More than 1,200 international students have been admitted to the University of Szeged this year. Students from more than 130 countries are currently studying at the university, making it a uniquely diverse student community. The Orientation Days programme series, organised by the Directorate for International Affairs and Public Relations of SZTE, helps newly arrived students to integrate.
An international cavalcade, similar to the opening ceremony of the Olympics, welcomed the international students admitted to the University of Szeged at the József Attila Study and Information Centre on 6 September 2023. Representatives from 130 different countries gathered to begin their higher education studies at Hungary’s most diverse university. As we reported earlier, this year's admissions broke decades-old records, with more than 10,000 new students, including 1,200 international, starting their studies at the University of Szeged. SZTE provides them all the help they need to settle in as quickly as possible and to find their place at the university and in the city. This is the aim of the so-called Orientation Days, which started on 6 September 2023.
Dr. Tamás Bene, director of the Directorate for International Affairs and Public Relations of SZTE, greeted the international students on the occasion of the Orientation Days in the congress hall of the József Attila Study and Information Centre of the University of Szeged.
In his welcome speech, Dr. Tamás Bene also spoke about Katalin Karikó and Albert Szent-Györgyi, Photo by: Dóra Molnár
- This year we have admitted more than 1,200 new international students, an increase of 20% compared to previous years, which is a huge success and a great pleasure for us. Almost a quarter of the current students at the University of Szeged come from abroad, from more than 130 countries. Our new citizens with their diverse backgrounds, cultures and problem-solving skills will further enrich the community of our university. The creativity they bring will help us to find new and innovative solutions to the challenges of our time," said Dr Tamás Bene.
At the orientation event, students could meet their mentors and could get information about student services. The service units of SZTE were also present at the event, including SZTE Alma Mater, SZTE Career Office, Foreign Language Centre, American Corner, Student Counselling and the Sport Centre. In addition, first-year students could learn about the EUGLOH and Coursera programmes, as well as the international student organisations ESN and ISUS. During the week, other programmes also helped newly arrived students to settle in: team-building games, information sessions, the Freshmen Oath, and the subsequent Freshmen Party in the JATE Club.
The event ended on 8 September with the international students taking the Freshmen Oath. Prof. Dr. Márta Széll, Vice-Rector for Strategic Planning of the University of Szeged, welcomed the students at Dugonics Square at 18:00.
Informative and fun programs at the Freshmen Orientation Days of SZTE
During the 3-day international freshmen orientation event of the University of Szeged, those interested could join informative presentations, take part in games and raffles, a photoshoot, a fun team-building afternoon, and the Freshmen Party.
The first day was dedicated to informative sessions, sharing valuable information on life in Hungary — and specifically in Szeged — including topics like student life, general safety, traffic regulations, cultural differences, and mental health, among others. Those students who couldn't attend the event in person could join the university's livestream on YouTube.
On the second orientation day, in the morning, students could get a deeper insight into the enrollment processes. American Corner, Confucius Institute, the SZTE Sports Center, and other service units of the University of Szeged introduced themselves at the Rector's Office. Students could meet and chat with the representatives of the service units and gain insight into language learning, sports and recreational possibilities, the EUGLOH network, and many more.
After a buffet lunch, those who registered upfront could take part in a fun team-building afternoon at the Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park, about an hour's drive away from Szeged. Ópusztaszer hosts the country's biggest outdoor maze, along with many exhibitions and thematical programs. The 3.5 km long hedge wall maze is the third largest in the world and its design is visible even on satellite images. The team building, considered the best program of the 3-day event by many students, also included outdoor games.
On Friday, the last day of the freshmen's orientation event, those interested could take part in a free photoshoot offered by the Alma Mater service unit of SZTE, as well as a treasure hunt in the city center of Szeged. The evening continued with the international freshmen's oath-taking ceremony in English, held in front of the Rector's Building at Dugonics Square. The event ended with a Freshmen Party at the newly reopened JATE Club.
The event was supported by the RRF-2.1.2-21-2022-00012 Complex Digital Transformation – Intelligent Gear Change project. The project is part of Hungary's Recovery and Resilience Plan.
Article written by: Ferenc Lévai
Translated by: R.F.K.
Pictures by: Dóra Molnár