Budapest, a city of two million, is situated on both sides of the river Duna (Danube). Eight graceful bridges link the charming hills of Buda on the river's west bank to cosmopolitan Pest on the east. The construction of the Royal Palace on Buda's Castle Hill was begun over 700 years ago. Actually, the history of this district dates even earlier; a thousand years before the Hungarian kings, Roman warriors maintained a military settlement there to guard the "limes" of the Empire. Buda and Pest were united in 1872 and the union grew into the friendly metropolis we see now in modern Budapest with its elegant boulevards, coffeehouses, and concert halls.
The architecture of Budapest displays the influence of many other cultures---from Turkish baths reminiscent of the country's 150 years of struggle with the Ottoman Empire, to the modern Hyatt Hotel on Roosevelt square which in turn faces the 140-year-old edifice of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The city dominates the cultural, economic, and political life of the nation. Budapest hosts eleven universities, two opera and ballet theaters, scores of theaters, museums, art collections, and parks plus many cinemas, discos, and sports arenas.
Learning English has been quite fashionable in the country for many years. In the University virtually all faculty speak English, as do many students, to a reasonable degree. The visitor will have no difficulty finding helpful people speaking English all around Budapest. Another foreign language spoken by many Hungarians is German.
Budapest Semesters in Mathematics courses comprise 14 weeks of teaching plus one week of exams. Each course usually meets three to four times per week for a total of 42 contact hours per semester. Normally, one Budapest Semesters in Mathematics course transfers either as 3 or 4 semester hours depending on an evaluation of course material done by the home institution. Classes are taught in English by eminent Hungarian professors, most of whom have had teaching experience in North American universities. In keeping with Hungarian tradition, teachers closely monitor each individual student's progress. Considerable time is devoted to problem solving and encouraging student creativity. Emphasis is on depth of understanding rather than on the quantity of material.
The imprint of the Hungarian tradition is particularly prominent in some of the courses.
"Combinatorics" concentrates on combinatorial structures and algorithms, a stronghold of Hungarian mathematics. The courses, along with "Theory of Computing", are a valuable introduction to Theoretical Computer Science.
"Conjecture and Proof", even more than other courses, introduces the student to the excitement of mathematical discovery. Concepts, methods, ideas, and paradoxes that have startled or puzzled mathematicians for centuries will be reinvented and examined under the guidance of enthusiastic and experienced instructors. The topics covered range from ancient problems of geometry and arithmetic to 20th century measure theory and mathematical logic.
Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education (BSME) is a semester-long program in Budapest, Hungary, designed for American and Canadian undergraduates and recent graduates interested in teaching middle school or high school mathematics. BSME was conceived by the founders of Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM), and the two programs share a common goal—to provide their participants with an opportunity to experience the mathematical and general culture of Hungary. BSME is specifically intended for students who are not only passionate about mathematics, but also the teaching of mathematics.
Home to eminent mathematicians such as Paul Erdos, John von Neumann, and George Pólya, Hungary has a long tradition of excellence in mathematics education. In the Hungarian approach to learning and teaching, a strong and explicit emphasis is placed on problem solving, mathematical creativity, and communication. Students learn concepts by working on problems with complexity and structure that promote perseverance and deep reflection. These mathematically meaningful problems emphasize procedural fluency, conceptual understanding, logical thinking, and connections between various topics. Teachers carefully sequence such problems to provide focus and coherence to their lessons. For every lesson, an overarching goal is for students to learn what it means to engage in mathematics and to feel the excitement of mathematical discovery.