Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here
CIEE

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

03/03/2016

SPRING 2016, ISSUE I

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

Greetings from Budapest!

Spring 2016 students have arrived safely, begun their classes and they are settling in to enjoy a great semester in Hungary. This semester we have 36 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.

ZachBudapest at night with the Buda Castle and Chain bridge in the background

City tour – Heroes’ Square

During orientation week we also made a great city tour to get to know Budapest and its transportation system as well. 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. In the second week, we left Budapest to see other spectacular parts of Hungary.

DSCF2741Heroes' Square: Our first history class

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.

IMG_0826Carolyn, Pear, Tim and Mary are enjoying  the view for the city during Scavenger Hunt

Central Market

The Central Market Hall is also an important element of the Scavenger Hunt task. The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. Among other things, on the ground floor you can find a large selection of meats, fruits and vegetables. On the second floor, there are food stands and plenty of vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, embroidery and other souvenirs. Students need to find the “rétes” (strudel) stand and pick two likely favorites. They should not miss the delicious “túrós táska” (pastry filled with sweet cottage cheese) and “kakaós csiga” (cocoa snail).

DSCF2737     The beautiful Great Market Hall in Budapest

Student Activities

We are having a long weekend in the middle of March because of a National Holiday commemorating the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49. Some students will make use of this small ‘spring break’ and travel outside of Hungary. Other students, who stay for the long weekend in Budapest, will participate at the celebrations and events on March 15.

Upcoming events - 25th anniversary of the CIEE Budapest program

On Friday, March 4, CIEE will celebrate 25 years of study abroad in Budapest, Hungary. There will be an anniversary celebration event at Corvinus University in Budapest: guests will be here from CIEE Portland, Corvinus University, US Embassy, partner institutions, our faculty, HAESF alumni and the Spring 2016 group. More details coming in our next Newsletter!

25years_2

 

Best regards,

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

12/14/2015

FALL 2015, ISSUE IV

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

Greetings from Budapest!

Warm greetings from Budapest where we have been having typical winter weather: gray, overcast sky and short days. Snow has not fallen yet. Holiday lights are everywhere and students have been enjoying the Christmas market in the middle of the city at Vörösmarty square. They look for presents or just stroll around tasting chimney cake or mulled wine. Next week is final exams and due dates for term papers. We will close the semester with a Farewell Dinner together with students and faculty.

But before we say good bye, we would like to share with you highlights of a significant element of our program:

Internship and volunteer work

Students in Budapest are encouraged to spend some of their time volunteering or doing an internship, which is a major vehicle for us to increase student integration into host culture and to positively impact our local environment. This semester more than 70 % of the students are engaged in volunteer work! Here are some highlights:

Secret Sauce Partners

Secret Sauce Partners, Inc. provides online merchandising tools for the fashion and apparel industry, pioneering the way consumers shop for clothes. Based in San Francisco, this company reaches all the way across the Atlantic to the SSP offices in Budapest, Hungary. Their flagship product – Fit Predictor – can already be seen on partner websites like Saks Fifth Avenue, Gilt.com, Bloomingdale’s, Lands End, and many others. This semester five students completed an internship at this startup company. Please read Zoe’s thoughts about her experience and tasks:

Secret sauce ladiesKatherine and Zoe working hard at Secret Sauce Partners

“I worked as a data intern for Secret Sauce Partners this semester. Secret Sauce Partners is a technology startup company that has developed online products for fashion retailers to utilize on their websites. At Secret Sauce, I was responsible for reviewing various data feeds from fashion retailers and determining if certain requirements were met to ensure that Secret Sauce could integrate their products. I really enjoyed my internship because I had the opportunity to meet and work with really smart people who are passionate about what they do. My internship definitely enhanced my entire study abroad experience because I felt like I was truly immersed in the culture. “ /Zoe, Fall 2015/

National Gallery

Sophie is completing an internship at the Hungarian National Gallery which houses the largest collection of Hungarian art in the country.  Some of the responsibilities she has are giving tours around the museum in English and helping the Education Department run activities in English for children, adults and seniors.

IMG_1451Sophie in the National Gallery giving a tour in front of "Burial of László Hunyadi" painted by Viktor Madarász (1859)

American Corner

Emily is volunteering with the American Corner (AC) in Budapest. The AC is a US information center where she has administrative duties. Emily helps with program planning, and delivers presentations about the US and American culture.  Administrative tasks, proofreading, corner talks, presentations are also among her tasks. The main aim of the AC is to create cultural bridges between the US and Hungary.

