June 21, 2021: Visit of the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University and the Bonsai Center Košice

   On June 21, I visited Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice and its Medical Faculty. This was my second visit to the metropolis of the East in June. At the beginning of the month, I visited Košice on the invitation of the Governor of the Košice Self-governing region, and at the end, from 21 to 23 June, I visited mainly Japanese companies operating in their vicinity.
   I was welcomed by the Rector of the University, prof. RNDr. Pavol Sovak, CSc. in the presence of the Vice-Rector for International Relations and Mobility, doc. Ing. Silvia Ručinská, Ph.D. and representatives of the Medical Faculty of the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University, prof. MVDr. Monika Halánová, PhD., Vice-Dean for Grants, Development and International Relations, prof. MUDr. Petr Jarčuška, PhD., Vice-dean for Scientific Research and Associate Prof. MUDr. Pavel Kristian, PhD., Vice-Dean for Studies in the General Medicine Study Program in English.
   The meeting was also attended by prof. MUDr. Pavol Jarčuška, PhD., the leading Slovak infectologist, president of the Slovak Society of Infectologists, Vice-rector of the university for Development and European issues and member of the governmental pandemic commission.
   The aim of the visit was to get to know the university and the faculty, where 14 Japanese students are currently studying General Medicine program in English (General Medicine) and meet students from Japan. Due to distance learning in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, only two of them were able to attend the meeting, as the others are staying in their home country and studying online.
   In recent years, the number of Japanese medical students in Central and Eastern Europe, including Slovakia, has increased significantly. This can be expected to be the case in the future. This is so for various reasons. One of them is the growing number of Japanese agencies that mediate such studies abroad, but also the openness of medical faculties of Slovak universities such as the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice and Comenius University in Bratislava.
   I subsequently inspected the premises of the newly built Center for Simulator and Virtual Medicine, which students will be able to use in the next academic year. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, mostly made in Japan.
   I also visited the metropolis of the East to meet with the President of the Slovak Bonsai Association, Juraj Szabó, at the Bonsai Center Košice. The meeting took place only a day after the end of the 11th Cassovia bonsai 2021 exhibition.
   Thanks to Mr. Szabó, I became acquainted in detail with the activities of the SBA and Košice bonsai artists, as well as with their plans to organize a National Bonsai Exhibition in Levoča.
   It is also interesting that Mr. Szabó's original job was completely different - he worked in a family business. One day, however, while accidentally browsing the internet, he discovered the beauty of bonsai, completely fell for them and began to devote himself fully to them. His dream was to receive direct guidance from a Japanese teacher - a true master. He also studied in Italy to improve his knowledge and skills. During the visit, I inspected a number of bonsai, which Mr. Szabó lovingly takes care of, and all of them were truly wonderful.
   There was a passion for bonsai on every word from President Szabó. In Slovakia, which is far from Japan, I was impressed that there are people who love Japanese bonsai culture so sincerely that they not only grow them themselves, but are an important part of their lives and spread knowledge about them. I promised visit the National Bonsai Exhibition in Levoča in September.