Many of you may have heard of the Faculty Unions (FU) and Student Union (SU) of BME. These organizations work for the students of each faculty or in the case of the Student Union – the students of the whole University. Each faculty has its own Union which connects the students with the professors, handles the questions and problems regarding academic affairs, and organizes programs. Every FU sends two members to be present in the Student Union which plays the same role across the university and unites the Faculties. The students working in these Unions are usually Hungarians, but there are a few International members as well, who work passionately for the integration of foreign students. In this article, you can read our Interview with Burak Colak from the FU of VIK.


Hello, can  you share a few things about yourself and your relation to the Faculty Union (FU)?

Hi, my name is Burak, I’m from Turkey. I finished high school in the USA and after that, I moved to Hungary to start my BSc. I’m studying electrical engineering. I’m in my last year now.  

I worked in the VIK (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Engineering) faculty union’s technical team. The faculty union is a group of students who are dedicated to help the students on their faculty with several issues during their studies at the university. They act for the students. They are the ones who bring the students  problem to the dean himself to the student union. I know that there is also a team that deals with foreigners, but most of the time it deals with Erasmus students. 


How can students connect with the FU and how can they join?

Students can reach out to the faculty union via their website. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much information in English. About the application, there is an intake at the beginning of every semester. Just like the Hungarians, international students can apply to introduction courses. Here the members of the FU are talking about what the FU does, what duties and goals they have.


What was your motivation to  join?

As far as I know, I was the first foreign student who started participating in the work of the FU, nevertheless, it started well. They were so friendly and open and tried their best to involve me in the projects. Also, it was a great task to reach out to other foreign students however, sadly, there are many steps to achieving this goal. One of the ones is, that most stuff is written in Hungarian and only in Hungarian without English translation. The problem with this is, that these regulations also apply to foreign students. These documents are written by the VIK FU, where there aren’t any foreign students. This means that we’re not taking part in making those rules, which apply to us. One of the problems is that the students who come with a scholarship don’t know about the rules of the University (Code of Studies), because this information is hard to find in English (link az angol TVSZ-hez).

That was my main reason for joining the faculty union, and, to connect with the student clubs as well. 

Is it difficult to connect the Student Clubs?

Well, the same problems occur as do with the FU. Mostly the language barrier.

They are on the way of finding solutions although there were failed efforts as well. However, we managed to make ourselves visible to the dean. I’m very happy about that, because he started to send more information to the international coordinator, who is a person who works in the Q building. They started to put more effort in our cases, and we appreciate it.  

Back to the student clubs, to solve this problem, we should start from the root of it, through the Student Union (which is basically the unity of the Faculty Unions). On every faculty they are connected to the student clubs, the FU, and the dean as well. In the beginning, I tried hard to find my place in this system. I was so motivated to try to change these things. Unfortunately, the deeper I got into the thing, the harder it got.


What do you see as solution?

Due to the structure of the system, they are unprepared to deal with foreigners. Still I recommend everyone to try as hard as they can if they would like to find a student club.  If we don’t try recklessly, things will never change. This means we, international students, must work together. I think it would be much easier if more foreign students tried to push it through in the student clubs they want to get into. BME is getting more international over the years. Because of that it’s important to make progress and make good things happen in the community of the University. To show every one of the foreigners how good it can be.  We must join the student clubs because University life is not only about going to classes and the old practice thing. There is so much more to it than just graduating at the end of it.


Did you manage to join some kind of student club? 

I also joined the Solar Boat team; it was hard to integrate into it because I was the first and the only foreigner in the club. It was a really good experience for me because they were also friendly and tried to change things. They are open about taking foreigners in, yet there is a language barrier between the students. Luckily everyone is trying their best to deal with it. 

It’s going to be a long process but in these two years of my studies as I see we are already making great progress and it will get better and better. 


We hope you enjoyed the first part of the interview with Burak, watch out for the second part soon.