Almost a hundred students from more than thirty countries are coming to this year’s summer course at the Debrecen Summer University. Besides language learning, this year’s programme will also include many activities to promote Hungarian culture, and for the first time the Night of Poems will be organised.
All continents are represented at this year’s Summer University of Debrecen Summer Course, and participants will spend two to four weeks learning about Hungarian language and culture. The foreign students were welcomed by the Vice-Rector of the University of Debrecen at the opening ceremony.
“The more languages you speak, the more people you are. In this way, those who study Hungarian at the Summer University can be considered almost Hungarian after the course, and this is very good for us Hungarians, too” – said László Csernoch.
German, American, Australian and Asian students have arrived and will continue to arrive in the coming weeks, the youngest being 15 and the oldest 86.
“Compared to the previous years, we have seen an increase in the number of native English speakers, with an outstanding 20 applicants from America this year. We have ten native German speakers and 25 from Eastern Europe. What was also surprising for us was that there are a relatively large number of people who live and work in Hungary” – said Péter Szaffkó, Director of the Summer University of Debrecen, at the press conference held before the opening.
The Summer University is constantly seeking to build new relationships, and this year it is hosting a scholarship for a teacher from Mexico and India. Tempus scholarships will support 25 students, the University of Debrecen Faculty of Humanities will support four, a Hungarian association in Cleveland will support four, a Slovenian programme will support six, and a Rector’s scholarship will support one student to participate in the two-week and four-week programmes. The municipality of Debrecen is also supporting the studies of three participants from Toluca, a Mexican twin town.
“It is exemplary that the Summer University of Debrecen has given thousands of foreigners the opportunity to learn Hungarian language and culture over the past almost 100 years. I am sure that they bring a good reputation to the city and to the brand of the Summer University, which represents efficiency and high quality” – said István Puskás, Deputy Mayor for Culture, who was himself a Summer University teacher for several years twenty years ago.
The Faculty of Humanities of the University of Budapest also considers the education of foreign students in Hungarian and internationalisation as a top priority, Péter Csatár, Deputy Dean for Strategy and Economics, emphasised that they run many joint programmes with the Summer University.
“For the last seven years, we have been hosting Chinese students for bachelor and master studies, who continue their studies in Hungarian. The Summer University and its director, Péter Szaffkó, have played a major role in the establishment of the programme and we also work closely together on curriculum development. We are working on expanding our network of contacts, with further cooperation with Vietnam and Korea on the horizon” – The Deputy Dean explained.
Pál Csontos, Director of the DE Confucius Institute, representing the teachers of the Summer University, shared his expectations. After the language lessons, he will introduce folk and children’s songs, sayings and language games to the foreign audience.
As in previous years, the programme also includes a folklore evening, a night out on the town, a visit to the Jewish quarter, a tour of Zelemér and Pallag, and a beach trip. In addition, the organisers have announced a new Night of Poetry, where people will be able to play quizzes in memory of Sándor Petőfi, listen to and learn poems set to music, and perform Petőfi’s poems translated into their own mother tongue.
At Monday’s opening ceremony, Professor István Hoffmann, who was the head of studies at the Summer University in the 1990s and the author of the Hungarolingua textbook family, which offered language learners a new approach to teaching, was honoured on the occasion of his 70th birthday.