Interview: Studying in Hungary – Through an Foreign Student’s Eyes

Today we are going to interview a foreign student from China, Jack. He has been a student for the past four years who has lived and studied in two different universities from two cities in Hungary. Throughout these times, he has made numerous friends and is happy to say coming to Hungary was one of the best decisions he has made since it has not only extended his horizon but also has opened new opportunities for his future. He is going to share his experiences regarding the application process, the preparation before arriving to Hungary, and his stay in Szombathely and Budapest.

You have been living in Hungary for four years now, studied one year of Hungarian in Szombathely first and later transferred to ELTE (Budapest) majoring in English.  What was your main goal coming to study in Hungary?

I wanted to study abroad and see the world different from my own.

Where did you look for information about Hungary before coming here?

Mostly from Baidu and Tieba (popular Chinese search and knowledge sharing sites). There are also many agencies advertising themselves on the internet but large amount of the information (including university ranking statistics) they provide are fake. Also, there is not much information to be found about the university fees or they are usually outdated.

What added values do you see or have already gained by receiving education in Hungary and getting a diploma thru the Hungarian education system?

Quite a lot. The school is very international friendly, the teachers are prepared and the system is well constructed. What I mean by that is you can only pass the exam if you actually know the material, there is no escape from learning it properly. This prepares students to be able to solve problems in real life, instead of focusing on just being able to beat tests.

What is the biggest challenge while studying in Hungary? What about every day challenges? How did you solve these challenges?

Being able to communicate is very important. It was difficult to communicate in everyday life when I lived in Szombathely, in Budapest however is very different, the majority of people can speak English. I would recommend everyone to attend Hungarian courses for a semester. It would make your stay much easier in the long run. Secondly, at the Hungarian university we learnt a lot of literatures related topics, for instance, that we did not cover in Chinese high school. In order to catch up with that and being able to learn the new material as well, I spent studying more than 3 hours a day after class. Thirdly, I had some problem with my landlords which was the result of lack of communication between us and also to my roommates who regularly delayed paying the rent. I had to move twice, but in the end,  I am really satisfied with my current landlord.

How did you find the housing?

I found it through Facebook.

Were you homesick throughout your stay in Budapest?

No, it wasn’t difficult for me. With the help of smart phones and the internet, it was easy to keep in touch with my parents and friends. Besides, I visited China twice a year for two months, so it felt more like extended travelling for me all the time.

What were your expectations before coming to Hungary?

My goal was to to become a fluent Hungarian speaker, to finish my degree, to gain some work experiences. Luckily everything mentioned above came true for me. I am now able to have an everyday conversation with native Hungarians. I am finishing my degree next year and got some work experiences from having a part time job at a local restaurant.

What are some of the things you are glad that you had done prior to coming to Hungary?

Language courses. There were courses that I took which taught me how to adopt to the western education system, how to write an essay, and how to prepare for a presentation. I found these very useful and it was a huge help when I had to write essays in English.

Are there specific things that you had help from external source?

Yes, I applied to my first university through an agency which is necessary for the first round. They assisted me on what documents I needed to prepare, how to prepare my insurance, the deposit and how to apply for visa. These information were hard to figure out on you own when you don’t have experiences.

What are the things you wish you had help from an external source but you did not?

Before leaving China, I didn’t think I needed any services from an external source but after I had arrived in Hungary there were things I wasn’t prepared for. For instance, having someone coming to the immigration office with me sorting the resident permit out would have been a tremendous help. Without any help, getting everything done took me half a year. It was the result of being unclear about what documents I needed exactly. Also, looking for a rental place alone was not easy. Having a local, who is more experienced in relation to what aspects I had to be careful about when choosing a house, to visit houses together with me would have made a big difference. Furthermore, it was a shame I didn’t have any acquaintances showing me around the neighborhood, introducing the location of shopping centers, libraries, and other places that students usually would visit.

How did you choose which school you wanted to come to?

