University Survey – How Students See Veszprém’s ECOC Bid

Despite the fact that University of Pannonia campus partsare centrally located in Veszprém, theinstitutionstillfunctionsas a closed and secludedworldtothepresentday. University studentsaresorelymissedfromthecity’scultural life. We hopethe ECOC bidcouldchangethis. We would like to actively involve university students in thecity’s life, and especially in thework of the ECOC team. 

In orderto map out the best ways to achieve this, we conducted a survey among university students and staff. This survey shows how students spend their time, what they think about the ECOC bid, and what possible connection points they see between the gown and the town.

In brief about the survey:

  • it contains research by questionnaire and focus group interviews;
  • the questionnaire was filled in by 374 Hungarian and 51 foreign students in total.

Among other results, the survey shows what students like about Veszprém, and, even more importantly,  what keeps them here after graduation.

  • Unsurprisingly, career opportunities and well-paying jobstopped the list, but a liveable urban environmental so proved to be highly important.
  • Proximityto Lake Balaton wasstressedbymany. Decisive factors among international students turned out to be affordable costs and a calm and predictables malltown scene.
  • ForHungarianstudents, the cleanliness of the town, good transport (accessibility), and safety contributed to their appreciation of Veszprém as a pleasant place to live.

University students hardly participate in thecity’s life; this holds especially true for cultural activities.

  • They are mostly interested in pop and rock concerts, thecinema, and a range of sportsevents.
  • They do not tend to visit the museums and the the atres.
  • A large number of foreign students have entered the university; it is largely because language barriers that they cannot get access to the city’s cultural potential. The University is the most frequent host to program mesintended for the international community; forthisreason, many of them will regularly visit University events.

An aim of the survey was to find out towhat extent we may counton university students, should we winthe ECOC title.

  • Young people are enthusiastic about the ECOC initiative, although half of the Hungarian and up to two-thirds of foreign students were not aware of the fact that Veszprém is running.
  • Concerning volunteer work, a little over half of Hungarian and two-thirds of foreign students surveyed would gladly join up as volunteers in ECOC programmes.
  • The young people would mostly like to help out at music events, or children’s and art programmes.

The fact that a higher number of international students has offered to volunteer than Hungarians is not directly connected to their measure of enthusiasm, but rather to the irspecific daily schedules. Foreign students tend to spend more time in Veszprém, with their attention divided between friends and family to a much lesser extent. Their Hungarian counterparts characteristically stay in the city from Mondays to Thursdays only. At the same time, the survey has clearly shown that foreign students often feel like outsiders in our city, and not only because of the language barrier, but also because of the behaviour of locals. For this reason, many have doubts whether their participation in ECOC programmes would be welcome.

With respect to volunteerwork, the issue of incentives has emergedas a key factor. Several ideas have surfacedas to how young people could be best motivated to take part in ECOC programmes, such as part-time jobs or mentoring programmes, or offering university study credits linked to specific projects. Young adults are also open to accept and work on ECOC-related dissertation, Scientific Students’ Associationor PhD topics offered to them.