A pathway for refugees in Hungary into full time higher education programs



A six-month funded education program for refugees in Hungary designed to prepare students for applying to, and succeeding in, full time education.


The Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) invites individuals based in Hungary who have refugee status or are in a refugee-like situation[1] to apply for its full-time 6-month fully funded university preparatory program (OLIve-UP).

The aim of the program is to assist students make competitive applications to universities in Europe. All instruction is in English. If you have an upper-intermediate (B2) level of English or above, and a desire to study in the social sciences/humanities, business/finance or information technology/data science then OLIve-UP may be for you.

We are now accepting applications for our program running from January to June 2023. The classes will take place on the premises of the Central European University (CEU).

Deadline for applications is December 11th. Early applications are appreciated (candidates will be interviewed on a rolling basis).

Information session – December 6th at 6:30 p.m. at the CEU campus, Nador utca 15, room 104. Registration is mandatory. Please register by emailing: open@openeducation.group

To apply for OLIve-UP please follow the instructions in the ‘how to apply’ section.


OLIve-UP IS A 6-month intensive academic preparation focusing on:

  • Disciplinary training in either:
    • a) social sciences/humanities
    • b) business/finance
    • c) information technology/data science
  • English for Academic Purposes OR Hungarian for Academic Purposes
  • Academic Skills and University Applications
  • Entrance Exam Preparation
  • Course auditing at another Hungarian university (subject to agreement)

The goals of the program are

  • to ensure that students will be able to make a competitive application to university
  • to ensure that students will have the academic and academic English skills and knowledge to succeed should they be accepted.

Each student will submit at least one applications during the program (if not more). Students will be closely guided as they do so, but the application and its contents will be the student’s and will reflect the level of academic and English learning they have reached. OLIve UP’s classes are conducted as small-group seminars, similar to classes at the CEU.

We aim to cultivate an environment that is welcoming to students of all faiths, genders, sexual orientations and ethnicities.

OLIve-UP has run since 2017, and approximately 70% of graduates have gone on to study for a degree program at a university in Europe.


Students accepted to the program are eligible for a scholarship to cover living and accommodation costs in Budapest as well as all tuition fees (700 euro per month). This scholarship is available for all accepted students except those already receiving funding for studying from a government or any other body. Students with child dependents will be eligible for added support (100 euro per child per month).


The program runs from January to June 2023. Teaching will be in person at the Budapest campus.


OLIve-UP accepts applications from individuals who have:

  • refugee status (or are in a refugee-like situation) in Hungary
  • a strong interest in applying for full time study
  • B2 English, corresponding to upper intermediate level

Women and those who identify outside of binary gender identities are typically under-represented in programs like ours are particularly encouraged to apply.


By December 11th, please email open@openeducation.group with the following:

  • CV (in English) – please include details of your education and your previous work, including, volunteering and/or community engagement.
  • Letter of Motivation (500 words in English)

A letter of motivation should tell us what degree program you’d like to be prepared for at OLIve-UP. You can mention more than one subject if you have many interests (we will help you narrow down your study area if you are accepted to OLIve-UP). Let us know why you are interested in university study, how your previous education and work experience helps prepare you for further study and what your future plans are. We are interested in all relevant educational and work experience, including incomplete study and volunteer work.

  • Transcript of Grades

Please upload scanned copies of your transcripts if you have these. If you do not have these, please upload a document stating clearly:

  • The education program(s) you studied
  • Date of completion (if you haven’t completed the degree program, please tell us how much you have done)
  • The subjects you studied
  • The language of the program
  • The Name of at Least One Referee

The referee should be able to write about your academic study to date, and could, for example, be a former teacher. If you are not able to contact someone familiar with your studies, you can also provide recommendations from a previous employer or supervisor. If this presents any problems, please contact us at open@openeducation.group


WEBSITE: www.openeducation.group/UP

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/OpenLearningInitiative

EMAIL: open@openeducation.group



[1] We follow the UNHCR’s definition of ‘refugee-like situation’: The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.