What kind of place is the Szent Istvan University?
Szent Istvan University (SZIU) is one of the five most famous universities in Hungary. Their exchange student program is very organized and systemic. Most exchange students are studying in SZIU through the Erasmus program which is not school to school exchanges but country to country exchanges in Europe. To be an Erasmus exchange student, people must pass the Erasmus exam. If you pass this requirement to be an exchange student, then you can receive a scholarship from Erasmus program. Thanks to the geographical advantage of Hungary, which is located in the center of Europe, it has low prices; Hungary is one of the most popular countries for students who are preparing for exchange student programs in Europe. SZIU runs its own curriculum for 50 exchange students each semester. All lectures are given in English and there are at least 5 students at every lecture in a seminar style.
Where are you living now?
I’m in the school dormitory now. Szent Istvan University has a few campuses in Hungary. The Godollo local campus that I am living in is the largest campus and has many departments. The dormitory is divided into five buildings from A to F and most of the exchange students are now living here. Godollo is similar to Ilsan from Seoul in that it is about 30 minutes from Budapest. I am very satisfied with the fresh air and the place is perfect to take a break. Because Godollo is so close to Budapest I can enjoy the cultural benefits from there.
What are the advantages of Szent Istvan University?
I can say with confidence that Szent Istvan is the perfect place for exchange students. I can walk about freely. Because all of the lectures are small, the participation rate is high and lectures are great in the seminars. Also, there are no credit limits for exchange students. Of course, all of the exchange students do not have the same majors. But, because all of us are gathered so close together this brings us all together. Because all of my friends share different cultures and languages I can accumulate so much experience naturally by getting along with them.
What are disadvantages of Szent Istvan University?
It is easy to meet other exchange students, but due to these advantages we have had little chance to meet students from Hungary. Although I am studying in Hungary I have had little chance to interact with the Hungarian students so I have only made relationships with other foreigners. Of course, this problem can be solved by taking part in extramural activities, but these are limited. I think the university needs to make more systems where we can all exchange with Hungarian students easily.
How about the costs of going there?
I am content with my school support. The school expenses and boarding expenses are covered by this, so I pay only my school expenses from Korea. Because the prices in Hungary are similar to that of Korea, I am living without further burden from the cost of living, but I do envy the other students who study with total scholarships. Still I think this university has ideal conditions when compared with others.
How did you prepare to be an exchange student from Korea?
Like all other students, I had a hard time preparing for my TOEFL. The four parts which included reading, writing, speaking and listening are essential and because the questions were very academic this made it difficult to prepare for the exam. I did not apply for the primary examination because I was not satisfied with my TOEFL scores and the cost. Fortunately I did much better later on.
Most students still prefer to go America as exchange students, but Dongguk University has indeed expanded its agreements with Universities in Europe. I am perfectly content to be staying in this country. Europe is so intricately connected; it is like a giant spider web. I would like to say to my fellow students “Do not see this country as it stands alone, but look at it as a doorway to the whole Europe” Students who are here as exchange students can obtain useful and various experiences, and make relationships with friends from many countries. Moreover, you can travel around all Europe spending very little. If you would like to gain greater knowledge of the world, than you should seize this opportunity.
Kim Jong-ha firstname.lastname@example.org
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