As part of its Elementary School Outreach Program, American Corner Budapest participated in the Thanksgiving Day celebration of a local elementary school in Budapest where Emily delivered a presentation about the history and traditions of Thanksgiving in the United States. During another program of International Education Week, Emily presented in front of a hundred of 5th and 6th graders.

IMG_3538Emily with Hungarian students

Thanksgiving Dinner

Though Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Hungary, we celebrated it with a wonderful group dinner in the dormitory. Food was plentiful as students also contributed some of their special favorites such as Minnesotan specialty food with wild rice and mashed sweet potatoes.

Thanksgiving 1A joint effort to prepare our Thanksgiving dinner

044We are ready to eat the delicious turkey

050Students having fun at the Thanksgiving dinner

Traveling within Hungary

Budapest is practically in the heart of Europe and students like to take advantage of the proximity of other major cities in the region. With cheap flights available, students use their three-day weekends to explore the rest of Europe, but they also explore Hungary. Eger and Lake Balaton were popular destinations among our students. Eger is a gem of medieval monuments, home of one the most famous Hungarian fortresses, whose heroes and heroines successfully defended it during the Turkish invasion. Lake Balaton is also called the “Hungarian Sea” being the largest freshwater lake in Europe. We would like to share some photos about our students visiting Eger and Lake Balaton.

IMG_1985Jacob and Liana on top of the castle in Eger

IMG_2067Kellsie enjoying the view of the beautiful Lake Balaton

Freshmen’s ball (Stork’s ball in Hungarian)

The freshmen’s ball season is around November in the middle of the first term of the academic year. Because this is the final event of the initiatory ceremony, many senior students come to watch freshmen, as they become real members of the university society. This is a great event which takes place in the main building of the Corvinus University, with four floors and six separate stages.

2Dressed and ready for the Freshmen's ball

3Just having fun!

Mikulás

The Hungarian Santa is actually called Mikulás and it is celebrated on December 6th, on St. Nicholas' Day. In anticipation of Mikulás’ visit, children put their polished shoes in their windows the night before and Mikulás leaves presents in them: all kinds of chocolates and candy. This year Mikulás also visited the  CIEE office to leave some goodies for our students.

20151207_135131 20151207_140453Students are proudly showing their “Mikulás bags” filled with chocolate and peanuts.


With this newsletter we say good bye for this semester. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to sending you news again in spring 2016. We wish you Happy Holidays and a prosperous, healthy New Year!

CIEE Budapest:

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

11/20/2015

FALL 2015, ISSUE III

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

IMG_4388

Greetings from Budapest!

Our semester is running fast: we are already over our midterm exams and we are making preparations to celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Hungary, but we will use the occasion to reflect, take stock and enjoy delicious home-style stuffed turkey. Since our last newsletter, the major event of our program was the field trip to Transylvania and here are some highlights.  

Excursion to Transylvania

Anticipation was great as we left for a 4-day Transylvanian excursion in the middle of October. The area we visited was the Kalotaszeg region and we stayed with local families in the village of Kalotaszentkirály, which allowed us to experience their warm hospitality and gain an insight into their traditional way of life and customs. We visited the annual market in Kőrösfeketetó (Negreni) – a centuries old annual event - a huge fair selling traditional goods as well as antiquities. It is the biggest market event of that region and it attracts thousands of people.

During our visit, our host village was holding its annual harvest festival which included a big dance in the evening. Folk music and dance are still a living part of the community’s tradition. As it was a dance for all, our students soon were trying their feet and it was great fun when they were asked to dance by the locals.

12107160_10207274221072348_1327762125644904732_n Local young people in their traditional dresses parading through the village and inviting people to the harvest dance

20151010-IMG_6960
Laura dancing with a local gentleman at the harvest dance

Torockó and Torda

Torockó and Torda were other highlights of the trip.

The salt mines of Torda date back more than 800 years. In the Middle Ages Transylvania, as part of the Kingdom of Hungary, was Europe’s major supplier of salt. It was also in this city that the first Act of Religious Tolerance was issued in 1568. Students had fun when tried rowing a boat at the bottom of the salt mine on a very salted lake.

Torockó, for centuries the center of iron mining and manufacturing in Transylvania, received the “Europe Nostra” award for cultural heritage in 1999. Torockó’s Hungarian inhabitants are Unitarians, a religion that was founded in Transylvania. We marveled the beautiful snow-white houses nestled below the monumental Székelykő (Székely Stone), a three-thousand feet tall rock. Weather was a bit foggy but all the students accepted the challenge to climb to the top of the hill.

