McDaniel Budapest Unveils New “Flagship” Program

The Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary. Photo by George Pahalishvili for McDaniel College.

The McDaniel Budapest campus has unveiled its new Cultural Crossroads Program, which will begin in the Spring 2017 semester. The program will see students taking three specially designed, four-credit courses a semester, aimed at highlighting the culture and history of Hungary and Central/Eastern Europe.

“Crossroads will hopefully become the flagship of the Budapest campus,” said Dr. Matthew Adamson, one of the program’s designers, “it’s what the main campus will point to when they talk of the Budapest campus.”

The motivation behind the creation of this program came from a desire to offer a program of study at the Budapest campus that highlighted the region in which it is situated, while simultaneously elevating the experience of the students involved.

“Budapest offers more than merely a place to come and study for a semester, take a few courses, and travel. It itself and the surrounding environment and the surrounding countries are really a fascinating and historically key part of the globe,” said Adamson. “We ought to be providing a program that allows students to see this, and to enjoy it with experts.”

To meet this goal, the program will offer a spring and fall semester that highlight different aspects of the Hungarian culture. The spring semester will have a focus on arts and culture, while the fall semester will be more focused on political science and history.

The spring semester will feature classes ranging from a discussion of Hungarian food and wine taught by Professor Robert Smyth to a class on the literature of trauma in Budapest taught by Professor Gábor Molnár.

According to the McDaniel Study Abroad website, this class will, “explore how the diversity of the region has created new frameworks for sociocultural analysis and brilliant expression of personal and collective memory.”

Meanwhile, the fall semester will feature a guest course taught by Dr. Attila Pók from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, who will be teaching a course on the complex history of Hungary, and a course on migration by Professor of Political Science  Csaba Tör.

The program’s website describes that this semester will allow students to, “learn about the region’s shifting historical, political and cultural regimes, frontiers, and identities while tracing the movements of peoples past and present.”

Beyond this, both semesters will feature a number of trips and visits that will supplement the courses offered.

“There are additional activities built in that are themed with the Crossroads program,” said Director of International and Off-Campus Programs Elizabeth Davis.

Davis hopes that this program will be the beginning of further growth in the study abroad program in the coming years, specifically focusing on more experiential programs.

“[What] we are interested in adding to our catalog is in-service learning, and like internship type programs abroad,” said Davis, “experiential learning is pretty important here at McDaniel, and we want to increase the options for that abroad.”