I had a conversation with Anikó Kramm, Head of the Office at the Admissions and German Student Service Centre. She explained in which cases the MS students could get help and her colleague Kálmán Sebők, who works as management consultant there.
What are the exact tasks of the Admissions and German Student Service Centre?
The primary task of the Centre is to answer all incoming inquiries with regards to the German-language medical education. It includes explaining the possibilities, how applications work, which documents should be enclosed, how the whole recruitment procedure progresses. The application period to the German-language general medicine and dentist program is open each year from the 1st of February to the 31st of May. All the incoming application forms are submitted to our office within this period. We prepare and coordinate the work of the German Programme Committee during the recruitment process and provide the admitted students with every necessary piece of information related to the beginning of the semester. This starts with the medical aptitude test, followed by accommodation issues and ends with the obligatory registration. Since they come from foreign countries, everything is new to them.
Upon the students' arrival at the end of August an orientation day takes place, where they are fully informed about administrative issues. The colleagues of the Registrar's Office answer all the questions in connection with entering Neptun and the educational system in general. This eventful day is also organised for the students of the German Programme by our office.
Then after the registration the daily life of the students begin. That is the time when the office becomes Student Service Centre in the first place, that is when we start to assist the students in matters that do not have much to do with their education. For example booking courses belongs to the Registrar's Office, every other social matter is to be solved by our office.
How can we imagine these social matters?
Just to mention some examples, the students can send their registered mail to the address of the Office if they are not home all day, we take over it and they can pick it up in the breaks or at the end of the school day. If someone's washing machine stops working, we call a mechanic, if their car breaks down, we order a rescue truck, if their landlord does not speak languages and they cannot understand each other, we help in overcoming the language barriers. We are trying to give a hand in any social matter where it is hard to find a way around - since the Hungarian public administration differs from the German one. We recommend specialists in healthcare, and of course if someone wants to sing in a choir, play in a band or the piano, we give guidance in those matters, too.
Based on this can we say that you develop a friendly relationship with your students?
Yes, we can. Since we work with problems of a more personal nature, we can say that until the 4th or 5th year we become friends with the students. Maybe we even function as a "replacement" for the family. There are people who come here after an unsuccessful exam and cry in the armchair, others tell us how their anatomy exam went. Of course, first they call their parents, but we can congratulate them by shaking their hands, or patting them on the back personally as well. The Germans studying in Pécs appreciate the fact that we greet them by their names on entering our office. They are not only numbers in a chart, but people of flesh and blood, and it is important for them to know that we care, too.
Let us not forget that these people have left homes – even their homeland - and come hundreds or thousands of kilometres to Pécs. They do not have the opportunity to travel back on the weekends. Despite of having internet installed and online contact with anyone, their problems in Hungary must be solved individually. They have to be smart and overcome difficulties, not only in their studies. The challenges of everyday life must be managed alone as well, that is where they can turn to us for help.
How many German Programme students are there in the Medical School right now?
In last September the number of the active students was around 800. This often changes though, because the school year in Austria and Germany starts one and a half months later than in Hungary. So it occurs that some students get a place at foreign universities in October despite their registration in Pécs. Depending on the successfulness of the exam period, some people may leave the UP of course again. Right now we have more than 700 students in total. The number of students staying here for the 3rd year grows constantly. The first four semesters in Hungary are accepted just like the German so-called "Physikum". After completing those, they can continue their studies directly in Germany (in case the concerned students are accepted at a medical faculty there) in principle. More and more people find the high-quality training of the UP attractive, so they choose to complete their studies here. More and more foreign language medical courses are offered in the surrounding countries, but the number of places in Germany remains the same, so it is difficult to return home. That is why more and more students stay here for the 3rd, 4th and 5th years as well.
100 freshmen started here in 2004, and 2 of them finished their education in 2010. In the following year there were 4 graduates, then 8 graduates. With a joke we could declare this as a 200% growth per year. 34 students have already graduated from our German Programme this year, and 49 people have started their 6th year here. So it is evident that the numbers keep growing rapidly.
The Hungarian medical diploma is recognized very positively in foreign countries. The graduates report without exception that the education has indeed prepared them for their path really well. Especially the practical part of the training is acclaimed highly everywhere. After the third year within the framework of almost every clinical course the students have contact with patients, too. They seem to have a safer knowledge and are more confident when making decisions as the residents that graduated elsewhere in Germany. This is all confirmed by the specialist doctors there as well, so the residents get immense positive feedback. They do not feel disadvantaged to those colleagues who had graduated in Germany, on the contrary.
What percentage of this 7-800 students visits the Office regularly?
At the beginning of their first year we meet every one of them, maybe even more than once. We get in contact with all of the freshmen. Later we mostly meet those students who often receive packages from home for instance, or have other problems more frequently. The year- or group-representatives visit us several times and they present the occuring problems to us.
Edit Hazenauer, UnivPécs