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An increasing number of foreign students each year

2009.12.14

This is what the yearly higher education statistics of the Ministry of Education and Culture demonstrate. If we look at all the program types together, the number of foreign students has increased by 5 per cent on a yearly average during the past four years. In the 2008/2009 academic year, the total number of foreign students studying in Hungary was 16 916, while this number was only 14 491 in 2005/2006.

Mobility between programs was promoted by the introduction of the Bologna system as well as by the increasing number of scholarship opportunities in higher education, in accordance with EU objectives. It is mainly due to these incentives that the number of foreign students, arriving typically from the same 10-15 countries, has been slowly but gradually increasing in several higher education institutions of Hungary. In general, we may say that the majority of students arriving here enrol in one of the full time Bachelor or unified programs.

Where do they come from?

Three quarters of the students arriving to Hungary arrive from just ten countries, while one quarter of the students arrives from another 100 countries. Among the countries sending most students are Germany, Iran, Norway, Israel and Sweden, while the majority of guest students are citizens of the neighbouring countries. As one would presume, they are mainly Hungarians living beyond the frontiers who continue their studies here in the mother country. In 2008, similarly to the preceding years, most students came from Romania and Slovakia, while their proportion has somewhat decreased by now: 19 per cent of the students arrived from Romania this year, while this number was 22 per cent in 2006. 14 per cent of the guest students are citizens of Slovakia, and nearly 8 per cent come from both Serbia and Ukraine. Meanwhile, the number of students arriving from such remote places as China, Iran, Nigeria or Japan is continuously increasing. An increasing number of students come from Western European countries: Spanish, British and French students arrive in larger numbers.

What do they study?

In 2008, nearly 88 per cent of foreign students enrolled in full time programs. The majority of them study in unified programs, and a somewhat smaller proportion at Bachelor programs. Medical studies are the most popular among the unified programs. Most of the students of general medicine study at the courses of Semmelweis University (999 persons), but many are enrolled at the University of Debrecen (707 students), at the University of Pécs (768 persons) and at the University of Szeged (591 persons). Beside these, Dentistry, Pharmaceutics and Veterinary programs are also popular.

Among the Bachelor programs, ones in technology are the most popular. Most students have studied at programs of civil engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. Of the programs of informatics, the most popular one among foreign students is software engineering, while among economics programs, those in economics and management are chosen by most, and among health science programs, most foreign students attend those in nursing and patient care.

Where do they study?

Most foreign students study at the largest universities of Hungary. Among the institutions in Budapest, the ones receiving the largest number of foreign students are the already mentioned Semmelweis University, the Corvinus University of Budapest, and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Among higher education institutions in the countryside, most students study at the universities of Debrecen, Szeged and Pécs.

Foreign language programs are essential parts of the offering of higher education institutions, as the presence of these is not only a question of prestige but also secures considerable financial opportunities for an institution.

More detailed information about foreign language programs in Hungary is available on the For Foreigners site under Academic programs Search for Courses in Hungary.
Source used: Higher Education Statistics 2008. Ministry of Education and Culture.