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Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education

About

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education (BSME) is a semester-long program in Budapest, Hungary, designed for American and Canadian undergraduates and recent graduates interested in teaching middle school or high school mathematics.

BSME was conceived by the founders of Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM), and the two programs share a common goal: to provide their participants with an opportunity to experience the mathematical and general culture of Hungary. BSME is specifically intended for students who are not only passionate about mathematics, but also the teaching of mathematics.

Our academic program includes the following components:
- Mathematics education courses that focus on the Hungarian approach.
- Internships in mathematics education for additional teaching experiences.
- Mathematics courses from the BSM catalogue.
- Courses in humanities, language, and culture.

Reviews

Default avatar
Marley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Semester in Budapest!

The BSME program was such an amazing experience. As a math and education double major, the program is a perfect combination of these. The classes focus on the teaching of math, which is such a unique and specific area of study. I learned so much about the different methods of teaching math in Hungary, and I gained many skills and new ideas to bring back to the US, things I know I will use all the time as a future math educator.
The city of Budapest is absolutely wonderful. It is easy to get around the city with public transportation or sometimes walking, and there are so many cool things to do. As a BSME student during the pandemic (fall 2021), we were not able to leave the country, but even then there are so many great places to visit within Budapest and great day/weekend trips around Hungary. I gained valuable life skills in navigating the city and living outside of the dorms for the first time, and I am so glad for these experiences.
In addition to the great classes and city of Budapest, I met some of the greatest people. I made lifelong friendships and have so many great memories spending time with this group of people. I know I will stay in touch with many of my classmates, as well as be great supports for each other when we start teaching in our own classrooms in just a few years.
I highly recommend the BSME program to all math education students, and also all math students who are even the slightest bit interested in education.

Default avatar
Wesley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

BEME Fall 2021

The BSME program has provided me with new problem solving skills and introduced me to a new style of teaching math. In the program I took a practicum course where I went to Hungarian schools and observed teachers teach math (translated in English by my professor) using the Hungarian approach of teaching. I also took a Gamification course which explored different ways to make math more engaging for students using games and manipulatives. The last BSME course I took was a Geometry Problem Solving course where I saw geometry again for the first time since 9th grade. This course was very beneficial for teaching geometry and providing students with problems that tailor to the discovery learning method of teaching. Although I only took three BSME course, there are a few others also offered.

During my time in Budapest, I have made many genuine friends with people I would otherwise have never met. Being from a small town, this is experience has broadened my understanding of the world and strengthened my sense of responsibility as a young adult.

Overall, there is so much more I could say about this study experience for future math educators, but I think you should go experience it for yourselves.

Default avatar
Lindsay
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Budapest Semesters

The BSME program was a fantastic program that’s unlike any other program I have come across. This program was geared towards my major (Secondary Education - Mathematics) more than even my classes in college were. I learned so much in these 6 weeks about mathematics education. I am now a teacher, and I have been using the skills that I learned abroad every day in my classroom. I also learned how to navigate the city, which is an empowering feeling by itself. The city is beautiful and you can easily get around by public transportation, which is extremely cheap. It is also easy to travel to surrounding areas such as Prague, Vienna, or even Italy. There are so many beautiful views and monuments to go see in Budapest. The food is amazing, I recommend a place called Al Dente close to Rákóczi tér. It is so cheap to live in Hungary. You can get a meal for a fraction of the cost it would be in the US. Most importantly, I made the most amazing friends over in Hungary. It is a unique experience to be surrounded by so many like-minded people, especially when mathematics education is such a small cohort of people. I still remain in contact with my friends from this trip nearly every day. I recommend this study abroad trip to every mathematics education major because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Default avatar
Bethany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing First Abroad Experience!

I participated in the first Summer 2018 BSME program, and I couldn't have asked for a better first experience abroad. I am a mathematics major with interest in attending graduate school for secondary math education. The BSME program helped me to develop skills and acquire new ones for my future in teaching. I came back to the states with an abundance of knowledge of not only the Hungarian system of teaching mathematics, but also how we can add to the American system for the better. I am also very grateful for all of the relationships I made abroad. Everyone in the program was so welcoming, kind, and some of the best people I have ever met. I have made friendships that I will cherish forever. I would highly recommend this program for anyone interested in mathematics and learning more about a culture in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary!

Default avatar
Hanna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

BSME educates more than just math

Choosing to come to Budapest for a semester through BSME is one of the best decisions I have made. As a rising junior, my studies had begun to stagnate. I was feeling the senior slump since freshman year. Classes weren't giving me a better sense of "what I wanted to do with my life;" I was monotonous, dispassionate, and simply going through the motions. But BSME flipped that around from Day 1. BSME provides a safe learning environment for me to start rethinking the way I process math. I am pushed out of my comfort zone into exploring concepts that are unfamiliar and a culture that is completely new. The BSME curriculum allows me to visit Hungarian math classes and experience alternative teaching methods that we are not exposed to in the US while helping me improve my critical thinking and reasoning skills.

One of the famous Hungarian mathematicians is Posá, who developed a method called "discovery learning" where the goal is to lead students to deriving generalizations on their own through iterated problem solving. Even though only one of the BSME classes focuses on discovery learning, it has been the theme of my semester. Whether I am discovering underground pubs, a new cafe, friendships, how to cook for myself, or new math tools, I am learning in an environment where mistakes are celebrated and thinking outside the box is encouraged.

What would you improve about this program?
I love the current size of the program. I want more students to have access to BSME, but as the size grows, the program will lose the intimacy that it currently has.

I also wish there was more of a diversity in subject matter. DLP and PSM feel very similar, so it would have been nice to have a different alternative instead of one of those.

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Jill Fisher

Job Title
Program Administrator
Jill has a BA degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a double major in International Relations and Scandinavian Studies. As a student she has participated in three foreign exchange programs living in Finland, Israel and Denmark and as well as living in Slovenia for several months. She currently volunteers as a Rotary Youth Exchange country officer for Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. She has been working as the program administrator for BSME since it's inception in 2014. One of her favorite hobbies is improving her Danish language skills.
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What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory is the four weeks I spent living in Israel as a high school youth delegate. After all of these years I still remember the tastes, smells and sounds of this beautiful country and the feeling of being part of a group of students who were all experiencing something so life changing.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

A successful organization treats all of its employees as part of the team, listening to and considering input from everyone.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

If I were an undergraduate student now, I would definitely participate in BSME. The courses offered are rich with content not found in North American colleges.

Being young and living independently in the beautiful city of Budapest would be so positively life changing.

At the same time, I would be forming lifelong friendships with students from all over who have similar interests and goals.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

What makes BSME unique is that it is one of the few opportunities available (possibly the only) for students studying mathematics education. BSME has really filled a void.

Our Budapest team has put together an amazing program that provides incredible experiences for our students. I believe we are growing a generation of future math teachers that could change the way mathematics is taught in the USA.