Resilience, Renewal, Community - Experiences from NAFSA 2024


News | Higher education

Tempus Public Foundation participated with seven Hungarian higher education institutions in the 75th NAFSA Conference. The world’s largest international education event was organized in New Orleans at the end of May.

We interviewed two delegates from the participating institutions: Diána Katsidis, International Affairs Officer from the University of Szeged and Annabella Bihari, Head of International Programmes and Alumni Centre at Széchenyi István University in Győr.

Founded 75 years ago, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest international non-profit educational organization. Headquartered in Washington DC, the organization’s activities include advocacy for the internationalisation of higher education, professional support for international mobility, promotion of global partnerships and knowledge sharing. Its annual conference and exhibition is the most important professional event in higher education, bringing together nearly 10.000 education professionals this year from more than 100 countries to network and exchange ideas.

This year, participants could choose from 25 workshops and more than 100 session presentations. The latter focused on topics such as global trends affecting international student recruitment, programmes to support the well-being of international students, the role of universities in internationalisation for community engagement and the Sustainable Development Goals, artificial intelligence and the future of international education.

Tempus Public Foundation exhibited for the eighth time at NAFSA, this year with seven Hungarian universities. The Study in Hungary booth promoted the Hungarian higher education system’s training and scholarship programmes to an international professional audience.

In addition to networking, a significant achievement was the selection of four of the Public Foundation's poster presentations from among hundreds of applicants for the NAFSA poster session, on topics such as the integration of international students, the challenges of integration, student mental health, and mobility trends.


The key responsibility of the representatives of higher education institutions was to hold personal meetings with the representatives of partner institutions. In addition to pre-arranged meetings, they met with prospective partners at the booth and built professional relationships at receptions and workshop sessions.

Széchenyi István University participated in the NAFSA exhibition for the first time this year. The institution is particularly active on the field of internationalisation: out of a student population of 14.000 around 1.000 international students from 80 countries study at the university, where 42 English-language programmes are available.
Annabella Bihari, Head of Department said Széchenyi István University’s participation was primarily aimed at establishing new partnerships and strengthening existing ones in line with the university's strategy. The number of partner meetings exceeded fifty, and they also participated in several session presentations, including the Africa Forum session, which provided useful perspectives on the growing number of African students and the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme. They were also present at the reception of several potential partners, where they met representatives of the institutions and further discussed cooperation.

"In our experience, in addition to online presence, face-to-face participation and interaction is essential and beneficial for effective networking in higher education." - said Annabella Bihari, Head of Department.

The University of Szeged has participated in NAFSA as part of the Study in Hungary delegation on several occasions in previous years. Out of their 24.000 students, more than 5.000 international students from nearly 130 countries study at the institution. The university, where two of our Nobel Prize-winning researchers - Katalin Karikó and Albert Szent-Györgyi - began their careers, offers 70 international programmes in English, German, French and other foreign languages.

Diána Katsidis, the university's international affairs officer stressed the importance of promoting the Stipendium Hungaricum programme among partner universities and agencies, and the importance of building professional cooperation and developing existing relationships as the aim of their participation:

"The five days of the NAFSA 2024 conference and exhibition produced significant results, with a variety of partnerships and new contacts being made. I had a number of discussions during the conference, all of which offered unique opportunities and future collaborations."

Partner discussions included research and teaching collaboration with other universities, expanding student recruitment, administrative improvements, increasing student and faculty mobility, and the use of effective digital tools.

"Overall, the NAFSA exhibition was a great success. Many new contacts and collaborations were established that will benefit the Stipendium Hungaricum programme in the long term. The results of the discussions will provide opportunities to expand and develop the programme, thus increasing Hungary's international educational attractiveness", summarised Diána Katsidis.

Following the exhibition, there are still several important tasks for the institutions to ensure that the results of the consultations are used effectively. Partner follow-up, institutional knowledge transfer, operational administration and the integration of the exhibition's experience and knowledge into the university's international strategy are key to making the cooperation work that has been initiated a reality. However, experience has shown that the work invested is worthwhile, with several important international educational collaborations being launched at the Study in Hungary stand this year.

Next year, San Diego will host the annual NAFSA exhibition from 27-30 May 2025.
We do hope to see current and prospective partners there.

The following domestic higher education institutions participated in the Study in Hungary delegation at NAFSA:

  • Széchenyi István University, Győr
  • University of Szeged
  • Corvinus University of Budapest
  • University of Debrecen
  • Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
  • Óbuda University, Budapest
  • University of Pécs

Last modified: 08-07-2024