IMG_1046Liana and Kellsie posing with Torockó in the background

20151009-IMG_6676Sinead, Shelby, Christine, Katherine and Sophie ready to hike Székely Stone

IMG_1056Dylan and Jake having fun on the way to the top of Székely Stone

Katherine’s shared her thoughts about this visit:

"The hike up Mt. Székelykő was easily my favorite part of the trip to Transylvania. It definitely was a challenge. The hike was very steep and slick due to the mud. It didn't help that it also began to rain. A few of use complained going up, but the elation of making it to the top quickly changed our mood. We also sang several songs (I'll make a man out of you from Mulan was a definite favorite). By the end we were quite muddy but incredibly happy! It was a fun experience to have as a group."
/Katherine, Fall 2015/

Birthday celebration

Zoe turned 21 while we were in Transylvania and we thought it would be really memorable for her if we surprised her with a birthday cake. And she was really surprised! The cake was delicious and we all enjoyed the time together.

20151010_194151Celebrating Zoe's 21st birthday

Our four days went by very fast, we had to say goodbye. The excursion helped us all to better understand and appreciate rural and traditional way of life.

12122552_10206568098413546_2726527941991667178_nStudents saying goodbye to their host mom, Babi (in the middle)

This sums up one of our students experience:

"Transylvania was my favorite trip of the semester so far. I have never been to a place that is so rich in folk culture and truly dedicated to preserving the traditional way of life. Our home stays were a wonderful way to interact with local people, understand rural life, and most importantly, eat delicious home cooked Hungarian food. One of my favorite parts of the trip was attending the community Harvest Festival. It was incredible to see the young people uphold the traditional values of music, dance, and singing. Transylvania was an experience that I will never forget!" /Katie, Fall 2015/

CIEE Budapest:

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director
Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

10/27/2015

FALL 2015, ISSUE II

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

4

Greetings from Budapest!

We send you warm greetings from Budapest where it is becoming much colder and the leaves are falling fast. Students are taking midterm exams this week and it is hard to believe that half of the semester is already gone.  

We begin this newsletter with our first overnight excursion – a special theme based one – which combined history, art, nature, heritage, and fun.

The „Kids of Budapest 1956” Pilgrimage

DAY 1

We joined a memorial excursion organized by a foundation called Pesti Srác (Kids of Budapest), which was founded for the commemoration of the youth who fought for freedom in the revolution of 1956. The 1956 Revolution broke out on October 23 – now a national holiday in Hungary – so learning about it with the help of this excursion was especially appropriate for the fall group. This was a memorable live history lesson as we visited sights of the freedom fight, including the famous Corvin Alley, and the prison cells and execution room – now a museum – of revolutionaries. We also traveled to the National Historical Memorial Park in Ópusztaszer. The excursion was especially enjoyable as we traveled with a group of Hungarian students from Kőrösi  Csoma Sándor Secondary School.

DSC07917{Standing in the ‘Small prison’ with the flag of ’Kids of Pest’ }

DSC07925{Solemn moments for students with pictures of those freedom fighters who were kept in this prison}

Katherine shared her thoughts about this visit:

 “It is nearly impossible to imagine the great strength that the Hungarians must have kept in the prison.  It was a terrible place; cold and devoid of hope. The cells were very small; even with the door open I still felt claustrophobic. One story of these prisoners struck me in particular; one young teenage boy who the Soviets kept there until he was 18 so that they were legally allowed to kill him. Terrible as they may be, I think that it is important to remember the hardships that the 1956 revolutionaries endured.  It was an event that defined a generation and a history that continues to define the Hungarian people and society today.  I am fortunate that I was able to glimpse at this history.” /Katherine, Fall 2015/

We closed the excursion on a lighter note:  we had a chance to enjoy the thermal bath in Lakitelek and also tried our feet learning traditional Hungarian folk dance to everyone’s delight. 

DSC07990{Students soaking themselves in the thermal bath in Lakitelek}

Shelby{Trying on a traditional dress from Kalotaszeg, the region where we will be in Transylvania}

DSC08033{Folk dancing was a highlight among the students}

DAY 2

The next day we traveled to Ópusztaszer, to the National Heritage Park and Open Air Museum.

The Feszty Cyclorama is located here depicting the arrival of the Hungarians to the Carpathian Basin in 896. The huge, circular panorama painting recalls the events of the Conquest of Hungary. Árpád Feszty, with the help of several contemporary artists, completed the painting between 1892 and 1894.

