SZE launches Hungarian club for international students

Széchenyi István University attaches great importance to providing its growing international student community not only with high quality education, but also with interesting programmes. The institution has therefore launched a Hungarian Club, with the aim of bringing Hungarian language and culture closer to the participants.

The hall was packed at the first event of the Hungarian Club for international students organised by Széchenyi István University. The 40 or so students represented all continents, showing the increasingly diverse community of the institution: Europe (Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary), Asia (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, India, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, China, Laos), Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Angola, Algeria, Tunisia, Cape Verde) and the Americas (Mexico, Panama, Brazil).

One of the participants was Syrian Mahmoud Ali, who since September has been studying for a Master's degree in Automotive Engineering at the University, with the support of the Stipendium Hungaricum Higher Education Scholarship Programme. "I am happy to study here. I particularly like the practice-oriented education and the close cooperation between Audi Hungaria Győr and the University. The city is peaceful and has an incredibly beautiful natural environment with the rivers and trees. Moreover, everyone was very welcoming to us," he said, adding that he had applied for the programme primarily to make new friends and to improve his Hungarian language skills.

His colleague Zaid Mursi from Jordan came with the same aim. "I'm interested in Hungarian culture, history and how this country and society became as good as it is now," he explained, noting that Győr is very beautiful and the people are very nice to each other.

As Dr Emese Bukor, the initiator of the event and coordinator of the Hungarian as a Foreign Language course at Széchenyi István University, said, the institution considers it extremely important not only to provide European-standard training and an environment for the almost 800 international students, but also to familiarise them with Hungarian culture. The new initiative, which was an immediate success, also helps to achieve this goal.

The expert explained that the aim was to bring Hungarian culture, history and customs closer to international students in an informal way. The first game, "What do you know about Hungary?", was a 20-question quiz. Teams and individual participants had to answer the questions correctly as quickly as possible using an online application. The winner was the team called "Winners", which included students from Syria, Tunisia and Palestine. The runners-up were a mixed team of Mexican, German and Czech Stipendium Hungaricum and Erasmus scholarship students. The third-place team, called "Lángos", consisted of three Laotian and one Kazakh student. In a tie for fourth place was a team of students from Cape Verde, Mongolia, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan, and an individual competing student from Brazil.  A special prize was awarded to Mahmoud Ali for his work so far this semester as a student assistant in three initiatives (Hungarian language mentoring system, Hungarian film club, Hungarian club), assisting with administrative, organisational and graphic design tasks. The awards were presented by Adél Kiviharju-Turi, Head of the Centre for Foreign Language Education at the University.

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The winning team

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The team in second place

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The team in third place

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The team in fourth place

Afterwards, the students were able to practice their Hungarian reading comprehension combined with math skills by solving a fun math problem with a text, set by Hungarian language teacher Zita Margit Kis. In addition, three other educational games were played online using an online application - two about famous Hungarian inventions and their inventors, and one about the Hungarian language and culture - created by Dr Bukor. Hungarian teachers Andrea Szemán-Deme and Erika Felhőfalvy created cards for a modified version of the well-known Activity board game, using vocabulary from Hungarian lessons. There was also a Scrabble word puzzle, where the bigger challenge was of course the Hungarian version, but it was also possible to play with English letters. During the excitement, a buffet of typical Hungarian delicacies awaited the students.

Dr Bukor added that they plan to continue the Hungarian Club with a variety of programmes in the future. This semester, for example, they are planning an excursion to the Danube Bend, a scenic region of Hungary.

Photos by Mario Rasulov, Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship student, Tajikistan

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