Program Overview

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education (BSME) is a study abroad program in Budapest, Hungary, designed for undergraduates and recent graduates interested in the learning and teaching of secondary mathematics. BSME was conceived by the founders of Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM), and the two programs share a common goal—to experience the mathematical and general culture of Hungary. BSME is specifically intended for those who are not only passionate about mathematics, but also the teaching of mathematics.

Home to eminent mathematicians such as Paul Erdős, John von Neumann, and George Pólya, Hungary has a long tradition of excellence in mathematics education. In the Hungarian approach to learning and teaching (which is the main focus of study at BSME), 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.

At BSME, participants immerse themselves in mathematical exploration to experience first-hand learning in the Hungarian approach; then they investigate how to bring this pedagogy into their own classrooms. They observe Hungarian mathematics classrooms and have the opportunity to plan and teach their own lessons to Hungarian students (in English). Above all, participants enjoy a shared experience with others who are passionate about teaching mathematics, forming a rich support network and professional community that will extend beyond their time in Budapest.

The BSME instructors are Hungarian teacher scholars who follow their own mathematical upbringing in Hungary and bring a creative spirit to the program. They challenge our participants to take part in creating, rather than just learning, the material. All courses are taught in English, and BSME instructors have had experience teaching both at the secondary level and college level. Class sizes are small. BSME classes are held at the College International Budapest, near the city center, together with other study abroad programs, including BSM. (Note: Summer@BSME participants will also complete a week-long field experience at a mathematics camp for secondary students.)

BSME courses are designed so that credits are transferable to American and Canadian colleges and universities. Transcripts are issued by St. Olaf College. For details about credit transfer, see this page or contact us if you have further questions.