BACKSTAGE

Backstage AT REFUGEE COLLEGE

After a year here’s how Hungarian students are doing at UBC

FRANK WALDEN June 21 1958
BACKSTAGE

Backstage AT REFUGEE COLLEGE

After a year here’s how Hungarian students are doing at UBC

FRANK WALDEN June 21 1958

Backstage AT REFUGEE COLLEGE

After a year here’s how Hungarian students are doing at UBC

FRANK WALDEN

AMONG FORESTRY students graduating at the University of British Columbia a month ago, 28 stood out like gardenias in bunch grass. The reason: a brilliant red and white cord sewn on their hoods right next to the green cord of forestry worn by all students. These are the colors of Hungary and its bearers were the first graduates of 189 who, with 28 professors, left Sopron University after the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and came to Canada.

Eighteen of last month's graduates got jobs in B. C.'s forests: ten remain unplaced. So are half of the Hungarian undergraduates looking for summer work. All of UBC's other forestry students have jobs. These circumstances relleet fairly accurately the plight of UBC's fugitive collegians. They haven't integrated. They have made little impact on campus life.

'They're still in exile,” one pro-

fessor remarked. "They don't seem to want to join in.”

This has been attributed variously to reticence, even arrogance. (“They figure they should be treated like heroes every day and are obnoxious when they're not,” said a student newspaper reporter.) But there are two more obvious reasons: language and housing.

Fewer than 10% of the Sopron students have learned to speak English. In homes near the campus they live three or four together. In overcrowded labs they work and learn together—from 1.30 p.m. to 10 p.m., since classrooms and lab time are allotted first to larger English classes (Sopron professors lecture in Hungarian).

Where Sopron students have tried to mingle, however, they have excelled. One student won the campus tennis championship. A young professor coached UBC soccer and volleyball teams.

Dean Kalman Roller and his assistant Leslie Adamovich admit their students haven't integrated as well as planned. "The friendship was quite well,” says Adamovich, “but it's a sorry thing UBC has many students and we couldn't get studies at the same time as the English students.”

Will matters improve? UBC forestry dean George Allen is hopeful. By 1959-60 Sopron boys will be getting English lectures. “We'll teach them and Sopron professors will teach our students. At present it's like talking with 10year-olds. It's hard to express ideas in a language you don't think in.” -FRANK WALDEN