My first school was not my choice. The agency informed me they do not have the opportunity to take me anywhere else apart from Savaria Egyetemi Központ. They promised me once I was in Hungary, they have the ability to change my school, however when I called them from Hungary, it proved to be not the case so I had to do the research and the application part on my own. It was fairly time consuming as ELTE took its time, sometimes it took two weeks from them to reply to my emails. I would find an agency who is able to help with speeding up the process useful.

What would have been another school you’d wanted to go to?

University of Szeged, because they also offered the course I wanted to take. Corvinus University of Budapest was also appealing but they did not offer English studies as a major.

Where else would you have gone to if you didn’t come to Hungary?

England was my first choice which I haven’t given up yet. I would like to apply to do my master’s degree there.

Are there any advantages coming to study Hungary over other Western countries? If yes, what are there?

The main advantage is that the tuition is much cheaper in comparison to England, Canada, US or Australia and the quality of education is still good. Also, in most cases in order to get accepted to a western university, students must take the IELTS or the TOEFL exams which are not easy. In Hungary though you can apply for an English language course for one year and after passing the English exam level B2, you can easily get accepted to the major you choose to take. This way BA diploma changes from a 3-year to a 4-year program.

Why do you think students are interested in coming to Hungary for their high education?

In Hungary the college entrance exam is easier because you can apply to the university which provides language courses. Therefore, the English level of a student does not necessarily have to be perfect from the very beginning.

Do you think students would want to stay in Hungary after finishing their studies? Why? Why not?

Some students want to have more international experience, so they decide to stay longer in Hungary or go to another foreign countries. In case of staying, students having related degree will be able to find jobs at Bank of China branch, etc. There are also students of course who decide to go back and build a career there.

Why to choose us?

  • We have 20 years of experience so there is no boundary for us.
  • We offer quality for affordable price
  • Thanks to our Chinese, English and Hungarian speaking colleagues, there is no language barrier
  • In case of an order we deal with everything from A to Z, so the only thing our customer has to do is waiting for the product he/she ordered.
  • Anything our customer would need, we can get it from China
  • We are also dealing with providing information and looking for appropriate business partners
  • If you choose us, you do not need to be afraid of cheaters. We guarantee that you’ll get what you ordered, since contracting and the paying method both happen in Hungary.

Goji berries

From year to year goji berries are becoming more popular in Hungary. Although the fruit is being used for thousands of years in China, the western world realized its beneficial effects only a few years ago. Thanks to the berry’s high content of vitamin C, the 21 types of minerals (as calcium, zinc, selenium) and the 18 types of amino acids, Goji berry has several positive effects on our health.

The berry has such a high tolerance for cold, that it even survives in -25 °C. Berries containing the highest number of vitamins are grown in the desert of Ningxia and Qinghai provinces within China. The goji berries grown in these areas might be the plants with the highest nutrient content in the whole planet.

Thanks to its inner content, this fruit can be a huge support in our everyday life.

The beneficial effects are the followings:

  • it stimulates HGH growth hormone, thus it inhibits aging
  • its high vitamin A content helps to recover the eyesight
  • its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and fungicidal effects help in curing diseases and inflammations
  • it reduces the risk of developing allergies
  • it improves the physical fitness and it gives energy
  • it inhibits gene mutation;thus it can prevent the risk of the formation of cancer
  • according to scientific experiments, the berry can stop the formation of cancer, or even reduces the effect of the cancer
  • it can destroy the superoids in the blood
  • it can prevent or control diabetes
  • it handles digesting problems effectively
  • it prevents the formation of hypertension
  • the vitamins strengthen the immune system
  • it has a desire-boosting effect and helps to prevent the formation of infertility
  • it helps forming the nutrition into energy, thus increasing the chance of losing weight

It is recommended to take the berries daily to reach its desired effect. The berry can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, or soaked in tea.

