Trina Arsenault, director and elementary school principal, talks to the Budapest Business Journal about the unique International School Debrecen (ISD), which opened in September 2019 and has just completed its first school year.
BBJ: How was the IB system welcomed in Debrecen? Is it true that the school is unique in the region and the teaching methods are different from a public school?
Trina Arsenault: Yes, we had a very warm welcome with many inquiries into our programs. The eastern part of Hungary, especially Debrecen, is developing, with numerous multi-national companies settling into the region. The city authorities reacted quickly to the demand for well-educated, English speaking teachers, and a school with an international program, resulting in the opening of the ISD. The school makes this area even more attractive for investors. As Debrecen is the capital of the region, the long-term plan of the municipal government envisaged the school as a part of the Modern Cities Program of Debrecen.
The teaching methods of the ISD are in line with the methodology of the IB (International Baccalaureate) World School system. This view has many advantages in regards of the development of the children. It supports open-minded, curious, intelligent, empathic young people with fantastic problem-solving skills. They are well equipped to be at the forefront of global competition and understanding by fostering a lifelong love of learning in every child. With the help of independently accomplished projects, research and teamwork, our students will be equipped with the knowledge they need to be successful in a continuously changing society.
BBJ: What are the future plans after your first year of operation?
TA: We are happy that we have achieved higher student numbers than expected within our first year of operation. Our long-term plan is to run the school with a maximum capacity of approximately 500 children. The comprehensive educational system lasts from kindergarten to graduation where we plan to offer an Early Years, Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programs, which will serve to guide the pupils on to the best higher education institutions. Due to our flexibility, both foreign and Hungarian students can attend the school. The authorization for the IB Primary Years Program is already in process and should be finalized in fall 2021.
BBJ: The building looks outstanding. What was the concept behind it?
TA: The school building was designed by the BORD Architectural Studio, which won gold classification at the A’Design Awards 2019-2020 and thereby became one of the world’s 40 best architectural constructions. This award has honored the most talented designers in architecture of 180 countries in the past 11 years, and the building is one of the 40 most outstanding architectural projects of the world. The concept was based on the form of a circle. This simple, yet symbolic shape traditionally means protection, union and community, while it softly blends into the neighboring forest area of the Nagyerdő protected nature reserve.
International School of Debrecen