A two-day conference was organised by the Directorate of International Relations together with student associations to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme. The exchange programme was launched in 1987 with the aim of enabling students to experience different cultures, educational systems and methodologies. Semmelweis University joined the initiative 20 years ago and now an average of 150 students per year spend a semester in an another European country and an equal number of foreign students come to study here as well.
The conference was held in the Theoretical Building at Nagyvárad tér as part of a series of Hungarian and European events. On behalf of Dr. Ágoston Szél, Rector the audience was greeted by Dr. György Bagdy, Vice-Rector for Scientific Affairs.
“Since its start the Erasmus programme has provided an opportunity for 3.5 million students to gain international experience, which nowadays is inevitable to meet the requirements of the labour market. Semmelweis University has always considered fostering and expanding its international relations of utmost importance, therefore there is a wide range of exchange programmes to choose from. We are committed to further support student and staff mobility.”, Dr. György Bagdy said.
The opening speech was followed by the presentations of Szabolcs Bokodi, Director of Higher Education at the Tempus Public Foundation and Dr. Marcel Pop, Director of International Relations at Semmelweis University. Dr. Marcel Pop gave a quick review of Semmelweis University’s strategy of internationalisation and presented the mobility programmes in a broader context. The student associations were also introduced and teachers also spoke about the advantages of international mobility.
On the second day of the event Katalin F. Tóth, Erasmus coordinator of the university talked about the most important elements of the mobility programme. Her presentation was followed by a round table discussion including Dr. Miklós Molnár, Dr. Zsuzsanna Tóth, Dr. Péter Tétényi, Dr. Sándor Hollós, Dr. Marcel Pop, Dr. Eszter Borján, the representatives of the student associations and some members of the Erasmus Alumni.
According to Dr. Marcel Pop, the main message of the lectures was that students should go abroad to explore and gather information, but they should also come back.
“The event was about internationalisation and its implications for the higher education institution. The university should provide students with opportunities that will enable them to gain globally recognised competences, experience and knowledge that are must haves on the labour market. The Erasmus programme at Semmelweis University is very successful due to the fact that the university had already had 10 years of experience in running the English and German programmes when the European mobility programme was launched 20 years ago.”, Dr. Marcel Pop said.
Based on the presentation of Katalin F. Tóth currently there are 150 Hungarian students spending the fall semester abroad and the same number of foreign students are studying at the English or German language courses of the Faculties of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Health Sciences with the help of the Erasmus programme.
“In the past few years the number of incoming students and staff has increased considerably, as high quality English and German education are rarely available. Semmelweis University has signed bilateral agreements with more than 80 universities. Besides the mobility programme designed for a semester there are shorter mobilities which also promote experience and knowledge exchange.”, Katalin F. Tóth said.
The round table discussion lead by Dr. Sándor Hollós, college professor was an outstanding opportunity for students and staff to talk about the administrative and educational challenges and opportunities of the Erasmus+ programme. The great hall of the Theoretical Building at Nagyvárad tér hosted the booths of the Tempus Public Foundation, the Erasmus Programme Office, and others where the representatives of student associations and students who had participated in the programme gave information on the programme.
The event also included the award ceremony of the photo competition organised by Szinapszis, the Budapest Medical Students’ Association, Semmelweis University’s Student’ Union, the Hungarian Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (HUPSA) and the ERASMUS Student Network (ESN). Students who have participated in different mobility programmes or earned scholarships abroad could submit their photos taken during their stay. First place was won by Carlos Molina’s photo taken in Krakow, a shared second place went to the photo of Fanni Lukács taken in Orvieto, Italy and the photo of László Márton Fazekas taken in Nepal. The third place was also shared by a photo from Turkey taken by Mária Pónácz, a photo of Zsófia Jokkel taken in Italy and a photo of Neha Shirsalkar taken in England. The photos are available on the Facebook page of Szinapszis.
Further information on the Erasmus programme and other mobility programmes are available on the website of the ERASMUS Office.
Photo: Attila Kovács, Semmelweis University
Translation: Ágnes Raubinek