Hanna Szili



“…as my dating profile says, I’m a psychologist, wannabe writer and soon to be an art therapist. I think I’m a difficult, but really open-minded person, always eager to hear other people’s stories.”

Hanna, what is your personal view of Europe?

Truth is that I had not much opportunity to have a first-hand experience of other countries. As Hungary is economically on the low end of the list among all European counties, we have really miserable salaries so we did not travel much. The impressions I have, however, are really mixed. I am more than enthusiastic about the northern region, including Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark which – from here – seem to be so much farther in many areas; including social issues, economy, sustainability, science and so. On the other hand, there are these other regions – the eastern region as an example – which excel ways less in these fields. All in all, I think Europe is ways too big to be manageable as one, with too many different cultures, mentalities, histories, and customs. There is a huge crack between the top countries and the less successful. Also, the differences can really bring things astray. Even the processes and paths of our direct neighbors can sometimes mislead us. That is the more political part.
On the other hand, despite all these issues, I am fairly happy about being European. The differences, which make political and economic issues so difficult, also provide fascinating diversity in a culture which I am really enthusiastic about. From this perspective, I think of Europe as the most colorful continent. As an example, I am rather keen on folklore and folk art of many different regions. Yet again, as I psychologist, I count with the possibility that I overrate this diversity since I am viewing it from inside. Who knows. ☺

In your opinion, what does Europe mean for your home country, Hungary?

Oh, this is a tricky question lately. My negativist opinion is that many see Europe, the western parts obviously, as a potential escape route from Hungary. Others see Europe, and mostly the EU as a threat, which wants to suppress the state and Hungarian nationalist sentiments. It is sad to admit, my country has never really been so open-minded. Europe is good because that is the source of financial support and provides many places to travel to. But Hungary has some serious identity issues which inhibit the majority of Hungarian people to really think of themselves as Europeans (instead of thinking of ourselves as the proud nation living in a small, strange, isolated country with a sad SAD history, speaking a language no one knows).
But my friends love Europe for what it is, the source of so much information, technologies, so many different people, so exciting views, opportunities to learn and broaden their knowledge. Needless to say, I am living in the Capital.

There is a huge crack between the top countries and the less successful.