Greetings from Budapest!
Spring 2014 students have arrived safely, begun their classes, and they are settling in to enjoy a great semester in Hungary. This semester we have 33 students—an all time record for the Budapest program—and we are certainly very happy to have such a big group. The first week was very busy with orientation, getting to know the city, set up volunteer work or internship opportunities, beginning to learn more about Hungarian culture, meeting the CIEE Faculty members, and finalizing course registrations. We finished the first day of orientation with an opening group dinner where students enjoyed trying out different kinds of Hungarian food.
Navigating the city and its public transportation first appeared to be a daunting task but, after the Scavenger Hunt assignment, students felt more comfortable. Students were divided into small groups and had to find places, significant landmarks, and even some food item. Students enjoyed all the sights, marveled the magnificent panorama of Budapest, and were able to get to know each other.
Winter is here in Budapest, and it is pretty cold, but students are enjoying various cultural events in addition to exploring the city on their own, and they have already discovered the many medicinal thermal baths of Budapest. Nothing takes better care of our students than a nice soak in indoor or outdoor thermal waters.
Following a good swim, students will enjoy a gastronomical event this weekend, a festival featuring and promoting the special Hungarian breed pig, called mangalica. There will be all kinds of food made from mangalica meat, plus arts and craft, and music. What way to celebrate the end of the first week of classes!
We welcome back Ágnes Fülemile, who is returning to us after serving two years as Director of the Balassi Institute’s Hungarian Cultural Center in New York. Last year the Center’s most significant task was the organization of the Smithsonian Institute’s Summer Folklife Festival in Washington, DC where Hungary was one of the featured guests. (https://www.festival.si.edu/2013/Hungarian_Heritage/ She teaches our course, Ethnicity, Folk Culture, and Rural Society in Historical Hungary.
Amy Liu, a Fall 2000 participant, returned to Budapest to conduct research. She is now an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is also among the six Fulbright grantees of our former participants. During orientation, Amy met our students and talked about her experiences and current work.
Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director
Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator