Erasmus at Széchenyi University: a German girl's adventure in Győr

Every semester, Széchenyi István University welcomes dozens of international students under the Erasmus+ programme. Katharina Schmidt, a Master's student, came to Győr with the mobility application and returned home to Germany with a wealth of experiences after a busy spring semester. The young girl, who is studying to become a packaging technology engineer, considers the vibrant student life to be the greatest strength of the Győr university, alongside the progressive teaching practices of the institution.

Thanks to the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility scheme, funded by the European Union, tens of thousands of students can travel between universities around the world in a special exchange programme. Higher education institutions joining the initiative can send and receive young people from partner institutions. In our last article, Dóra Schlögl, an architecture student at Széchenyi István University, took us to Thailand, but this time we look at things from the opposite direction: how does a young Western European visitor see Győr University?


 Katharina (centre) spent the spring semester of the 2021-2022 academic year at Széchenyi István University.

Katharina (centre) spent the spring semester of the 2021-2022 academic year at Széchenyi István University.


"I always wanted to spend a semester abroad during my Master's degree. My university coordinator suggested that I look into opportunities in Hungary. A Hungarian friend I studied with in Berlin convinced me to come here, I would really enjoy it. I said to myself: why not?" - Katharina Schmidt, a German girl studying in Berlin who soon discovered she had many ties to Hungary, recalled her early days. 

"I grew up in a small village near Cottbus, so my parents are from the former GDR. We went on holiday a few times to Lake Balaton, I was also on holiday in Budapest. As a German, Hungary is a very special place for me, as we are very close culturally in Central Europe," she said.




Katharina is studying for a master's degree in packaging engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. As she says, as long as mankind is producing, packaging will be needed, so she won't be out of work for the foreseeable future.  

"As it's related to my profession, I was pleased to see that the university has a well-equipped, ultra-modern packaging laboratory, which we visited once. It is very useful for researchers and students to work with such state-of-the-art technology, and it has inspired me professionally." - noted the student, who also talked about how interesting it was to experience an educational system different from her own.

"It was in Győr that for the first time I came across the system of the pre-offered mark. We don't have that at home," Katharina began. "It was strange for me that at the Széchenyi University all my subjects ended with an assignment or a presentation and I didn't have any exams. This is very rare here in Germany, especially in technical education. I liked this practical approach, because in many cases it is more realistic, and it allows you to enjoy life while studying," she said, adding that her favourite subject was Hungarian language and culture, which gave her a good insight into the country's gastronomy, history and famous personalities.


The six-month adventure in Győr included a trip to Transylvania. 

The six-month adventure in Győr included a trip to Transylvania.


The Erasmus programme not only gives students a taste of a foreign culture, it also gives them contacts and - most importantly - experiences. This was no different for Katharina.

"The international community is very vibrant at Széchenyi István University, and I have made many friends here. A huge advantage is that the dormitory is located on campus, right next to the main building. There is also a student bar and a student club nearby. I went down to the Bridge for a cookout once and it was a great atmosphere! I went to the concerts every night at SZEN, I only missed the last one because I got sick." - she said enthusiastically, noting that her home university in Berlin has no student club, so many people, including herself, don't attend because of the dispersed nature of the events.

 Győr is an ideal base for any kind of travel, as it is close to Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and the Adriatic Sea.

Győr is an ideal base for any kind of travel, as it is close to Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and the Adriatic Sea.


Finally, we asked our interviewee about Hungarians, and she said that she felt at home in Győr because of the German-speaking locals.

"My coordinator warned me, you might speak more German in Hungary than English. I told her: but that's not the purpose of the exchange programme," she laughed.

"Of course I know, Austria is nearby, many people speak German. Sometimes we asked for help in English and the guy said it would be more comfortable in German. Kein problem! "- she revealed again.



In closing, she said that although she plans to spend her future in Germany, she would not turn down an opportunity in Hungary if fate would have it.

"If Audi offers me a position as an expert, why not? I love Győr, it's nice to live here. You never know what's going to happen, so it's in the cards for me to come back here," she said.

H-9026 Győr, Egyetem tér 1. 


(Administration Building 103.)

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