How did you come up with the idea of Engame Academy? 

The idea came up, when one of the founders was working on his university application to the US. He realized that for a Hungarian student it was very hard to get all the information and help to prepare a successful application for a top-ranking foreign university.

Engame Academy started from this realization: at first we only helped students with the university applications, in many cases right before the deadline. We soon realized, that most of Hungarian students needed much more to be successful not only during a university application but in their future abroad and here in Hungary alike. Since then we developed a 4-year programme for high-school students, in which we currently work with over 160 amazing youngsters.

What is your mission?

Our main goal is to help our students to find their place in the world – our programme gives them a lot of opportunities to find out what they are passionate about and what they are really good at. During this process we work with them on strengthening their key social and communication skills, including various soft skills, such as presentation, debating, teamwork and time management.  At the same time we give individual attention to every one of our students through ongoing individual mentoring.

Note: However the video is in Hungarian, there is an English subtitle.:) 

Why do students choose to study abroad and what are the average chances of a Hungarian student to get in and succeed?

The interest in Western higher education has been constantly growing in the last decade. One of the reasons is that Hungarian students now have countless opportunities to choose from, that had not been available for previous generations. Top-rated foreign universities in various European and overseas countries offer programmes with cutting-edge curriculums, world-renowned professors and well-equipped labs and libraries that are unfortunately not available in most Hungarian institutions.

Those Hungarian students, who have a lot of motivation, strong profiles – not only good school grades but also interested in extracurricular activities and professional projects – and start preparing for their applications early, have every chance to get in and succeed.

Engame was established 2010. What has changed since the first year? How could you grow the program during these 6 years?

We are constantly working on developing and growing our programme to serve our current and prospective students. In the last 6 years, we developed a complex 4-year English-language curriculum for the Advanced Secondary School programme for our high-school students, also we just started our German language programme for the same age group. Besides, we have a Graduate programme for university students and an Exam Prep School that provides courses and individual classes preparing for those international exams needed for university applications (eg. IELTS, SAT, GMAT).

What is your inspiration?

We get a lot of inspiration from progressive education methodologies around the world. Also, we are inspired by the business world, especially the startup culture – we want to prepare our students for the “real life”, looking at the skills one needs to thrive in a professional environment is an important part of our programme development process.

How many students do you have each year?

Currently, we have over 160 students in our Advanced Secondary School programme, which is the flagship programme of Engame Academy. We want to give the chance for more and more students each year to participate in our programme, we are currently accepting applications for the 2017/18 school year.

What are the characteristics of an average Engame-student? Who are you looking for at your programs?

For us, the key is motivation. If a students is eager to learn about new things (about the world and himself/herself as well) and enjoys being part of an inspiring community, it is very likely he/she is a good match for us. A confident level of English is also important, because all of our programmes are held in English (or German for the German programme).

For our Senior year students, who are preparing for their university applications, it is important that the students have good grades and a strong profile, as well as realistic expectations – this way they have better chances to get accepted into the university of their choice.

What are the motivations of the students who apply to your programs? Is this motivation internal or external in general?

In most of the cases they are looking for something more than their regular schools, and the public education has to offer. They want to be in an inspiring, creative environment, where they can try themselves in several fields, projects and activities. Many of our students want to find out what they want to study on a university level and dedicate their professional life to in the future.
In some cases, the initial  motivation comes from their parents or fellow students – especially in the case of our younger students – but once they start and they see their own progress, they quickly become “addicted” to our programme.

For our Senior and Graduate students, the motivation is very tangible – they want to be accepted to the foreign university programme that is the best fit for them, and need help for preparing and compiling the complex application portfolio, which often includes a series of essays, personal statements, CV-s, interview preparations, etc.

What are the opportunities of those passionate and single-minded students who do not have the needed supportive financial background?

We don’t want anyone to be left out because of financial reasons – this is why we offer need- and merit-based scholarships for our students. This year about a third of our students receive scholarships, which cover 20-100% of the tuition fee.

What makes Engame students succeed abroad?

One of our main focus is orientation, through which we help our students to find the academic field, the concrete programme and university that is best fitted for them. If they are at the right place, the skills and mindset they developed during our programme  will help them to get the most out of their university experience. They will be prepared for working on group projects, giving presentations and writing essays. Also, having completed Engame Academy’s programme they would feel comfortable in an English language environment since they had already experienced it, learned how to work, write, present in English.

What is the biggest accomplishment of Engame? And what was the biggest challenge during your journey?

Because of our student-centered approach, we consider our students’ individual-level achievements as our biggest accomplishments. When our students become great team-players, finish exciting projects on their own, give and receive valuable feedback from each other, find the field of study they are passionate about and get into their dream universities – these are the things we are really proud of.  We also keep in touch with our alumni and their university progress, and we appreciate and prize their achievements.

What are the plans for the future?

We are always looking for developing our programme and expanding our reach. We are planning to further develop our new German language programme, also we are planning to open up our programmes to younger students as well.

How do you see the development of higher education in Hungary? Is there any? What are the directions?

There are some academic fields where we see progress and the Hungarian universities that are performing well – for example the Hungarian medical and veterinary education have a good reputation Europe-wide. They are quite innovative, also are very affordable compared to UK or US universities in these fields.
In some other academic fields we see less innovation. A good professor can still make a lot of difference, but the overall system seems to be changing very slowly. The Hungarian higher education continues to struggle with outdated and overly theoretic curriculums, huge class sizes,  underpaid and underappreciated staff and limited financial resources.

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