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A young voice from Hungary

A story told by Máté Bognár Györ, Hongarije

Máté Bognár is studying Recreation and Free Time Studies at Széchenyi István University in Györ (Hungary).

Being active is the best way to fully relax: so says Máté Bognár, a Hungarian student and future recreation and free time expert. “Keeping active makes you stronger and helps you attain a higher quality of life.” We talk to Máté about Hungary, South Africa, holidays and free time.


What do holidays mean to Hungarians? “My compatriots work long hours for low wages, and the local currency (the Hungarian Forint) is quite weak compared to other currencies. For both these reasons, people often prefer to go on holiday in Hungary. Lake Balaton is the most popular destination: it’s the biggest lake in the country, and indeed the whole of Central Europe. Only rich people can afford to go on holiday abroad.”

South Africa feels like coming home

Máté recently travelled to South Africa as part of his studies. He attended the World Leisure Conference in the coastal city of Durban along with his fellow students and one of their teachers. “It’s so much fun to be here. I have always felt close to African culture. I’m a big fan of martial arts and African music. It’s a privilege to be here and find out what free time and recreation means for young South Africans.”

Community spirit

Máté was surprised by the unique community spirit in Africa. At home in Hungary, young people form small groups of friends. Young people in South Africa feel more strongly connected to each other. You can tell they love each other, they like to do things together. Sport and other recreational activities bring people together, more so in Africa than in my country.”

The future recreation expert wants to inspire Hungarian youngsters to acquire good habits and make good decisions. “I want to help young Hungarians understand how to make space for recreation in their lives.”

Moving makes you stronger

The importance of free time and holidays cannot be stressed enough, says Máté. “If you make room for recreation in your life, your life will improve as a result.” When you are active, move, and try new things, you brain learns to be more flexible, helping you deal with problems more easily. “Do things together with other people,” Máté adds, “because when you do fun things as a group, the sense of community spirit grows and everyone benefits from it in the end.”

Good for the soul

So, time to get up off the sofa? This young Hungarian says so! “When you get active, it is very rewarding: it’s good for your soul. Your life changes because of it. You enjoy things more and you value the things around you more.”

Authored by Griet Bouwen Bilzen