Since our company imports the berries from the provinces of Ningxia and Qinghai, we guarantee the highest quality. Although goji berry is able to survive nearly anywhere, the berries grown in the desertified area contain the highest number of vitamins and nutrition, thus having outstanding beneficial effects.

Introduction: We are KKIK!

Today in Hungary, businesses and alike are increasingly hearing the name of our company, the Chinese Trade and Information Center (otherwise more known as KKIK). But who exactly are we?  This is the reason for this blog, to re-introduce ourselves to everyone and to share our stories and thoughts in connection to the daily work that we do.

As mentioned above, the acronym of our company name is KKIK. We have been in business in Hungary since 1998, and our focus and goal have been to enable small and midsize Hungarian businesses the ability to utilize Chinese manufacturing power. Our goal is to help our clients reduce the cost of their business needs and hence increase in revenue. We have just turned 20 this year, and it’s time to reflect what we’ve achieved throughout the years in Hungary. We are traders by nature and have found various products across many industries for our clients. In fact, we can almost always find the right manufacturer to produce the products you need. However, like every company, we also have our specialties. They will be touched upon later and in subsequent blog posts.

Back to the introduction, there’s another important information (it’s easy to guess from our name), all of our suppliers are all mainly located in China and its surrounding regions. Unfortunately, China is not as close to Hungary, as Biatorbágy to Budapest, therefore delivery time often takes a month or so. On top of that, we regularly have to deal with  bureaucratic and logistic complexities that a local business simply do not wish to think about. But that’s the nature of the field. We do however try to always ensure that the products only have to be dealt locally making the whole importing process completely transparent to our clients.

Earlier, we have mentioned that we connect businesses. Aside from business, we also connect languages. We have a mixed culture of colleagues from China, Hungary, and the United States. So we can fluently switch between Hungarian, Chinese, and English. There are no language barriers for our customers. It is important to have Chinese speaking natives because many Chinese manufacturers prefer to communicate in their mother tongue. Additionally, knowing the culture and native business practices can help us navigate business deals more easily.

As it is widely known, China has become the fastest developing country in the world in the last couple decades – it’s also easy to see in their products, too. When people hear „quality”, they usually think of German, Japanese, or maybe North-American manufacturers. Thanks to these stereotypes, using the expression „made in China” often leads to conclusion of inferior quality. While the cheaper and inferior products still exist, countless high-quality products are also being manufactured daily in China. Today, major global companies  such as Apple, Nike, HP, and so on use Chinese manufacturers for their products. A large amount of technologies are adopted from Japan, the US, and Germany and upgraded accordingly with their own R&D. Many manufacturers now have state of the art infrastructures and manufacturing capabilities that rival their western counterparts. But again, there are still manufacturers that continue to cut corners to increase their profit.

So here is where we come in. Today with various internet platforms, all kinds of Chinese manufactures have been brought closer to all of us. This creates a false sense that everyone can find what they need and produce what they want. The truth is, however, is that it’s not so simple. The openness of these platforms also bring closer the inferior manufacturers and scammers to businesses. Unfortunately, we have worked with quite a few Hungarian small businesses that were scammed by or these fake factories and representatives. We have handled some these cases and advised alternative import services in other cases. While every case is different and unique, the story is common, that a business heard from a partner or associate that it is easy to import products from China by themselves. Some of these is true, but more often it’s a draw of the straw.  If one is lucky, they may encounter a reputable manufacturer genuinely trying to do business. The alternative is obviously loss of fortune. It boils down to this. Would you trust someone you just meet on the bus today and after having a conversation about some item that they have for which you would later wire money to them in promise of them sending you it later in the mail? Sometimes global business are as dangerous as this.

At the end of the day, our service is about bringing the product our clients need and reduce their stress dealing with foreign companies that are thousands of kilometers away. Our lengthy experience working with manufacturers along with the resources and relationships we have within China enables us to identify these pitfalls and allow us to find the best producers that matches our clients’ needs.

After all, meeting the technical goals and quality of the product along with reducing cost is the bread and butter of our business.