While not large in terms of population (it has only 10 million inhabitants) Hungary has a wealth of culture and history, complemented by a language so completely different from its neighbours that almost no shared words exist! It can be said that ours is a land of great contrasts:
Hungary is landlocked like its neighbours Austria, Slovakia and Serbia though it still deserves the nickname “land of waters”, as it holds the largest lake in Europe (Lake Balaton) and is crossed by mighty rivers which divide and define its regions. Even its capital city is split by the Danube River, with Buda on the Western side and Pest on the Eastern bank. As well as water to cool off in, Hungary can be the perfect place to keep warm, as it is located over a very active geo-thermic area and has over a thousand thermal water springs and the second largest thermal Lake in the world for bathing (Lake Hévíz). “Taking the waters” for relaxation or as clinical treatments, is an important part of the Hungarian culture.
The Hungarian higher education is split to a system of colleges and universities, where colleges are directly affiliated with a university and operate as college faculties of the university. Universities generally award both college and university level courses. In the old system, college level training lasts three to four years, where as a university degree takes at least four years to complete and at most 5 years with the exception of the six year long medical program. Further, university studies were split in three stages roughly corresponding to the bachelor, master and PhD courses but with longer study periods.
Starting in 2005 and 2006, Hungarian institutions of higher education have started the transformation toward the regulations of the Bologna system. In the new system, both colleges and universities may launch bachelor, master and PhD programs provided that the necessary requirements are fulfilled. This also means that all awarded degrees are equivalent and transferable throughout the EU and many other countries.
As in other countries, some qualifications will not be available at bachelor level, but instead start with the award of a master degree. Examples of such qualifications are: medical studies, veterinary science, pharmaceutical studies and architecture to name a few.