From Siberia to Győr - Széchenyi studies boosted her career

irina (3).jpg"Those were golden days for me," sums up her years at Széchenyi István University in Győr, where Irina Grakhova, a marketing Master's student from Siberia, came to study. The young Russian girl is currently living and working in Budapest, preparing for her state exams. She said that she sees many similarities between Hungary and her home country; the mentality of the people and the built environment remind her of home. This is partly why she decided to anchor herself for a while in her place of study.

Why does a Russian girl in the middle of Siberia, in the city of Krasnoyarsk, with a Bachelor's degree in her pocket, decide to enrol for a Master's degree in Marketing at Széchenyi István University, thousands of kilometres to the west? For Irina Grakhova, among the many opportunities abroad, nothing was clearer than to choose Győr.

"It was not a difficult decision where to go next. I don't like big, crowded, bustling metropolises, so Győr is the ideal size for me. It's a quiet and calm, people-oriented city, close to nature. I think a lot of people speculate in the same way when they apply here," Irina told our portal when asked about the reasons for choosing Széchenyi István University.

"The location of the city is also advantageous and I think it contributes a lot to its popularity," she said. "Three European capitals - Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava - are only an hour and a half away from Győr, which is optimal for an international student in terms of both travel and job opportunities. I also think that Győr has an attractive industrial environment and a thriving economy," said the young Russian woman, who still believes that she made a good decision when she chose Széchenyi István University.

irina (2).jpg

One of the reasons Irina (right) chose Széchenyi István University was its proximity to nature. She is pictured picnicking with friends on the banks of the Mosoni-Danube.

To this day, she says, she still tears up when she recalls the most memorable moments of Freshers' Week. "We were full of curiosity, we wanted to know everything and everyone. We had great mentors and had a lot of fun. I wish all the programmes could start off as well as ours did," she recalls of her first days in Szechenyi.

Irina was one of the first cohorts to be hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic. The quarantine, lockdown and distance learning also made life difficult for international students, who in many cases were unable to see their relatives for months due to travel rules. However, the hard times brought the community together, forming a strong bond of comradeship that made them almost like a family. It was not only the great friendships and lifelong experiences, but also the homely environment that proved in retrospect that it was the right decision to choose Széchenyi University. According to Irina, there are many similarities between Hungarian and Russian societies, which – putting aside language difficulties - made the Siberian girl feel almost at home in the last two years. There are significant differences, she noted: in her hometown of Krasnoyarsk in winter the city is a realm of snow and frost, whereas in Hungary it is not so cold," she noted.


irina (3).jpgIrina (far right) at an event organised for international students

Kép1.jpg“International students have become a true community of comrades during the necessary closures at Széchenyi University due to the coronavirus epidemic," says Irina.

Irina has a Master's degree in Marketing from Győr and is currently preparing for her state exam. She has been working since September - even before she finished her studies, in her last semester, she successfully found a job in her specialism in Budapest. We also asked her which area of marketing interests her the most.

"Consumer behaviour is my favourite subject. I'm interested in how customers think, how to convince them to buy products and services from us," she told our portal, and then continued. "What I learnt at Széchenyi University has helped me a lot in my career, it has given me a solid foundation of professional knowledge, and for that I will always be grateful and look back on these years with pleasure," said Irina, who added that she is feeling great in Budapest at the moment and there is a good chance that she will spend the next few years in Hungary. She also does not rule out the possibility of settling down for the longer term.

If I had to describe the past period in a few words, I would say that the first and most important stop on my trip to Hungary was Széchenyi István University. Soon I will start a new chapter in my life, which I am looking forward to, but I owe a lot to Győr and I will never forget it," Irina concluded.

irina (4).jpgIrina celebrating her birthday on campus. She has many fond memories from the past two years in Győr

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