The awards of the competition called "For the International Development of Higher Education 2014" were presented at the conference “Internationalization of Higher Education in Hungary”. Two units of the University of Szeged - the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged and the Klebelsberg Library of the University of Szeged – were also recognized for their work and program performed for foreign students.
The University of Szeged received two awards at the Budapest conference that was organized on 14th of January 2015 as the closing event of the Campus Hungary project of the Tempus Public Foundation on the internationalization of higher education in Hungary. Staff members of the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged and the Klebelsberg Library of the University of Szeged competed and won with good practices in liaising with foreign students, which can also be useful for others.
Foreign Students’ Support Service at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged
The award for good practices employed at the Dean’s Office at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged was received by Ágnes Zádori-Nagy, Administration Expert and Foreign Students’ Support Assistant of the Dean’s Office at the Faculty of Dentistry and Réka Bozsó, Head of the Secretariat of the Faculty of Dentistry. The project carried out with their participation was managed by Professor Katalin Nagy, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged. “We participated, together with Réka Bozsó, in the intercultural sensitization training of Tempus Public Foundation. A call for applications was sent by them later, looking for good practices in this topic,” said Ágnes Zádori-Nagy. The Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged already had something to rely on: the Foreign Students’ Support Service was founded in 2014; students can turn to Ágnes Zádori-Nagy with all their complaints, problems and concerns - except for questions concerning academic matters.
The foreign students studying here call Ágnes Zádori-Nagy almost every day: either a locksmith is needed for a broken lock late at night, or she is turned to because someone is about to break down at the end of the exam season and they are in need of some friendly words.
“It is important to emphasize that this service does not address academic matters. This task is performed by the Education Centre for International Students at the University of Szeged. We help them in everyday life, in managing their matters, etc. Most of the newcomers face a culture shock: they get into a completely different country, a new environment where the customs are different and communication difficulties may arise in a variety of situations,” explained Ágnes Zádori-Nagy.
The Self-Organization of Students and Conversation with the Dean
“The service now bearing the name ‘Foreign Students’ Support System’ was created by the needs of students,” emphasized the assistant. Some of the foreign students were motivated to set up a student council representing foreign students. The student council has not yet been established, but the Dental International Students in Szeged group has been formed. They meet every two weeks, and want to institutionalize the group.”
The Semester Overview, which has been established and functioning at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged for years, was also included in the application submitted by the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged: 2-3 students for each grade attend a conversation with the dean, where students may give their observations, requests, and experience. They are summarized in the Dean’s Office, and the necessary changes are made.
The staff members of the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged presented these good practices in their application and in a presentation during the awards ceremony in Budapest on Wednesday. They received the second prize in the category of services provided to students.
Our University Library for Internationalization
The runner-up of the International Higher Education Marketing category of the competition called “For the International Development of Higher Education 2014” is the Klebelsberg Library of the University of Szeged. Three staff members of the university library - Erika Csengődi, Edit Sümeginé Lehotai and Eszter Szabó Gilinger - also participated in the intercultural sensitization training of the Tempus Public Foundation.
“It is no secret that the training prompted us to think about what and how we do things for the sake of internationalization, and how and with what we serve the foreign students and teachers,” said Eszter Szabó Gilinger, librarian and Communications Specialist. “We considered the things that can be regarded as good practice at our workplace. We pulled together and fitted everything that is available in the library and complemented and completed it when it was necessary. This led to a strategy, which also summarized what else should be done in the international arena and what deficiencies should be eliminated.”
The PR group of the library already began to redesign its strategy during the training to offer attractively high quality library services for foreign students as well. The knowledge gained in the training was put into practice; some of the ideas collected there were adopted and implemented.
The aim of the project ‘Operation Klebelsberg Strategic Internationalization in the Klebelsberg Library of the University of Szeged’ is coordinated, purposeful, and global communication on internationalization. Eszter Szabó Gilinger added that the award motivated them more to pay more attention to internationalization. The different institutional units can do a lot for enhancing the good reputation of the University of Szeged, and they want to lead the way in this.
Conference for Students from Other Countries
During the conference held in Budapest, the participants were given an overview of the results of the Campus Hungary program supporting institutional development in addition to the introduction of the service and quality development for the internationalization of national higher education.
The competitiveness of Hungarian higher education, the different higher education databases, and the research related to them, the international strategies of universities among other things were discussed at the conference. The speakers stressed that in the international arena, the strengths and individual features of institutions had to be emphasized, while at home, we must strive to ensure that students from other countries learning in Hungary were involved in the processes.
The methodology book entitled “Internationalization of Higher Education in Hungary” was presented in the conference, which was published for international leaders and coordinators of higher education institutions. At the closure of the program, the participants could listen to a roundtable discussion with the representatives of the institutions involved in the audit.
SZTEinfo, Dr. Apjokné Mécs Erzsébet
Photos: Faculty of Dentistry, University of Szeged, Klebelsberg Library of the University of Szeged