Ajna Kertesz ’20 I Budapest School and Hungarian National Gallery pt.2

Looking back on my internship, I think the best part at Budapest School was that I got to see from the inside how a small-scale alternative school operates on a day-to-day basis. I worked there for two month as a teacher assistant and a camp counsellor and I enjoyed every minute of it! The mixed-age groups really showed me the how non-linear child development is, something Erica Wojcik, my professor has emphasised a lot in her classes. Seeing psychological phenomenons in real life is priceless, especially, when it comes to toddlers! I loved how the school in general communicated and worked with kids, where they were equal partners and learning was lead by the kids’ interest. Probably the most interesting part of the days were the psych-drama sessions, where the kids had to act out situations, create stories or masks, and then discuss why they did or said certain things. These simple exercises led directly into the little ones’ souls and one would immediately know if they were struggling with anxiety, divorcing parents or sibling jealousy. Lastly, this internship have been super rewarding! After the first week, he kids greeted me with a huge hug every morning and begged me to stay longer in the afternoons. It was really hard to say goodbye in the end. I think I really easily and naturally found a common voice with the kids and it was great to see how effortlessly I was able to built trust and a special bond with the little ones. I was also able to see how the organisation works, I stayed for late-night meetings, weekly preparations, and the annual closing discussion and benefitted greatly from these as well. All of the teachers offered me to work with me in the future or write recommendations if I need, so I’m staying in touch with them and maybe take up on these offers in the future. I might even be interested in working at such a private school, where the small class sizes allow for the personal and in-depth connection and long-term support of the children!

With some of the teachers at the alternative closing ceremony of the 2017/2018 academic year at BPS. The logo is an accurate summary of their teaching approach

My second internship at the Hungarian National Gallery have been great likewise. I worked at the information desk and  helped out at some interactive sessions for middle and high schoolers. I also had to deal with the complaints and make sure that all the visitors received the information they wanted to know about the gallery and the historic castle district it’s located in. Even though costumer service is not my biggest interest, I realised that it is quite rewarding, and after giving proper advice or information in fluent english (which is unfortunately rare in Hungary) I usually received a lot of compliments and honest smiles, which really made my day. Once I was even able to change a patron’s mind, who was about to make a complaint. However, my most important role in the gallery has been analysing the guestbooks. This is a tedious and time-consuming, but very insightful work, which can provide the researcher with overall patterns, means and needs of a certain community, here the visitors. So using qualitative methods, I acquired in my Anthropology classes, I was able to translate the 350 entries of a guestbook to three main things; poor lighting, lack of information about early closing procedure, and great curating work of a temporary exhibit in 2015. This may be brief, but these wore the key points the comments came down to, and this is something the gallery’s stuff can work with. I definitely enjoyed this work, as it is so close to coding and analysing field notes, which I’ve done many times for my Anthropology classes. It also made me realise that I could be doing this sort of work for museums or any other companies, which is a part of Anthropology, I haven’t really thought of before.

Modelling for the social media campaign of the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the National Gallery. Wearing the traditional Mexican Tehuana dress

Overall, all the experiences have really opened up my eyes about how wide are my options as Psychology & Anthropology double major which is super exciting!
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