EXPERIENCE OF THE SLOVAK MINORITY YOUTH FROM HUNGARY STUDYING IN THE KIN-STATE
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The article is devoted to the study of national identity and ethnic minority – kin-nation relations, examined through the subjective lens of the Slovak minority youth from Hungary studying in the kin-state. Slovakia offers a government-funded scholarship programme for trans-border Slovak diasporas and autochthonous minorities, as a part of the Slovak state policies towards Slovaks living abroad. The scholarship programme provides a framework in which ethnic minority – kin-nation relations are analysed, at an inter-personal and inter-group level. This framework has been chosen as a subject of study for 3 main reasons: 1) the field of education is considered by the Slovak government as one of the most prominent areas of kin-state engagement, 2) the Slovak community in Hungary relies heavily on the Slovak scholarship programme in developing the students’ language competencies and professional skills, especially in the field of Humanities, i.e. in Pedagogy, especially, 3) the scholarship programme is also seen as an instrument facilitating a stronger connection to the Slovak nation and commitment towards Slovak identity; as a result of which students may consequently display a greater interest and engagement in the life of Slovaks in Hungary. The main objective of the research is to uncover the minority students’ personal narratives and interpretations about their experience of encountering the kin-nation, and their reflections on their own national identity. The empirical research, furthermore, focused on analysing perceived group-belonging, and the connection points between the members of the Slovak minority in Hungary and the Slovaks in Slovakia. The scholarship programme had positive outcomes concerning the connectedness between the Slovaks from Hungary and Slovaks from Slovakia on the individual level, and it contributed to a deeper knowledge about the Slovak state and the Slovak (modern) culture among minority students, as well as highly improving the students’ language skills.
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