Flinn Scholars

On the Road 2012: Day Five

May 31, 2012

By Flinn Foundation

Each summer an entire class of Flinn Scholars engages in a group study-travel seminar. This year’s seminar, held in Hungary and western Romania, runs from late in May to mid-June. Here’s a day-by-day account.

Aubri Carman (’08)

Hello from the Snetberger Talent Center in Felsoors, Hungary! We arrived here yesterday evening and have been thoroughly enjoying the facilities, which are quite reminiscent of our group escapades at Chapel Rock and Lost Canyon. There is a quaint little village up the road that I explored on a run this morning and the views of Lake Balaton are very picturesque. Add to this landscape a group of 20 young, energetic scholars, and you have a great recipe for a memorable experience!

Our morning began with breakfast at the communal dining hall, followed by a short bus ride to the Balaton Uplands National Park. We met a guide and went for a short nature walk as a group, learning about the volcanic history of the region, the local flora, and the importance of this area as a National Park and EU Protected Area. Following our nature walk, we watched a short film and got to explore a small exhibit in a place known as the “Lavender House,” the local visitor’s center. We had a nice group lunch at a local restaurant, which was even paired with a lavender flavored soft drink. Because we are such a large group, we took up the whole restaurant and filled it with chatter about everything from the dessert to trash talking about the night’s upcoming sand volleyball match.

Following lunch, we all got the chance to exhibit our inner child and play on the restaurant’s oversized outdoor bowling lane and pick some cherries off the trees. Heading back to the Snetberger Talent Center, all were abuzz about the upcoming lecture. We had a great discussion with one of the directors of the center, who told us the background behind Snetberger Talent Center and how it operates. The Snetberger Talent Center was created by Ferenc Snetberger, a famous Hungarian Roma guitarist. Funded (interestingly) by both the Norwegian and Hungarian governments and a few corporate sponsors, the center employs an array of music teachers, mentors, counselors, and professional musicians that teach a class of 60 students for 12 weeks each year. The administrative team travels all around Hungary to areas with large Roma populations, where many young hopefuls audition to become part of the school. Mentors and counselors follow up with the families of the students and the students themselves when they are not in school, making sure that situations at home remain stable and helping the students in many other ways. Not only are students taught music here, but they are also taught things like multimedia and marketing to help them make a career as a professional musician. Three of last year’s students were present for our discussion and gave us a private concert during the evening. It was absolutely incredible! The bass player, drummer, and guitar player played for nearly an hour and everyone thoroughly enjoyed listening to their soothing jazz tunes. We even got the chance to hang out with them afterwards (and the musicians in the group got to play with them), which was an experience that most of the scholars won’t soon forget.

To conclude the day, we played a large game of sand volleyball as the sun set and ate a delicious barbeque dinner with the musicians. We even had an ASU vs. U of A match, which ended with a loud rendition of ‘Bear Down’ that could be heard in all of the cabins! Today was a great reminder of just how special this trip is, and opportunities that we as Flinn Scholars are so lucky to have!