This year marks the fifth anniversary of the successful Pécs Summer School program, which was launched in 2016 by the Directorate of International Affairs, the predecessor of the International Centre. As defined in the Internationalization Program, the primary aim of the initiative is to create a "Summer Trimester" with an increasing number of international summer school programs on different topics. The academic programs are provided by different university Faculties, while the overall organization of the summer programs is carried out by the International Centre.
The objective has been fully achieved and it has been proven that there is a growing demand for the Pécs Summer School program according to student feedback. The increasing number of summer school programs has made PTE a market leader in this field among Hungarian higher education institutions.
In the last five years, 30 summer schools have been organized by the International Centre over a period of 350 days. A total of 800 participants from 70 countries and 4 continents have participated in the programs facilitated by 200 lecturers. In addition to the University of Pécs lecturers, visiting lecturers from abroad were also involved. The International Centre has employed 80 mentor students during the past five years.
In order to implement the summer university programs, the International Centre has cooperated with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Education and Regional Development, the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, and the Faculty of Law.
In addition to the academic programs, the summer schools offer a rich variety of leisure activities for participating students, such as city tours, museum visits, concerts, intercultural evenings, excursions and sports competitions. These initiatives enrich the program and ensure that students' cultural knowledge is deepened.
The summer schools are also an excellent opportunity to develop and expand relations with partner universities. Tailor-made, specialized summer programs have been organized for groups of students from three partner universities in China, as well as for students from partner institutions in Japan, the US, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Hangzhou Normal University in China has sent an increasing number of student groups to the University of Pécs each year, with the most recent group of 60 students sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation. On three occasions the University of Pécs hosted a group of Japanese students who studied Hungarian folk music and folk dance. On five occasions the Pécs Summer School program was awarded a grant from the CEEPUS program to organize a summer course on the current challenges of the European Union. For the third year in a row the Tempus Public Foundation supported a summer school program on Hungarian cultural heritage. This year, summer schools will also be organized for students from two prominent university associations, the European Digital University City (EDUC) and the Compostela Group.
In response to the coronavirus epidemic, the Pécs Summer School programs were implemented online in summer 2020. In addition to the high-quality academic programs, strong emphasis was put on building a vibrant community of participants virtually. To this end, several new online programs were developed to meet student needs, which included online virtual city tours, museum visits and goulash cooking. This year, many of the programs will also be organized virtually. The success of the online summer schools is demonstrated by the fact that the number of students applying for these programs has increased this year.
Satisfaction surveys among participants show that students are very satisfied with the educational and social programs, the thorough organization, and the work of the organizers and mentors. Some students have participated in the Pécs Summer School program many times, and many students in the Summer University have gone on to enroll in full diploma programs offered by the University of Pécs.
Building on the success of the Pécs Summer School program, the International Centre launched the Pécs Winter School program in 2020.
The Pécs Summer School program is set to become even more successful in the future. There is a growing demand for short-term mobility programs in the international higher education market, and there are more and more opportunities to expand the programs. In the future the Erasmus+ mobility program, the Stipendium Hungaricum program, and the British Turing Program will offer students the opportunity to participate in summer schools, and the Pécs Summer School program will be part of all these mobility programs. Additionally, the goal is to increase the number of summer courses by involving even more faculties, and to bring back the summer schools which were cancelled due to the pandemic. We hope to fill the city of Pécs again with French, South Korean, Thai and Chinese summer school participants.