The first occasion was on 19 June, where the Hungarian delegation took part in a networking event, organized by the Study in Europe project. The event was opened by H.E. Maria Castillo Fernandez, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea. Her excellency highlighted that European higher education professionals have an idea about what Korean students and educators want but these events play a vital role in understanding what they actually need. The welcome speech was followed by multiple presentations introducing the framework of Korean and European higher education and exchange opportunities. After the presentations, within an exciting panel discussion involving both higher education professionals and exchange students we gained insight into the similarities and differences between the EU and Korea.
The kick of event was followed by a one-day-long education fair, which provided a chance for Korean students to meet the representatives of 34 institutions from 14 countries. We can proudly say that the Hungarian delegation was among the largest, as five Hungarian higher education institutions – Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Corvinus University Budapest, Eötvös Loránd University, John Von Neumann University, and the University of Szeged - were represented next to the Study in Hungary booth. Participants could obtain information about Hungarian higher education, available study programmes and scholarship opportunities. Within a country presentation they even received first-hand experience about the culture and everyday life at Hungary.
On 21 June the delegation took part in the III. Korean-Hungarian Higher Education Conference organised by the Tempus Public Foundation and the Liszt Institute – Hungarian Cultural Centre in Seoul. The UNESCO headquarters building, which combined modern Korean architecture and Hungarian culture, provided a perfect venue for the event. The participants were welcomed by H.E. Dr István Szerdahelyi, Ambassador of Hungary to the Republic of Korea. His excellency pointed out that Korea and Hungary have long-standing diplomatic ties and each year becoming more important partners in many aspects. This year the theme of the Conference was to promote student mobility and enhance cooperation between Hungarian and Korean public and higher education institutions. We aimed to provide a platform to share views on key issues in higher education and contribute to raising student mobility, especially in the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme – which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Last but not least, the Study in Hungary team hosted a meeting for Korean alumni where participants had the chance to get to know the Alumni Network Hungary, its benefits and special services. On the other hand, we had the chance to listen to Dr Kim Bogook, research professor at Sungkyunkwan University and staff member of the Hungarian National Archives, who gave a presentation on his work and previous studies in Hungary. The event also included a special concert performance by Nuevo Kon, a Korean violinist playing Hungarian melodies.
At the end of the programme, guests were invited to share their memories of Hungary at an informal reception. The event made it possible for our alumni members to reflect on their time in Hungary, reminisce about their memorise and share their experiences with each other.
The mission provided a great opportunity for facilitating educational cooperation between the two countries. We can conclude that higher education is key when developing interstate relations. This is especially true in the case Korea. Studying abroad is not just a simple success story, but a must have experience. Hence, we need to change the mindset of the new generations and provide them more opportunities to discover what Hungary has to offer.