Swiss citizen finds way to Missouri Southern

Michel Molnar, a language specialist in the Swiss military, is studying criminal justice at Southern.

Julie Lybarger

Michel Molnar, a language specialist in the Swiss military, is studying criminal justice at Southern.

Rita Forbes

Of Hungarian descent, Swiss citizen Michel Molnar has been studying in the United Kingdom since 2006 and can currently be found on the Missouri Southern campus.

Molnar is a language specialist in the Swiss military. With training in translation and eavesdropping, his duties have included accompanying foreign personalities during visits to Switzerland.

He can speak eight languages: English, German, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Spanish, Latin, and Hebrew. During his military training, he would begin studying at 6 a.m. and continue until 8 p.m.

“It’s not hard to learn when you have corporal punishment,” Molnar said, explaining that if he failed to remember a concept or made a mistake, he was required to do 50 push ups. A friend was once forced to sleep in a gas mask.

“They could be very, very, very creative,” he said.

Molnar decided to spend a semester at MSSU because he wanted more practical, hands-on training in the field of criminal investigation. The University of Central Lancashire, where Molnar will receive his degree, offers a very directed program with a great deal of theoretical knowledge, but he wanted to round out his education.

“The program in England is very equivalent to ours, but ours is hands-on and theirs is knowledge-based,” said Greg Dagnan, assistant professor of criminal justice, who is instructing Molnar in two classes this semester.

Dagnan said Molnar is well prepared for MSSU’s criminal justice classes and is enjoying the opportunity to put the knowledge he has gained from his previous studies into use at MSSU. While Molnar knew the exact composition of a certain chemical, for example, he had never seen it in use before coming to MSSU.

Molnar also appreciates the wide range of classes available at MSSU.

“You can go much deeper into specifice areas,” he said.

He is taking a class called “Child Exploitation and Child Pornography” this semester.

“There are about 15 courses here that you would never find in the U.K.,” Molnar said. “It gives you a broad understanding of criminal justice.”

Besides an understanding of criminal justice, Molnar also hopes to come to an understanding of the USA.

“He is very much a student of American culture,” Dagnan said. “He is trying to pick the brains of students here, to get tidbits about American culture. Our students have learned about his culture too.”

Molnar has only good things to say about both MSSU and Joplin.

“I love it here; it’s cool,” he said. “Joplin is kind of laid-back and small, but in a funny way, it starts to grow on you.”