An American student, Brendan, spent four months at the University of Pécs (PTE). He arrived in Pécs in September 2021 from the University of Denver. He shared his experience on his Facebook page, but since then the article has been removed for some reason. However, the piece has been also published in the journal of the Denver University with the title: ‘Study abroad: frustration, illness & disappointment in Hungary’. The university has responded, arguing that the student’s claims are not considered credible.
The American student shared his lifelong dream of studying abroad in Europe in his blog, but his expectations did not meet the reality.
Upon entering the dormitory, his first shock came when he saw the “old building” inside which he claimed did not have properly functioning plumbing and electricity. However, this sounds unrealistic. According to his description, the toilets could not be flushed properly, the lights were flashing, bugs were crawling on the ceiling, and the internet worked poorly as well.
There were two barely functioning washing machines in the dormitory for 800 people.
We are talking about a dormitory that was built 50 years ago and underwent a complete renovation about 10 years ago, says Telex.hu.
He claimed that he had to wait in line for hours to reach an English-speaking staff member. He had to submit five different papers to apply for a student ID card, which otherwise seems realistic. These were probably papers related to his studies and his stay in the dormitory.
The American student also lists it as a complaint that the cleaning staff opened the rooms in the morning and spoke only Hungarian.
He was not satisfied with the English skills of the university staff either. Even though there are 4,500 foreign students at the University of Pécs, the staff’s English knowledge was inadequate. According to him, the professors did not speak English well, and sometimes they had a hard time finding the right words, writes bahir.hu.
However, the key point of the article is that the student was ill during almost the entire four months he spent in Hungary. He struggled with sinusitis for three months, had bronchitis, sore throat, and tonsillitis twice. He lay sick in bed for a month, claiming to have lost 9.5 kilograms and developed an eating disorder.
Although there were doctors at the university, he found that neither he nor the students, in general, had access to adequate medical care. He traveled to Budapest several times to see private doctors and to get prescriptions for antibiotics. The student also caught Covid in Hungary, which certainly did not make his days rosier. In his article, he also criticised the fact that online education was not introduced at the university in the fall of 2021, making the rooms “breeding grounds for pathogens, difficult to concentrate in the room with constant coughing, growling and sneezing”. Nobody knew Zoom there, he added.
The student did not find the city of Pécs safe enough either. According to his description,
a local gang attacked two groups of foreign students close to the college.
The American student wrote that he was unaware of the Roma culture in the area, which scared him off taking public transport or walking around the train station and, in general, outside of the city centre.
The University replied to the blog post of the American student, stating that the dorm has great Google reviews, and the survey of the international students shows a high satisfaction rate overall
Telex asked the University of Pécs about the matter. The university’s press office asked the portal to publish their response without any editing, so we translated this source into English without any alteration in the text.
“The management of the University of Pécs was sorry to hear about our foreign student’s negative feedback. We don’t react point by point, we just touch on a few important topics that paint our dormitory in a negative light.
The main illustration does not depict the Boszorkány-kollégium but another building independent of the PTE, at the train station.
The American contact person, who assists students to apply to the university, visited Pécs a couple of years ago. The contact person was invited by PTE to get clear pictures of the university and the city so that he would be able to accurately orient the interested students. Therefore, he knows the locations and endowments, which means that the students applying here should not be surprised given they received proper information before their arrival.
It tells a lot about the college in question that the majority-based Google rating (on a scale of 5) has currently 4.3 stars, including text ratings such as:
»The Boszorkány Kolégium is one of the best dormitories in Pécs. Multi-story building with dining area and restaurant. Refrigerators are almost everywhere. The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms are modernly equipped« or: »Well-equipped rooms, they look cultured, they have plenty of sockets and net access. Each block has a bathroom, toilet, and a fair refrigerator.«
Although the PPP design has made the development of dormitories significantly more difficult, the recent replacement of the design has also removed this hurdle, so that wireless internet will soon be available in addition to the existing high-bandwidth wired internet connection.
It is important to note that modern fire alarm equipment never goes off in the dormitory for no reason. If there is smoke in the building (for example, a student forgets the rules and lights a cigarette in the room), the alarm will go off, even at night, which is important and can be life-saving.
Cleaning and insect control occur regularly, there can be little complaint about hygiene – no one has really reported such cases. However, the cleaning staff always comes on weekdays, never on weekends, so the Saturday morning wake-up call mentioned in the description is, to put it mildly, unrealistic.
It is also worth mentioning that the PTE Clinical Center is the central patient care unit in the region, so of course, they provide medical care of the highest possible quality to everyone. At the same time, if foreign students had standard integrated health insurance it would certainly speed things up and make the process less complicated, which initiative would be also encouraged by PTE.
To conclude, there are areas that need upgrades and improvements are planned to be implemented shortly, but the situation is by no means as dire as it’s set out in the article.
Every year, our university conducts a satisfaction survey with international students, in which they can indicate on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, how much they would recommend PTE to their friends and acquaintances. In the most recent survey, conducted last summer, more than two-thirds of nearly a thousand respondents gave 4 or 5 ratings. Based on the surveys of recent years, it can also be stated that the students are more and more satisfied with Hungary, the city of Pécs and the University of Pécs.”
Source: bahir.hu, telex.hu