This week we wanted you to meet one of our amazing student athletes here at Pamplin, Norbert Szabo!

Norbert started school at Tech back in 2016 for the opportunities which allowed him to pursue both his swimming career and academic career. He stated it’s much more difficult, if not impossible, to get a degree at a well-known university in Hungary, while also maintaining a successful athletic career. Norbert first heard of Virginia Tech by a recruiting coach back in 2015 and determined it would be a great fit for him to strive as a D1 athlete and train for the Olympics while also getting an education, in which he ended up finding a passion in HTM.

Norbert’s Experience Studying at Pamplin:

While coming to Tech undecided on a major, one of Norberts main goals was to get into Pamplin, in which many advisors and professors helped him succeed.

One of the biggest roadblocks Norbert faced was the culture and language barrier, stating he had to put in more hours of work in some of the basic 1000 level classes, while also adjusting to both the new curriculum and adapting to the language.

HTM students are also required to complete 300 hours of HTM experience outside of the classroom before completing another 100 hours. This was difficult to manage while being an athlete, however the networking and future employment options that arose out of the experience and resources from Pamplin and the HTM department have proven to help him progress in his professional career.

Despite the many hours and obstacles however, Norbert states that he is “grateful for all of the people that helped him succeed including the faculty, advisors, professors, his teammates and coaches.”

Tips for Pamplin Students:

  • Utilize the resources that Pamplin has with future employment options as there are tons of opportunities available through your department.
  • Have a solid group of peers as Norberts teammates, advisors and classmates made the transition from Hungary to the U.S. easier than if done alone.

Norbert’s Plans Post Graduation

While Norbert has a few different options, he is currently continuing to train in hopes of achieving his goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics for Team Hungary. In the meantime however, he is also seeking out jobs for a manager in training position in the HTM industry and would love to pursue a career in HTM at some point down the road, as reflected from his father who is a chef in Hungary. 

Written by Ashley Battle

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