyone could join the program from their homes. During the traditional ceremony, teachers and students hold interactive programs, look back at the events of the study period and prepare for the next semester. This year, they said goodbye to Erasmus students, Dutch trainees and members of the teacher training program through their webcams. One of the most cheerful moments was when they performed a song in honour of a Dutch trainee.
In response to the current situation, the department’s faculty members also rewrote and sang a Dutch hit song from the ’90s, focusing on the challenges of online education.