Austrian and Polish students and lecturers studied the work of the Faculty of Early Childhood Education and Special Needs Education (GYGYK) at the University of Debrecen within the Erasmus+ BIP programme. During the one-week seminar, they learned about the theoretical and practical background of Hungarian curative, kindergarten and social pedagogy at the Faculty of Education and Social Pedagogy in Hajdúböszörmény and its partner institutions.

The At the Crossroads of Pedagogies programme brought together students from the host University of Debrecen, the John Paul II University of Krakow and the Private Pädagogische Hochschule Augustinum in Graz between 8 and 12 April. The 10 students from Hungary, 10 from Austria, 12 from Poland and 2 Polish lecturers were welcomed by Gábor Biczó, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Early Childhood and Special Needs Education, at the official opening of the seminar.

The BIP participants first leaned about the functioning of the educational institutions of Hajdúböszörmény. They visited the University of Debrecen's Teacher-training Kindergarten, then Kincskereső Kindergarten, where the vast majority of children come from disadvantaged Roma families. The Austrian students met German-speaking children at the Középkert Elementary School, while the Polish students had a chance to see the daily life of an English-Hungarian bilingual primary school.

Some of the future professionals are studying social work, which took them to a day-care centre, and they explored  GYGYK in small groups through a Campus Game.

Throughout the week, teachers from the Faculty of Early Childhood and Special Needs Education presented a snippet of their work to the group. There was an animal-assisted education session, a literary-art session, an educational workshop and a health promotion session. Elżbieta Lubińska-Kościółek, a lecturer at the partner university in Krakow, gave a presentation on the relationship between intellectual disability and art. On Friday, BIP participants also participated in the work of the International Conference on Special Needs as students or speakers. They worked through the professional programmes by solving creative tasks in the framework of World Café.

The BIP participants were welcomed by Attila Kiss, Mayor of Hajdúböszörmény. The students had the opportunity to admire and photograph Bocskai Square from the balcony of the Mayor's office, then they had a guided tour of the church life of Hajdúböszörmény, visiting the Reformed Church on Bocskai Square, the Greek Catholic Church and the synagogue, which is in need of renovation.

For the International Evening on Tuesday evening, the foreign students brought the culture, food, music and dances of Austria and Poland, and the Hungarian students , for their part, taught them the folk song "The Spring Wind Floods Water" and the basics of Hungarian folk dance. The Hungarian students and teachers prepared paprika potatoes for the group, after which the Student Local Government invited the BIP participants and the students of GYGYK to an Erasmus party that lasted until dawn.
During the week, many friendships were made and the participants' English language skills improved by leaps and bounds. The lives of both the BIP participants and the Hungarian teachers who implemented the programmes were enriched with life-changing experiences.

Press Centre-TB