Széchenyi István University hosts American Fulbright scholarship holders

More than twenty American Fulbright scholars – lecturers and researchers – visited the campus of Széchenyi István University, Győr, learning the significant progress the institution has made in recent years. Among them was a member of the Széchenyi family, Bence Széchenyi from New York.

Fulbright is one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world, currently operating in 155 countries, including Hungary. It was founded by US Senator J. William Fulbright with the support of the US Department of State, governments of partner countries and the private sector. Its basic aim is to promote mutual understanding between states and to provide opportunities for academic research and exchange of ideas.

Within the framework of the scheme, this semester, more than twenty US academics and researchers are resident at Hungarian universities. Organized by the Hungarian-American Fulbright Foundation, they visited the Győr campus of Széchenyi István University, where Dr Eszter Lukács, Vice-Rector for International Affairs, gave them an overview of Győr and the institution.

"Győr is like a bird, one wing of which is industry and the other culture," she said, describing the city with a vivid simile. She highlighted the fact that the University has established a very close partnership with the Audi company, which employs 12,000 people and operates the world's largest engine factory in the county seat of Győr-Moson-Sopron. She pointed out that the city is close to the Austrian, Hungarian and Slovakian capitals and that from Vienna airport destinations all over the world are accessible. In addition, there is also an airport in Pér, near Győr.

American_Fulbright_scholarship_holdersDr Eszter Lukács, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at Széchenyi István University (photo: József Csaba Májer)

Dr Eszter Lukács explained that Széchenyi István University has undergone significant development in recent years. This is evidenced by the fact that in this year's QS World University Rankings, one of the two major global higher education rankings organisations, it was ranked 801-1000th, while in the Central and Eastern European regional rankings, it achieved position 173. The University is also included in the Times Higher Education rankings list, which evaluates the world's higher education institutions on the basis of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The institution now has a student community composed of young people from 65 countries.

This was confirmed by Adam Kovach, professor of philosophy at Marymount University in the US, who is based at Széchenyi University for six months on a Fulbright scholarship, in this way supporting the University's internationalisation efforts. He chose Győr because from the US perspective it is a very exciting region. He said that he teaches philosophy courses in English on the BA International Relations programme at the Apáczai Csere János Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences as well as on the Architecture programme in the Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Transport Sciences. About half of the students in the former, and the vast majority in the latter, come from overseas, e.g. Mongolia, Laos, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Ecuador.

American_Fulbright_scholarship_holdersThe American guests were very impressed by the Győr campus and the University also organised a visit to the Audi factory. In addition, they took part in a sightseeing tour of the city. (Photo: József Csaba Májer)

Among the American guests was Bence Széchenyi from New York, a member of the Széchenyi family. "It's a wonderful feeling to be at a university that recognises and does so much to continue my family's legacy," he said. Until September, he was working in the financial sector in the US metropolis but he is now studying the life and works of István Széchenyi on a Fulbright scholarship at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, under the mentorship of historian Tibor Frank. His goal is to write a book on the subject.

"Hungary is an amazing place. It's my first time in Győr, but I really like the city, and Széchenyi University is very beautiful and modern." he concluded.

American_Fulbright_scholarship_holdersBence Széchenyi with the statue of Széchenyi István at the University of Győr. (Photo: József Csaba Májer)


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