“For students who want to party on the weekends, I would not recommend a boarding school system, the one we have in Cate School.” 

Would you like to know what life is like at Cate School and how a Hungarian high school student can get involved in the only US college credit-bearing research program for high school students?

Balázs Kondor, a junior student at Milestone and student of Kazinczy Ferenc High School and College in Győr, is currently spending his academic year in the United States and kindly told us about his experiences.

BZN: Tell us Balázs, how is an American school different from a Hungarian one? What does student life look like out there?

BK: Sure! I currently attend one of the most prestigious and expensive private schools in America, Cate School in California, so it cannot be compared to a Hungarian state school. To give you a better idea of the difference, the annual budget of the institution is about 90 million dollars, which equals several milliard forints. Of course, such a financial background offers great opportunities in all walks of life. For example, we are regularly taken on backpacking, surfing, rock climbing, or camping trips. Moreover, the campus is extremely well equipped, given its 150 hectares, so there are lots of sports facilities on campus: 8 tennis courts, 2 swimming pools and 3 football pitches, and many more. As the school is very diverse in terms of culture, nationality and identity, student life is full of excitement and discovery. I do not find the teaching stressful, but the teachers teach and see the subjects from a completely different perspective than in Hungary. For example, there is a huge emphasis on critical thinking, morality and valuable life skills. However, for students who want to party on weekends, I would not recommend boarding school. 

BZN: How did you find out about this amazing opportunity?

BK: Through Milestone. The Institute’s philosophy is to function as a Knowledge Port in students’ lives. For me, this approach became important when I wanted to study in the United States. My previous mentor, Olivia Fero, recommended that I should apply to the ASSIST Scholarship, and helped me prepare for the entire application process. Additionally, András Balázsy, the debate coach of Milestone, prepared me for various international competitions, which helped me put together a strong, competitive application to ASSIST. Even after receiving full scholarship from Cate School, my connection with Milestone did not get weaker. During my time in the US, my current mentor, László Zala, helped me with the application process of several programs, including the Pioneer Research Program, too. Milestone gave me way more than education, they offered me opportunities to succeed in every field of life.

BZN: What is your research area in the Pioneer Research Program?

BK: The title of my research at the Pioneer Research Program is: The Politics of the Gig Economy: Entrepreneurship, Technological Innovation and Politics (Economics). This research concentration introduces students to ongoing technological, political and economic transformations unleashed by the “Gig Economy” that are redefining the meaning of work, prosperity, innovation and entrepreneurship in post-industrial capitalist economies. The program covers: foundational texts of political economy (Locke, Marx, Hayek, Keynes, Friedman, Schumpeter); theoretical debates about capitalism, the profit motive, private property, inequality, and the social responsibility of business; case studies of entrepreneurship, technological innovation, government regulation (especially, AirBnB and Uber, as well as other politically and economically “disruptive” technologies); and domestic and international public policy debates. The above mentioned curriculum will be taught in group classes from mid-February to May. Then, from May to the end of July, I will work with a US university professor who will guide and assist my research. By the end of the several months of research, I will write a 20-30 pages long research paper and will receive university credit for my research. I think many parallels can be drawn between Milestone’s and Pioneer’s teaching methods, which helped me to process the material at my university-level classes much easier.