Our teacher of German language, prof. Ksenija Stojaković, MA, visited Hungary within the Erasmus teacher exchange programme. She had a memorable experience at the Eszterházy Károly Főiskola University in the town of Eger.
Based on my five-day experience in Hungary, I can only recommend applying for the Erasmus programme and other funds which co-finance these trips and enable teachers and students to give lectures, study or participate in other forms of cooperation. Moreover, exchange programmes broaden intercultural knowledge about the neighbouring nation and strengthen cooperation between higher education institutions.
In 2015 our University signed the cooperation agreement with the Eszterházy Károly Főiskola University from Eger, a Hungarian town situated 110 km north of Budapest. My journey to this town was adventurous – I had to take three trains and a bus due to an electrical fault caused by the storm on the Balaton Lake. Since the official staff spoke no other languages than Hungarian, they were not able to explain to passengers what had happened. A lady from Rovinj, who was also a passenger, was very helpful, since she spoke Hungarian, so she translated from Hungarian to Croatian to me, while I translated from Croatian to English to a lady from the USA. The tree of us communicated in three different languages and spent a pleasant journey together. This is the proof that mastering foreign languages is a very important skill and a real advantage.
The University has more than 2000 students on several faculties (Arts and Humanities, Economics, Philology, Politology). The lectures and practical courses are held in three campuses, three hotels and two cities. They foster collaboration with more than one hundred educational institutions from Europe and the Far East; mostly with Germany, Great Britain, Poland, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. There are more than fifty courses in English intended for exchange students.
I taught German language to the first and second year students of Tourism and Business Economics (full and part-time students) at the Faculty of Economics. They perceived Croatia mainly as a tourist destination, and were very cooperative. Some of them even offered to be my tourist guides for a short sightseeing tour. That was how I found out that Eger is famous for its excellent red wine, known as “The Bull’s Blood”. The two small museums are interesting to visit – the first one features exhibits made of marzipan, while the other is dedicated to the Beatles, since its owners are passionate fans and collectors of the Beatles memorabilia. However, the greatest hero of the town and the Hungarian nation is István Dobó, a baron after whom the main square at the foot of a beautiful fortress was named. In 1522, during the Siege of Eger, he defended the town with only 2100 soldiers and defeated 80000 Ottoman soldiers. The atmosphere in the town is calm and casual, unlike the streets of Zagreb, where there is a lot of hustle and bustle on weekdays. The inhabitants mainly work in tourism and automobile industry. With more than 20 hotels, as well as thermal and Turkish baths, the city is becoming increasingly popular with visitors from Germany, Poland and Russia, due to medical tourism.