The Summer University has Begun

Nearly 100 students have come from over 30 countries to attend the courses of the Debrecen Summer University. This year again, various programs will offer an insight into Hungarian culture, besides studying the Hungarian language. For the first time, the Night of Poems will be on the menu, too.

All continents will be represented at the courses of the Summer University this year. As usual, participants can spend two or three weeks studying Hungarian language and culture. The international students were greeted by the vice rector of UD as well at the opening ceremony.

- When you acquire a foreign language, you become another person. Thus, international students studying Hungarian at the Summer University can nearly be considered Hungarian people, and it suits us Hungarians, too.

Native speakers of German, as well as participants from the US, Australia and Asia have arrived and will continue to arrive in the coming weeks. The youngest and the oldest participants will be 15 and 86 years, respectively.

- Compared to the previous years, the number of applicants whose mother tongue is English has increased. In particular, 20 students represent the US. We have ten students whose mother tongue is German, while Eastern Europe is represented by 25 students. We were surprised to find out that many of them live and work in Hungary – explained Péter Szaffkó, director of the Debrecen Summer University at the press conference before the opening event.

The Summer University has sought to involve more countries in the program. In line with this approach, this year a Mexican and an Indian teacher will also be among the students, in the framework of the scholarship programs. The Tempus Foundation, the Faculty of Humanities of UD, a Cleveland-based Hungarian Organisation, a Slovenian program, a rector’s scholarship program support the participation of 25, 4,4, 6 and1 students, respectively, in the 2 or 4-week program. The municipality of Debrecen also assists 3 Mexican students who arrived from Toluca, a twin city of Debrecen.

- Over the last nearly 100 years, the Debrecen Summer University has offered a great opportunity for thousands of international students to become familiar with the Hungarian language and culture. In return, they praise us all around the world, spread the brand of the Summer University, a UD program that represents efficient and high-quality education – pointed out István Puskás, vice mayor for cultural issues, who used to teach at the Summer University for years, 20 years back.
Külföldi hallgatók magyar nyelvű képzését, illetve a nemzetköziesítést az egyetem Bölcsészettudományi Kara is kiemelt prioritásként kezeli, Csatár Péter stratégiai és gazdasági dékánhelyettes kiemelte, hogy sok közös programot működtetnek a Nyári Egyetemmel.

The Faculty of Humanities also considers the education of international students in Hungarian, as well internationalizing high-priority areas. Péter Csatár, vice dean for strategic and economic issues highlighted that the Faculty has overseen a number of programs jointly with the Summer University.

- In the last 7 years, Chinese students have also started their BA, MA or doctoral programs. The working language of the courses is Hungarian. The Summer University, and in particular Péter Szaffkó, played an important part in the preparation of the program. He is also involved in the development of the course content. We continuously seek to expand our contact network. Our negotiations with Vietnam and Korea are underway, explained vice dean Csatár.

On behalf of the teachers of the Summer University, Pál Csontos, Head of the Confucius Institute talked about the plans and expectations of SU. Following the language lessons, folk and children’s songs, playful and rhythmical short poems and language games will be taught to the foreign students.

In addition to attending classes, just like in previous years, the list of available programs includes folklore evenings, sightseeing at night, visiting the Jewish Quarters, Zelemér and Pallag, and having fun in the pool complex. This year, for the first time, the Night of Poems will be held, where participants can compete against one another by answering questions related to Attila József, listen to poems adapted to music and singing, and can recite poems by Petőfi in their own mother languages.

On the occasion of his 70th birthday, Professor István Hoffman was greeted at the opening ceremony on Monday. The 70-year-old professor was manager for academic affairs of the Summer University in the 1990’s, and author of the Hungarolingua language textbook family, which provided revolutionary and novel teaching materials for language learners.

Sajtóközpont - TH