Things to do you apply

Decide if you are ready...

Studying abroad is a big decision: you will be away from friends and family for a while, but you will also be gaining valuable knowledge and life experience, and of course many, many, many new friends. 

To live abroad alone takes guts, healthy confidence, a sense of adventure, decent financial skills, adaptability and a certain level of maturity. 

It is also important for you to understand that while a scholarship is a huge opportunity, it is also an obligation: you have to study hard to earn the degree you want to work towards. You also have to accept the Hungarian culture and way of life with all its beauty and flaws (yes, there are a few). Last, but not least, as an international student you are also shaping the image that Hungarians will have of South Africa and its people, and that comes with a certain responsibility. 

Get familiar with Hungary

Since you will be spending 2-3 years in Hungary, do some research on the country. There are many resources and articles online, plenty of videos on Youtube, that can give you and idea of what life in Hungary can be like. 

Below you will see a somewhat amateur pic I took recently from a brochure. I believe it gives a nice summary of the layout of the various university towns in Hungary. 

Budapest is the single really big city with approx 2M inhabitants, followed by Debrecen, Szeged, Pécs (between 260-150 thousand inhabitants respectively). Even smaller towns are Győr, Miskolc, Veszprém, Kaposvár, Baja, Sopron, Kecskemét, Dunaújváros, Eger and Kőszeg, but that does in no way make them less fun for students. 

Hungary is almost exactly the size of Kwa-Zulu Natal, so travelling around the country is no biggie and relatively cheap with our well developed public transport system. 

The Application Process

The applications for the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship usually open around November each year. If you get into the programme, you would start your studies in September (the following year). The scholarship being closed for applications does not mean you cannot go and do research in advance on what documents you will need, and how the process itself works. 

You can even register (create an account) and check out the various courses and institutions, but until November, you will not be able to actually submit the application. 

Note: when you are browsing the various courses, you will see the list of countries that the particular course is  offered to in the framework of the SH scholarship. Make sure that SA is on the list when you choose your study course. 

The process itself is pretty much the same every year however, there are usually changes in the available study courses. 

Each applicant can nominate 3 preferences, and the Tempus Public Foundation (the body co-ordinating the Hungarian scholarship in Hungary)  will work according to your list. 

Very important
  • In the framework of the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship, you cannot apply directly to your chosen Hungarian University. If you apply directly, you will be considered a self-financed student, not a scholarship applicant. Application is only through the Stipendium Hungaricum official website/online application system. 
  • The application deadline is strict!
  • Whenever you see reference to Sending Partner, it means the co-ordinating body of the sending country. there are close to 70 countries and Sending Partners in the SH programme. In South Africa the Sending Partner is the International Scholarships Department within the Department of Higher Education and Training. They are very nice people, but they also know what they are doing. They are good at screening! So if you think you are going to Hungary to live the rock`n`roll lifestyle on government money, don`t bother applying, they will smell you out instantly :-).
  • The SH scholarship only allows full courses, be it Bachelor`s, Master`s or PhD. That means you cannot hop around and complete one year in SA and the second year in Hungary of your e.g. Bachelor`s degree in biology. If you apply to the SH programme, you will have to do a  full degree course from start to finish in Hungary. 
  • All courses offered in the SH scholarship are based on the indication of the Sending Partner on where their country has skills scarcity. Hungary has way more study options available for international students than what is offered in the scholarship programme, but these are available on a self-financed basis.

Random tips:

Tip 1.

Once you have sent your application, and you meet the entry requirements of your chose course, you will be interviewed by the Department of Higher Education and Training of South Africa. 

Before the interview, think the following through: 

  • why did you apply for the Hungarian scholarship?
  • why have you chosen that particular course?
  • when you return to South Africa, how would you like to put the acquired knowledge to good use?  (don`t think of big things! You don`t have to save the planet single handedly, but have an idea of how you will contribute to make SA a better place)
Tip 2.

If you get shortlisted and you don`t have a passport…you better get to Home Affairs. You will also need a visa to travel to Hungary, but the Dept. of Higher Education of SA will assist you with that. 

Tip 3. - if you are not accepted into the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme

A European degree is your key to the world`s most developed job markets, and you can still get yours in Hungary.

Hungary, like every other country in the wold, has universities that offer paid courses as well for students. Your list of options in this case is much, much broader, because scholarships focus on a set of preferred courses only. If you are in a situation where you are able to finance your own studies, you can apply for self-financed courses as well- in this case, directly to the University itself. 

Hungary is becoming an increasingly popular study abroad destination among English speaking students opting for self-financed university courses, and has gained great credibility in its very strong tradition in science, medicine, IT, economics and engineering education as well as its research programmes. You can even get a British business degree in finance, HR, marketing or management (MBA) at the International Business School in Budapest (

Degrees obtained in Hungary are widely accepted and have a high prestige throughout the world, and the country has attracted several knowledge and research intensive multinational companies in a multitude of industries (automotive, engineering, IT, pharmaceutical etc.).

Hungary is a member of the European Union and the Schengen states, (you can travel to most of Europe using your Hungarian student visa) however, it is not part of the Euro Zone as it has its own currency, the Hungarian Forint (1 Rand = 18-22 HUF). This makes living and studying in Hungary very affordable for students financing their own studies.

Hungary offers a safe and friendly living environment with convenient public transportation. Its central location in Europe and its natural beauties combined with a 1000 year-old, rich history and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites makes it a top choice for students.

Hungary is also one of the countries with the highest number of scientific Nobel Prize Winners per capita, with numerous scientific inventions: vitamin C, holography, Rubik’s cube, helicopter, Word/Excel, ball point pen, soda water, the Gömböc etc.

List of all tertiary institutes in Hungary


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