The Bilingual.hu Program’s first International Student Exchange Program has been a success. Our partner school from the Netherlands treats bilingual education and international relationships as a top priority. They have years of experience in both areas and have received exchange groups from all over the world; in the current school year alone they have run exchange programs with schools in Spain, China and, of course, with Bilingual.hu in Hungary. Our participating students in this first round were a group comprised of current eighth graders from Krúdy Gyula Angol-Magyar Két Tanítási Nyelvű and Óbudai Nagy László Magyar-Angol Két Tanítási Nyelvű Primary Schools. These schools also acted as host institutions for the exchange program.
The participating class over the course of this two-week program (one week in Hungary and one week in Holland) was a Dutch-English bilingual group; our mutual goal was to get to know each other’s cultures and to use English as our means of communication. The students were paired and stayed with one another’s families during each week of the trip; so the cultural exchange was shared and, in a sense, complete. In both the Netherlands and Hungary, students spent time in and also out of school. When at school, participants got a taste of a student’s life in a different country and a different education system while working on projects together and attending one another’s lessons. While out of school, the groups visited some of the key sights in each other’s countries, including landmarks such as Szentendre, Budapest and Visegrád Castle in Hungary and Amsterdam, Deventer and Zuthpen in the Netherlands.
The goal of the exchange program was achieved ’unnoticed’, so to speak. Due to the high English language level of both the Dutch and Hungarian groups, the students’ communication was very natural and open in school, during the field trips, and at home. Due to their bilingual educational curriculum and their greater experience with student exchanges, our partner school often meets groups with high levels of English; yet they were impressed with the outstanding English language level of our students – which is something we’re very proud of. To paraphrase, and to quote, the lead English teacher of the Dutch group: Communicating with a group of exchange program students has never been so easy "because of the perfect English spoken by the Hungarian students."
We consider this successful exchange program to be the first step for the Bilingual.hu Program in building up long-term, international connections with other institutions that boast high-level language programs. We hope this will provide new, exciting and eye-opening opportunities for our students and also give them a chance to use their English outside of the classroom, out in the world.
For pictures click to the links below: