A School That Opens Fresh Opportunities
Headteacher Zsuzsa Szilánk talks with the Budapest Business Journal about what the Maimonidész English-Hungarian Jewish Secondary Grammar School in Budapest has to offer students interested in learning the English language, getting familiar with the Jewish religion, and opportunities to study abroad.
BBJ: The school is now three years old. How was it founded?
Zsuzsa Szilánk: Our school is operated by the EMIH [United Hungarian Israelite Religious Community] Óbuda Religious Community, which gives away that our institution is affiliated with a religious organization.
BBJ: What kind of unique features does the school offer in Budapest?
ZsSz: Thanks to the small classes, which we determined at 15-20 persons, our pupils get a great deal of attention, and not only from the education aspect. We can immediately react to their individual development and possible coming-of-age type of challenges too. This is further supported by the developmental- and remedial teachers working at our school, as well as the school psychologist, and our educator who teaches the methodology of studying.
Our teachers create a close, sometimes almost friendly relationship with our students, and we are also putting great emphasis on life outside the institution. We react quickly to any change involving a student, and after the appropriate communications process, also becomes a partner and helper of the parents of our students. We find the most fitting way forward together to handle any “problems”. We have a student whose mother came in to see me after the first semester, and told me with tears in her eyes that her child’s behavior at home had changed as well, and expressing gratitude for our cooperative help.
BBJ: What benefits does bilingual education offer?
ZsSz: My mother always told me that, “every new language brings a new opportunity to your life.” Today, language is indispensable; as a matter of fact it is a basic requirement. Our students can use the English language without an accent. Our native speaker teachers help students not only in getting to know the language, but also the Jewish communities living in English-speaking areas. Every year, our students fly out on a study trip to America, Israel, and England. During this time, they practice the language and meet Jewish communities living in other countries. Friendships and acquaintances form, opening up further opportunities for our students.
BBJ: What kind of international educational institutions does the school cooperate with?
ZsSz: We are cooperating with American, English, and Israeli secondary schools; our students are able to take part in our scholarship program participating in trips to these schools. This scholarship program takes into account individual development, by looking at school performance as well as participation in school life as the basis of evaluation.
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