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"Homecoming” Vietnamese Alumni

Vietnamese students who graduated from the University of Debrecen back in the 1970s have returned to their alma mater to meet their one-time professors and fellow students. The event was organised within the framework of a conference designed to strengthen Hungarian-Vietnamese relations.

- The idea of the meeting arose two years ago, when I was on a visit to Vietnam, and, to my great surprise, I met eleven students who I used to study at university with me and still speak excellent Hungarian. We decided together to organise this conference, which has the aim of renewing and intensifying cooperation between the two countries in the fields of higher education and academic affairs, said the Chairman of the organising committee, Professor Emeritus Imre Tóth, who graduated from the University of Debrecen as a chemist in 1974.

At present over 4000 foreign students are studying at the University of Debrecen, 169 of whom come from Vietnam.  Decades ago, however, this south-east Asian country was the only one that sent students to our university.  It was in the 1960s that the faculty of Sciences and Tehnology received the first foreign students, the majority of whom were Vietnamese. 

- During our graduation ceremonies we regularly welcome our students who graduated 40, 50, or 60 years ago but, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that students have come to our university, their alma mater, where they received their degrees decades ago, from such a remote country. I hope that this event will continue to be part of the faculty’s noble traditions, Dean Ferenc Kun stressed. He added that, according to the then professors of the university, the vietnamese students’ determination, motivation, hard work and outstanding abilities added colour to the faculty’s educational and research work, hence it was not only the foreign students who received a great deal from the university but the faculty also profited from their presence.

A total of 18 Vietnamese alumni attended the „Hungarian-Vietnamese cooperation in higher education and science in Debrecen: past, present, and future” and the alumni meeting.  Among them were a mathematician who graduated in 1973, a physicists who graduated in 1973, 1974, and 1978 and a chemist who graduated in 1975.

- On behalf of the University we cannot dream of anything better than this occasion as it is very positive feedback that in this university teaching was of such a high level that the Vietnamese students were able to put their knowledge to good use back in Vietnam, too, said Bartha Elek Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.

The Vietnamese alumni presented the university with a special work of art in gratitude for the unforgettable years they spent at the university and in the city. 

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