György Nagy is a Hungarian PhD Candidate in the Structured PhD in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programme in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics. His PhD is under the supervision of Dr Freda Mishan and Dr Marta Giralt.
György’s research explores the extent to which English language learning materials in use in Irish ESOL provision support the development of adult migrant learners’ intercultural competence for the Irish context. His aim is to offer practical frameworks that help to integrate cultural content into learning materials systematically so that learners can achieve their communicative results successfully in a society new to them.
Why did you choose your research area?
In 1994, I was so lucky that I could go to the USA to work in an international summer camp where I realised how diverse people are. This was the reason why my MA thesis examined teaching American culture in an English language classroom. My interest in cultures never faded away; in fact, when I came to Ireland more than ten years ago, I immediately started to explore Ireland’s culture. I did it for two reasons: like other migrants, I wanted to feel and ‘function’ well in a society new to me, and I wanted to teach about Irish culture in my classes. Helping my students live happily in a new society by teaching about its culture through English has become my main interest, and this interest had my research area clearly defined.
” The best part is, unquestionably, the tremendous support and encouragement that I receive from my outstanding supervisors and excellent teachers.”
Why did you choose to do your PhD at UL?
I was searching for a PhD programme in TESOL, and when I was reading about the Structured PhD in TESOL programme on the UL website, a sudden feeling of excitement made me absolutely determined to go for it. This programme is so unique, and it perfectly matches my interests. Also, one of my colleagues took part in a teacher training course in UL several years ago, and she referred to it as an outstanding, excellent and welcoming academic environment for professional development. She was absolutely right.
What’s the best part of studying at UL?
The best part is, unquestionably, the tremendous support and encouragement that I receive from my outstanding supervisors and excellent teachers. I must also mention the strong academic support of AHSS, the great technical facilities, the superb Glucksman Library, the vibrant student events, the fantastic sporting facilities, and, of course, our beautiful campus.
” UL fully supports me in my professional development by offering a wide range of sessions and workshops.”
Have you received any financial support for your studies from AHSS?
I am honoured to have been awarded a One-Year Faculty of AHSS PhD Fee Waiver for the academic year 2017/2018, and I am grateful that the Postgraduate Funding from the AHSS Faculty Postgraduate Research Committee makes it possible for me to take part in international conferences outside Ireland every year.
Have you attended any workshops or received any training in Professional Development at UL? If so, how has this helped you?
UL fully supports me in my professional development by offering a wide range of sessions and workshops. I attended numerous generic and transferrable training sessions including working with long documents, writing for publications, basic and advanced EndNote, EndNote for systematic reviews, Mendeley, Scopus, SPSS, research ethics, career for AHSS research postgraduates, how to write a great research paper and get published in a top journal, making academic posters, designing questionnaires, the IRC PhD Postgraduate Scholarship preparation, and several library sessions.
I also took part in workshops connected to my PhD topic, such as the cross-cultural competence and communication workshop for UL students, and the workshop on ESOL for adult asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees. The knowledge and skills that I acquired during these sessions and workshops constitute an integral part of not only my professional development, but also the development of my PhD thesis itself.
Have you attended any conferences/given any papers/been published?
With the help from my supervisors and AHSS, I attended the annual English language teaching conference at Griffin College in Dublin, and the SCENARIO Forum at University College Cork; I had my poster presented at the Centre for Applied Language Studies at UL; I made oral presentations at the annual Postgraduate Conference at UL, the International Research Methods Summer School in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, the International Intercultural Communicative Competence conference in Prague (Czech Republic), the GlobELT conference in Belgrade (Serbia), the Materials Development Association conference at the University of Liverpool (England), and the Faculty of Law Enforcement conference at the National University of Public Service in Budapest (Hungary).
Also, I have a journal article published in the International Online Journal of Education and Teaching, and I contributed a chapter to a book on the ESOL provision in the UK and Ireland, edited by Freda Mishan and published by Peter Lang.
” Choose a topic close to your heart, and make sure you are fired with enthusiasm”
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of doing a PhD?
Choose a topic close to your heart, and make sure you are fired with enthusiasm for this topic; then, sustain this enthusiasm throughout your PhD studies. Make sure you do want to learn a lot of things – things that you do not even consider important right now; then, attend as many workshops as you can because you will only realise their importance at later stages of your studies. Let passion and action be your main drivers.