“The multilingualism of Lithuanians is surprising”, says Hungarian lecturer at Vilnius University

Each semester the Faculty of Philology offers study programmes and courses on 23 different languages. Most foreign languages are taught by specialists from abroad, who comprise 17 percent of the Faculty’s 300-strong staff. We interviewed Dr Noémi Bulla, a lecturer of Hungarian at the Faculty, about her decision to come to Vilnius University and what the University will be like in 10 years, when it will celebrate its 450th anniversary.

Honored to teach at VU

“I feel honored and privileged to teach at Vilnius University, especially in the Stephen Báthory Room of the Faculty of Philology. Stephen Báthory established Vilnius University 440 years ago. He was not only the Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, but also the Duke of Transylvania. At the time, Transylvania was a part of Hungary, and we Hungarians are very proud of Stephen Báthory.

Because of his activities as a ruler, politician, and military leader, Stephen Bathory also earned the respect of Lithuanians, and the period of his rule of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is referred to as the Hungarian golden age”, said Dr Bulla.

International environment

“I visited the capitals of the Baltic states as a student. They left a big impression on me, but I had no idea that I would come back here as a lecturer. When I learned that Hungarian was going to be taught in Lithuania, I thought that I would be glad to apply my teaching experience in a new environment, especially in a country that has so many links and similarities to Hungary”, recounted Dr Bulla, who started working at Vilnius University two years ago.

According to Dr Bulla, she has been pleasantly surprised by the multilingualism of Vilnius University’s community. “It is amazing that for most of my students Hungarian is the fourth, fifth, or even sixth foreign language. Last year, I attended a conference of international teachers of Hungarian and was very proud when the “Excellent Student” award was presented to one of my students from Vilnius University. This year, several students were awarded scholarships for attending summer courses in Hungary.”

Faith in the University’s future

“I believe and I wish that Hungarian and the languages of other smaller European nations would become an organic part of Vilnius University. I have noticed clear positive progress in this direction. I was pleasantly impressed by the Faculty’s positive and constructive view of developing the teaching and promotion of the Hungarian language from the very outset.

Multiculturalism, openness, and multilingualism create a lot of added value, and I believe that in the future the University will reach results that today we can only dream of”, reflected Dr Bulla.

The Faculty of Philology of Vilnius University offers free Hungarian language and culture courses taught by Dr Noémi Bulla. Hungarian can be chosen as an elective subject. Courses of Hungarian and other foreign languages are also available to the public as part of the non-formal education programme. Those interested can register at 

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