The Institute, as a center for education and scientific cooperation, fulfills a supporting, coordinating and funding function in the international network of Hungarian Studies institutions and in the teaching of Hungarian as a foreign language.
Methodology Center for Teaching Hungarian as a Second Language
The Institute not only provides support for Hungarian language training abroad, it also offers a wide range of language programs within Hungary. At the Institute’s central branch located in Budapest, those wishing to learn Hungarian can choose from a unique selection of in-depth courses geared toward various levels. Thanks to its highly-trained, experienced staff of language teachers, the Balassi Institute is a leader in the methodology of teaching Hungarian as a Second Language. Its foremost task is not only to develop teaching materials for non-native speakers, but also to provide appropriate educational resources to teachers of Hungarian as a heritage language abroad. Other than the organization of seminars, conferences and training sessions, the publication of professional journals, e-textbooks and e-books also forms a vital part of the Institute’s mission.
Learning Opportunities for Foreign Citizens
Programs either 10 months or 2-4 weeks in duration can be attended by scholarship or payment of tuition. Year-by-year, nearly 350 foreign students receive scholarships to participate in courses offered in Budapest. Students—who arrive from all around the globe—have the opportunity to experience life in Hungary first-hand, benefit from intense language training in the classroom and forge life-long friendships. Our recently established Balassi Alumni Program seeks to keep the network of former students alive.
Program in Hungarian Language and Hungarian Studies
This course is open to foreign university students not of Hungarian descent; the purpose is to supplement language skills and cultural knowledge acquired at foreign universities. Completion of the internationally recognized ECL language exam is a requirement at the end of this intense language course. Hungarian Studies courses provide a comprehensive, interdisciplinary examination of Hungary’s cultural heritage as well as of Hungarian society today.
Program in Hungarian Language and Culture
The purpose of this course is to strengthen the cultural identities of Hungarians living in diaspora communities. Young people of Hungarian descent—from outside the Carpathian Basin—are eligible for scholarships to this program. This specialized course focuses on increasing language competencies of speakers lacking formal education in Hungarian; the ECL language exam is a requirement for course completion. Participants receive a comprehensive, interdisciplinary examination of Hungary’s cultural heritage and Hungarian society today.
Literary Translation Program
Non-Hungarian, foreign citizens can apply to this program, intended for those university graduates who have chosen the translation of Hungarian literature and the promotion of Hungarian culture abroad as the focus of their careers. While a practical introduction to literary translation forms the backbone of this program, in-depth instruction in Hungarian language and literature is also provided. The number of translations published throughout the years attests to the ability of the Institute’s literary translation alumni.
Preparatory Program for University Entry
Thanks to a series of bilateral cultural agreements, many non-Hungarian, citizens are able to attend this program on a scholarship; while the Scholarship Board for Minority Hungarians provides financial support to students of Hungarian descent. This preparatory program enables foreign students to acquire the kind of technical vocabulary and language proficiency demanded by the advanced-level, university entrance exam. Students who successfully complete the final exam may gain entry to those B.A.-level courses listed in the call for grant applications.