Alumni Series Interview with Dávid Kosztrihán, 2019 Széll Kálmán Fellow
It is always nice to catch up with a talented, ambitious mind, like Dávid. He certainly made the most of his 2019 Fall Széll Kálmán Fellowship, which also included participating in the Young Hungarian Leadership Program. During his stay in the US, he received the Outstanding Student Award from The Fund for American Studies, the Fellowship’s organizer. He was also awarded the Eureka Award from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation for his academic excellence. Dávid Kosztrihán is currently a junior associate at the Parliamentary State Secretariat of the Prime Minister’s Office in Budapest, among many other initiatives, and even more plans for the future. We chatted with Dávid recently, to see where his path has taken him since his HIF Fellowship last year.
Where are you on your career path now?
I will soon start the last year of my studies at Ludovika – University of Public Service and acquire my MA in Public Governance. Besides that, I am a junior associate at the Parliamentary State Secretariat of the Prime Minister’s Office and a member of the largest higher education student association called HÖOK / The National Union of Students’ in Hungary, responsible for foreign affairs until the end of 2020.
Which achievement/s are you most proud of since we met?
The achievement that I value the most is the fact that I have been able to successfully balance my studies, professional and volunteer work, which – without hesitation – I wish to keep up in the future, but on a higher level by continuing my Russian language courses and submitting an application for Ph.D. studies in Political Science.
How did your experience with HIF in the US help you reach your goals?
“The bedrock of my attitude in regards to pursuing more and more was significantly strengthened by the Széll Kálmán Public Policy Fellowship in DC. The new environment that I was seeking suddenly appeared at the right time in my life and motivated me to reach new heights. Meeting the requirements of my university at home in line with the recognition of outstanding performance by the program showed me it is all about willpower. The personal bonds I established in DC only deepened this belief. These valuable impulses keep pushing me even today by providing the confidence to do several things at the same time with everything I can give.”
What struggles/challenges did you have to overcome to reach/move closer to your goals?
Time-management difficulties and the charming option of procrastination are always looming above my head, which I try to ignore, sometimes without success. In addition, it is always hard to perform well in each field of my life, so prioritizing my short and long-term commitments are crucial, but having flexibility and receiving it from others can help a lot.
What impact did your US experience have on your overall journey?
Surely an irreplaceable one. The scholarship, in combination with the time spent in the US gave me a significant amount of experience and broadened my view – even on ourselves, Hungarians – so much, that I cannot pair it with any other journey of mine. The experiences, which I have brought home will certainly help me develop myself in the future.
What are your plans for the future?
In the coming year, I wish to engage in Ph.D. studies – including research abroad, hopefully in the US once again – and continue my Russian courses. Once I reach the adequate – equal to my English – level in Russian, I want to restart my German courses. Personally, in five years, besides my further studies, it would be a game-changer to start a family.
What words of advice do you have for future recruits?
Give all you have, so that you can take all that is possible.
What books are currently on your reading list?
Currently, I read a collection of presentations and lectures by Count Pál Teleki, a book by the former foreign minister, Géza Jeszenszky: Az elveszett presztízs (Lost Prestige), A novel in excess of plan (Terven felüli regény) by András Sajó and occasionally I spend some time by reading Borsszem Jankó (Peppercorn Jack), a political comic from the age of dualism. Shortly, I would like to finish the Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn and the Eccentric Culture by Rémi Brague.