Greetings from Budapest!
Fall 2014 semester has started in Budapest with a big group of 30 students. Everyone is doing well, classes are underway, and we anticipate yet another great semester. The first week was very busy with orientation, getting to know the city, arranging volunteer work or internship opportunities, beginning to learn more about Hungarian culture and language, meeting the CIEE Faculty members, and finalizing course registrations.
During orientation week we also made a great city tour to get to know Budapest and its transportation system. Visiting Heroes’ Square was quite popular among students. The monument is part of the World Heritage Site and was built for the 1896 Millennium celebrations, to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarians arriving to the Carpathian Basin. Every part of the monument plays tribute to key figures of Hungarian history.
A highlight of the orientation week was taking a boat ride on the Danube to see the best views of the city. The boat departs from the center of Budapest, from Vigadó Square and makes an hour round trip to Margaret Bridge, then to Rákóczi Bridge. Students had the chance to marvel the two distinct parts of the city, “Buda” and “Pest”, and how beautiful Budapest can be at night.
Corvinus University of Budapest and the Liberty bridge during our panoramic boat ride on the Danube at night
Navigating the city and its public transportation first appeared to be a daunting task but, after the Scavenger Hunt, students felt comfortable. Students were assigned to small groups for the assignment, were able to get to know each other, and had a lot of fun discovering great places of the city.
Emily, James, Tommy, Gabi, Sarah, Bria, Traver and Mason at Fisherman's Bastion during their Scavenger Hunt
Students are advised to attend various cultural events in addition to explore the city on their own, or enjoy the medicinal waters of the many thermal baths in the city. Several students attended the Wine Festival here in Budapest as wine is a major characteristic feature of Hungarian culture and gastronomy. Also, last weekend Budapest was full with festivals - just to mention a few – Sweet Days Budapest, Hungary’s most important chocolate and sweets festival, the Nemzeti Vágta (National Gallop), a grand international horse race around the monuments of Heroes' Square, with local riders dressed in Hussar uniform in a proud display of Hungarian traditions.
This weekend we are traveling to the Danube bend which is probably the most picturesque historical part of Hungary. Also, we will participate in a memorial excursion to commemorate the heroic deeds of the young men of Budapest during the 1956 Revolution and War of Independence. This excursion will have Hungarian students joining us to learn and to have fun together. We hope to have at least an even score in the planned friendly soccer match!
Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director
Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator