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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 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,”
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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