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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

December 09, 2003

New exchange puts students in former Eastern Bloc

On Jan. 28, Vance Edwards prepares for a new semester 6,000 miles away from CSUS. The sociology major leaves Northern California that day to begin his studies at Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration or BUESPA.

Edwards isn’t the first CSUS student to participate in an exchange program with a distant university, but he’s one of the first to spend the semester in Hungary, a former Communist-ruled country. “There had never been much contact between the University and former satellites of the Soviet Union – what used to be called the Eastern Bloc,” says sociology professor Tom Kando.

Kando is the architect of the exchange program. The Hungarian native spent his 2001 sabbatical visiting universities on a quest to find one that would work with CSUS to create new educational opportunities. “BUESPA turned out to be the most receptive. Also, its focus – social science and business administration – seemed a good match.”

Three CSUS students are currently attending the school. Edwards will be the fourth. Students from the Hungarian university have also attended classes at CSUS. “This past year, our first year, we had two students from BUESPA,” says Kando.

Kando says exchange programs are a great way to increase the knowledge that people in the United States have not only about former Communist regions of Europe, but about the world as well. “I always push the international programs,” he says. Kando says the world is growing smaller as the Internet and satellites increase connections among people and nations. “Isolationism is not possible. Exchange programs are an unquestioned good.”

He says exchanges with countries including Hungary are another step to creating stronger global connections with countries once ignored during international decision-making. “Developing programs and ties with the up-and-coming eastern and central European countries is a worthwhile project. Our political, economic, and cultural ties with that area of the world are growing fast since the fall of communism,” Kando says.

As part of the exchange Edwards will take a Hungarian language course. He’ll also need to find a place to live, though he’s happy about housing prices. Edwards says an apartment in Budapest will cost him about $300 per month while his rent in midtown Sacramento is much higher than that.

Kando says he didn’t know Edwards was applying for the program until the student began the application process. “Vance was one of my best students. What a happy coincidence.” Kando will see Edwards in January, when he travels to Budapest to meet with BUESPA officials about how to make the exchange program even more effective.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu