A friendly exchange

Alumnus donation funds a student exchange with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Learning abroad is a valuable and highly desired experience for college students; however, the cost of a semester or even short seminar is often too much to afford.

Zsolt Rumy (ChemE ’66), knows the value of studying abroad, and decided he wanted to help more College of Science and Engineering (CSE) students attain this international experience.

“My great U of M education gave me a strong start in my career. What I learned over time, is that success comes as much from working relationships with people from all walks of life and with people from all over the world,” said Rumy.

With Rumy’s generous gift, CSE was able to form a new international undergraduate exchange program between the University of Minnesota and Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE). Students receive a scholarship that covers tuition, plane tickets between the U.S. and Hungary, and basic living expenses—making this experience abroad much more attainable.

Katarina Kamenar was one of two CSE students who spent a semester in Budapest this spring. She was interested in a semester-long experience abroad, but longer programs typically delay graduation for CSE students and that wasn’t an option for her. Luckily, another aspect of this program was that BUTE offered courses that would fulfill requirements and wouldn’t delay graduation.

“I got through the classes I needed for my major, and got to take some classes I wouldn’t have gotten here [in Minnesota],” said Kamenar.

In addition to taking classes, Kamenar got the unique opportunity to do undergraduate research with a Hungarian professor researching bioinformatics. She assisted in analyzing results and modifying processes to reduce error in the research.

What students learn abroad isn’t limited to classroom learning, and Kamenar benefitted from the experience in life skills as well. “I learned to be flexible; I learned a lot more responsibility,” she said. She also added how much she appreciated making friends from different cultures, and learning from them.

“It was one of the best places you could study abroad,” said Kamenar.

She said she enjoyed sampling local foods, attending festivals, hiking, and celebrating Hungarian holidays in the spring.

Kamenar has returned, and BUTE students Zsófia Bognár and Bence Bruncsics are now spending fall semester at the University of Minnesota to complete the first year of student exchange.

If you’re interested in how you can support CSE students, visit our CSE Giving website.