Hungarian Summer School

Debrecen – The first Hungarian Summer School was organized in 1927 in Debrecen. The aim of the institution is to promote the Hungarian language and culture. This year they got two prizes for the well done job.

In April the Summer School was awarded the Pro Urbe prize by the City of Debrecen and in June the Hungarian Heritage prize by the Hungarian Heritage and Europe Association.

This year the traditional summer university was held from 22 of July till 18 of August. Károly Rózsa, the office manager of the Summer School, summarized the experiences of the eighty-year old summer course. 248 students participated in the language classes and programmes from 32 countries. Most of the students came from France, Italy, Finland and Austria to the 2- and 4-week courses.

Compared to the former years there were fewer participants because of the structure change. They used to organize an intensive course with eight hours per day for the latest two weeks. This was confusing for those who had gotten used to the Western European system where six hours language teaching per day is considered intensive. The course was held in a festive atmosphere. On the first weekend the Zsuzsi train with an original steamer took the summer school students to Hármashegyalja, where folk dancers and puppet shows entertained them. They could try the bow of the Hungarians and taste traditional Hungarian meals such as goulash. For the Saturday trips the buses were always full. The participants had a chance to meet the old herbalist man in the Bükk Mountains, and the folk professionals in Hortobágy, which is a part of the Hungarian Pusta. There were also trips to the nearest cities like Eger, Sárospatak, Nyíregyháza and Hajdúszoboszló. At the Tisza Lake they could even see the special bird species of the area from a closer distance.

There were many classical music concerts in close cooperation with the Summer Academy of the Young Musicians. Of course folk and pop music were not missing either and the Debrecen Dixieland Band also performed. The Cuba bar re-opened in the basement of the Nagyerdei II Student hostel and it was full during the evening programmes. The summer school students needed each others’ company. The evening programmes brought them together, and this way the Summer School became more familiar.

The cooking programmes were also a great success. They were always started with a shot of palinka, which created a good atmosphere. The vegetarians also joined the barbecue event just because they also wanted to experience the real “Hungarian barbecue”. Most of the participants were accommodated in the renewed university hostels and they appreciated the high quality in them. The wireless internet connection in the Kollégium Kávéház was also popular.

The students also had access to the University Library. They were given library cards with which they could use the internet and read books in the library.
For the jubilee the library made a surprise exhibition for the Summer School. Pictures, placards and certificates from the latest 80 years were on display. The spirit of the summer school is present also at the courses in Budapest and Sopron. Not only the organizers, but most of the teachers and the participants know each other from the classical summer course in Debrecen.