Two nursing students from the University of Debrecen, Hungary and participants in the Lutheran Church’s “Roma College” will be visiting Northeastern Iowa during the next 10 days.

Sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, The Roma College helps Roma students make the transition to university life through mentoring, and additional education, including learning about Roma heritage and language.  They also provide room and board so that Roma students can benefit from the support of being part of a Roma community on campus.

Vanda Krisztina Túró

Vanda Krisztina Túró

Vanda Krisztina Túró, a Roma student from the college talks about what a difference the Roma College made for her:

“When I came to the University of Debrecen, I felt very alone because I was far from my home and friends. My first semester was hard. I felt like I was very different here. I got letters from other students saying to go home because I am Gypsy”

However, Vanda’s experienced changed when she became connected with the Roma College.

“Everything got better. I was doing more than just studying. I met friendly people who were mostly Gypsy and this was very special for me, because before I was not proud to be Gypsy. I didn’t like the Gypsy songs. But now, I like to sing these songs and I am proud of myself for being Gypsy and learning in the university. I didn’t know much about my culture before, but now I am beginning to learn the Gypsy language from the other students.”

Vanda has made a connection with one of the YAGMs (Young adults in Global Mission) we support in Hungary, Rebekah Swygert

“She is very nice and I think we are very good friends. Once, she visited my family and they liked her very much. When she stayed in my home, we went to my old school and we met some students. They were very inspired and later some of them told me they want to learn to speak English, too.”

Vanda wants to use her skills and knowledge in nursing to be a health volunteer and help women and mothers in her village.

Judith Megyesi

Judith Megyesi

Judith Megyesi is not Roma but grew up in a small village with Roma and many of her friends were Roma.  It seemed natural for her to go to the Roma College to learn more about their culture and how she could help the community.

Judith is studying to be a midwife.  Her faith has taught her the importance of serving.

“I grew up in a big family,” she explains   “I have six siblings so I have experienced struggles but I have also experienced love – from God and people. Therefore, I try to help other indigent youth and children. These experiences helped me to decide that I want to be a volunteer abroad, too.”

She worked as a volunteer in Uruguay for 9 months. “I felt blessed that I was able to help in a poor region and we tried to teach children how they can live a different life,” she comments

Judith wants to use her nursing skills to help improve the lives of women. “I would like to create a health center for women, who are abused, escaping prostitution or underage mothers.”

In addition to practicing their English and visiting some attractions, Vanda and Judith will be shadowing nurses including a county nurse, a school nurse, a parish nurse and a physical therapist who works in geriatric and pediatric settings. They will also visit some congregations, colleges, and social ministries as well as farms.

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.




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