Continuing the already existing joint training programs, introducing student and teacher exchanges, offering double degree programs and initiating curriculum development are just a sample of the issues discussed at the meeting last Friday when a delegation from Beijing University of International Studies (BISU) was received by the representatives of the Rector’s Office of the University of Debrecen and the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Humanities.

The history of the relationship between these two institutions dates back to as early as 2015, when Beijing International Studies University launched a seven-year program in which 20 students started to complete courses mediated first in Chinese and then in Hungarian, in the framework of which they first learned Hungarian as high-school students in Beijing for three years, and later continued their university studies at the University of Debrecen (UD). At the end of this program, the first 12 graduates received their Hungarian diplomas in 2022.

The Chinese delegation, which was led by BISU President Ji Jinbiao, was first and welcomed by Károly Pető, Vice-Rector for General Affairs of the University of Debrecen, after an introductory guided tour of the Main Building.

As the Vice-Rector said in his welcome speech, our institution has always been committed to nurturing and expanding international educational relations, which could be best demonstrated by the high number of international students enrolled here, which recently exceeded seven thousand.

“At present, almost 400 Chinese students go to the University of Debrecen, most of whom are affiliated with the Faculty of Economics, the Faculty of Information Technology and the Faculty of Humanities. Currently, as many as 16 Chinese sophomores pursue their studies in Hungarian at the latter of these faculties with the objective of obtaining a Hungarian BA degree, for which they are expected to complete the requirements by the end of this academic year,” said the Vice-Rector.

Through the presentation delivered by Ms. Okszána Kiszil, Head of the Rector-Chancellery Cabinet and the Coordination and Strategy Directorate of the University of Debrecen, the visitors could learn about the training programs as well as the research and academic accomplishments of our institution, including its international and industrial relations, while they could also gain insight into the leisure and sports activities of the UD students.

“Based on our experience so far and on the knowledge we have gained now, we can promise to do our best to further promote the educational offerings available in European countries, including Hungary, to Chinese students, focusing primarily on the effort that our young compatriots should choose the University of Debrecen as the location of their study abroad,” said Ji Jinbiao, President of BISU, at the meeting.

During the course of the discussions, it was agreed that the educational program started in 2015 at the Faculty of Humanities (BTK) of the University of Debrecen (UD) would continue, in addition to which it was also stated that, in the future, a system of bilateral teacher-student exchanges and the possibility of obtaining a double degree would be established, while negotiations would also begin on how to involve as many faculties of UD as possible in the joint training cooperation of the two institutions.

The delegation of Beijing International Studies University, which included the President, the Director of the Organization and Personnel Unit of Beijing University of International Studies, the Director of the Office of International Exchange and Cooperation, the Dean of the Faculty of European Studies and the Director of the Centre for Academic Administration, then also held talks with representatives of the Faculty of Humanities.

The aim of this meeting with the representatives of the Faculty of Humanities was to review the results and achievements of the joint training program in which BISU students participate in Hungarian undergraduate (BA) training.

“The success of the program is indicated not only by the high proportion of graduates but also by the fact that quite a few Chinese students decide to study further at our university in order to obtain a master's degree,” Péter Csatár informed the portal

The Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Humanities said that the contract ending this year would be reviewed and filled with new content by the two institutions so that the education of Chinese students in the field of Hungarian language and culture could smoothly continue.

The meeting was also attended by other representatives of the University of Debrecen, including Edit Dobi, Academic Coordinator of the Hungarian language education of Chinese students, Pál Csontos, the Hungarian Director of the Confucius Institute at UD and Péter Szaffkó, Director of Debrecen Summer School.

A special feature of the negotiations at this meeting was that two Chinese students studying here as Hungarian majors helped out and actively participated in the Chinese-Hungarian and Hungarian-Chinese interpretation, thus demonstrating their recently acquired communicative and language skills.

The Confucius Institute of the Faculty of Humanities started operating at the University of Debrecen almost four years ago, in the autumn of 2019. Its main activity is the teaching of the Mandarin Chinese language as well as the introduction and popularization of Chinese culture among the citizens of our city and the university as well as among the people living in the broader region around the county seat.

“Our courses – in which not only Hungarian but also international students of our university work hard to learn the basics of Mandarin Chinese – are fully booked, while there is also considerable interest on the part of the students in the so-called intellectual modules, such as Lectures on Chinese Culture, Chinese Movie Nights and Traditional Chinese Medicine, which we offer to present certain slices of ancient and contemporary Chinese culture,” said Pál Csontos, Hungarian Director of the Confucius Institute at BTK.

The visit of the Chinese delegation from Beijing University of International Studies was concluded with an informal afternoon event to meet and consult with Chinese students currently enrolled here at the University of Debrecen.

Press Center – BZs