By Louis Hazeldine-Cosgrove, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.
Having visited Budapest last year whilst inter-railing. It does not compare to the realisation that you are actually living here. Arriving with a lack of sleep from an early flight and witnessing, first hand, the hustle and bustle of the city can be very overwhelming.
Being honest, within the first 6 hours of arriving, I had been shouted at a handful of times by the Hungarian public. Which was shortly followed in a flourish of murmured Hungarian words. Which I still do not understand, despite taking language courses!
However, with the few Hungarian words I did know beforehand, life does get easier. With ‘Szia’ (hello), ‘Köszönöm’ (thank you) and ‘Egészségedre!’ (cheers); you can quickly get used to life in Budapest.
ELTE does offer free Hungarian language courses, for international students, which i highly recommend taking! But it is not for the feint hearted, as it can be quite difficult.
From the lively student area in District VII, to District I showcasing the magnificent Parliament buildings. Budapest is accommodating to everyone and many things you discover will take you by surprise. For example, whilst visiting District I, my friend and I stumbled across this huge beer festival, ‘Belvarosi Sör Fesztival.’ With many pop-up food and drink stalls, these sort of events seem to be quite common! In addition, to a jazz festival, which took place within a couple minutes’ walk from my flat. I was not too sure what to expect, but i can say with confidence that I am now a fan of Hungarian Jazz!
The biggest culture shock in my opinion, is if you are a native English speaker. Many students here are from all over the globe. So far, I have met: Turkish, Dutch, French, Brazilian, Spanish, Portuguese, German (the list goes on.) For a word of warning, you will need to speak slower… otherwise nobody is going to understand you!
However, this does come with a bright side as Hungary appears to epicentre of eastern Europe. As a student you will now have access to possibly one of the biggest international networks available. Different cultures, card games, languages, and music to learn! I can assure you; you will not be limited to all things Hungarian.
When you come here to study, you will quickly come to terms with a group called, ‘Erasmus Life Budapest.’ They offer many events, many of which have free entry and offer huge discounts for students who sign up! This is certainty something you do not want to miss out on. Boat parties; beer-pong championships; Hiking trips, trips to different countries and much more!
Budapest is truly one of the best cities in Europe. I may be slightly bias, but if you have ever visited here, I am sure you will agree.
There are many beautiful nature spots, including Margaret Island, which is always very popular in the day. It is home to many groups of friends, sporting activities, a musical fountain and even an outside gym.
One of my personal favourites is Gellert Hill. Which offers some fantastics sights of Budapest. Whether you climb the hill in the day or night, you will be able to see everything! With friends or on your own, there are countless viewing spots. It will truly restore your confidence that you picked the right University for your year abroad!