Dobry said she became familiar with Hungarian wine when she was working as a part-time importer while doing doctorate work at Columbia University. For hundreds of years, Hungarian wine was considered on par with French wine, but with the rise of communism in Hungary, marketing for the country’s lush wine was squashed. For this reason, many Americans don’t know the country even produces wine, she said.
This is one of the reasons Dobry wanted to offer a course on the topic. After living and teaching English in Hungary for a year, Dobry was able to make important connections with Hungarian professors, including Baglyas, who has become a personal friend. She approached Baglyas about rounding up a group of his students and a group of Cobleskill students to establish an online international course about wine. In June, Dobry visited Baglyas in Hungary to set up the course curriculum. The two have already written the first chapter of “Thirsty for Hungary,” a book on Hungarian wine.
“Hungarian coursework is similar to ours at SUNY Cobleskill,” Dobry said. “We both focus on education, horticulture, technology and agriculture. And the climate is very similar to Upstate New York. We have been learning about their wine and production and they have been learning about our wine and production and importing practices.”
Some SUNY Cobleskill students from the online class will have a chance to meet Baglyas in person today at a reception on campus at 12:30 p.m. The six Hungarian individuals will tour the campus, meet the college president, attend the reception and dine at the on-campus restaurant Rolling Hills Bistro, Dobry said. On Thursday, they will meet with the Early Childhood Education to try and establish more partnerships for future online international classes.
On May 12, Dobry will accompany 11 SUNY Cobleskill students on a 10-day trip to Hungary and its 22 wine regions, she said. Students will learn more about the country’s rich agriculture and see the beautiful countryside.
Susan Jagendorf-Sobierajski, SUNY Cobleskill’s executive director of international education, said online international classes like Global Wine Marketing are part of the college’s vast internationalization efforts on campus.
“New interesting courses are giving students a broader experience,” said Jagendorf-Sobierajski, “and the chance to build cross cultural connections, even if they can’t travel themselves.”