Balint Horvath, present researcher PhD tudent of the Szent István University took part in The Journey in 2016. Read about his experience about the programme in the interview below.
Which countries did you visit throughout The Journey?
I participated the 2016 Journey 6 programme which has taken place in Germany (Hamburg) and in the UK (London and Warwick).
What project did you work on?
My team worked on hybrid renewable energy projects which would function on a higher level of efficiency. Our goal was to help local communities striving to become energy independent. During The Journey we elaborated on a business model which connects individual investors with these local communities.
What was the most interesting thing about the teamwork in an international team?
My team consisted of a Greek girl, a British and a Dutch guy (who actually came from Surinam). What I loved about them was the way they proved me right about something I learned a long time ago. As I recall my past, I always felt a little bit lost before I first went to study abroad. Even though it was frightening to leave my home, later I realized that I have found myself in meeting people from different countries. 4 years ago – after my return to Hungary – I started to lose this feeling. Then, I only got it back when I was working with my team during The Journey. For that, I will be always grateful for them. I love those guys.
What was the biggest challenge in The Journey?
Well, when it comes down to the word ‘challenge’, I can only think of it in a positive way. After our final pitch, a French friend of mine came down to me and said: “Bálint, during this Journey, I realized that I need this atmosphere. A place where I am challenged so I can be better.” I won’t say that The Journey is easy. I won’t say it is comfortable either. It is rather tense. Our first two weeks has been spent in lecture rooms all day long. Then we thought that receiving more free time would make us feel better. Well, it didn’t. It was even more exhausting to spend more time in front of our computer making researches. It was something you would just quickly go through while you are at it. However, once the feeling is gone, you simply yearn to get back to it.
What did you like most about The Journey?
For me, the best thing about The Journey was the multicultural environment. As a researcher, I always seek to see as much of the world as I can. The diverse set of people has brought several perspectives and professional backgrounds to the table. Somewhere, in the middle of that adventure I had to realize that I learned more from my fellow students than from the lecturers of the programme.
What were your most valuable takeaways from The Journey?
I acquired three important things throughout The Journey. First of all, the many great memories from people that I call friends now. I would never forget my roommate, who showed me how to act cool in every situation and stay responsible in the same way. I owe many thanks to my coaches whom I can easily call the two most professionally capable people I have ever met. And this is where my second highlight comes in: my professional improvement. To me, this field is never about the tangible knowledge. I rather value all the things that broadens my horizon and gives something more to my perspective. As my favourite novelist says: “Sometimes a 5-minute experience is worth more than a whole academic library”. Well, in my case this experience has been about 5 weeks, but it certainly proves the point. Eventually, the best thing that happened to me was my team. Ever since I returned to Hungary, I have a skype meeting with them every single week. It is always about developing our idea and just catching up with each other. A simply can’t go through a week without knowing what they are up to.
What would you recommend future Journey participants?
That’s easy: “always value the moment!” The Journey is not a lovely afternoon walk in the park. That’s for sure (even if it can be real fun sometimes). Still, the thing is that after The Journey you are going to realize that the best moments were the ones you did not consider fun. They were the times sitting (or standing) above your laptop with coffee in your hands (even though you naturally don’t drink coffee), working on your business plan with your team. These will be the things to remember.
How The Journey changed your life?
I think the best answer for this question is the thing I shared with my coach at the end of The Journey: “I am not the same person I was 5 weeks ago, and you’ve got a lot to do with it.” Now I know that this feeling applies for the whole adventure, not only for that very person. The Journey has changed my working habits, my way of living and my perspective of life. Nothing proves that better than my own father saying that his son has been ‘brainwashed’ during his summer school. Trust me, he means it in the best way.