The Heritage Park held other excitements for us:  traditional yurts the Hungarian tribes used and a lesson on the usage of various bows.   Students also enjoyed a horse show with a fantastic display of traditional Hungarian horsemanship and archery.   

DSC08074{Group photo in front of the Hungarian Millennial Monument (896-1896)}

20150927_102641

{A lesson on the proper usage of a compound bow }

20150927_104203{One by one we were tried to hit the mark}

20150927_113600{Showing us horsemanship dating back to the once nomad Hungarians }

We also visited the 1956 Memorial chapel, designed by György Csete, Kossuth Prize winner architect. We held a minute of silence to remember Gergely Pongrátz, whose gravestone is in the chapel. He was the leader and hero of the Corvin Alley resistance, one of the fiercest battle scenes during the defense of Budapest.

DSC08081{1956 Memorial chapel, symbolizes both the victory and the defeat of the revolution}

DSC08076{Gravestone of the Pongrátz brothers}

One of our students reacted the following way:

“The 1956 excursion gave me new insight on the history of Hungarian people and the challenges that they have faced. It was very powerful to see the 1956 Memorial Chapel as well as the prison where many people were kept and killed during the revolution. It is fascinating to think about the recent history that has taken place here and learn about how it has impacted the Hungarian culture and way of life”. /Katie, Fall 2015/

Best regards, 

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

10/01/2015

FALL 2015, ISSUE I

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

Greetings from Budapest!

Warm greetings from Budapest, where fall has finally arrived after a nice long Indian summer. The semester has started with a big group of 28 students. All of our students are well adjusted, settled in their dormitory rooms. The first week was very busy with orientation, getting to know the city, beginning to learn about Hungarian culture and language, meeting the CIEE Faculty members, finalizing course registrations and internships.

During orientation week we also made a city tour to get to know Budapest and its transportation system. We took the tram number 2, which is not just a great way to see the fantastic beauty of Budapest but it was ranked among the top 10 tram rides by National Geographic, being the best European line on the list. Visiting Heroes’ Square was 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. 

1Fall 2015 participants at Heroes' Square

A highlight of the orientation week was taking a boat ride on the Danube. The boat departs from the center of Budapest, from Vigadó Square and makes an hour round trip to Margaret Bridge on the north, then to Rákóczi Bridge on the south.  Student marveled the two distinct parts of the city, “Buda” and “Pest”, and just how beautiful Budapest is.

20150910_181203

20150910_181214Students enjoying the view from the Danube
20150910_184034Corvinus University of Budapest – our host institution - during our panoramic boat ride on the Danube

Students also took part in our first CIEE organized group excursion to the Danube bend. It is probably the most picturesque historical part of Hungary. We went to Esztergom which is a former medieval capital of Hungary, the birthplace of the first Hungarian King, St. Stephen, and the seat of the Hungarian Catholic Church. The town is situated on the right bank of the Danube River, and traveling across the Maria Valeria Bridge to Slovakia was a lovely adventure. 

BasilicaThe view of Esztergom Basilica is best from Sturovo (Párkány) in Slovakia with the Danube River in between.

The historical town, Visegrád is located in the Danube bend region. The city has always had an important strategic role in Hungarian history. It used to be Hungary’s capital and an important diplomatic center: The first royal summit of the central European countries was held here in the 14th century, and a new Visegrád Treaty was signed here again in 1990. We visited the 12th century fort on top of the hill overlooking the Danube. Our lunch was held in a renaissance restaurant, where we enjoyed a feast befitting royalty. 

20150918_122805

20150918_122825Students are ready to have a renaissance feast
20150918_151005Dharani, Christine and Shelby at the Danube Bend

We closed the day with trying a fun bob sled track in Visegrád. Students had lot of fun!

20150918_161357Daria and Katherine with Laura waving at the Visegrád Bob sled park.

Best regards,

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

04/29/2015

SPRING 2015, ISSUE III.

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

20150424_152255

Greetings from Budapest!

It is hard to imagine that the semester is coming to an end. Students will take their final exams after next week and we will close this term with a farewell dinner.  A lot happened since our last newsletter, so we would like to share with you some of the highlights.

Excursion to Eger

In March we visited the northern part of the country. The weather could not have been more beautiful and we all enjoyed being able to spend a lot of time outdoors. We discovered the lovely historic town of Eger. Eger is a gem of medieval monuments, home of one the most famous Hungarian fortresses, whose heroes and heroines successfully defended it during the Turkish invasion. Students enjoyed exploring the Fortress of Eger as we made a torch-light tour in the underground Casemates.

Emily’s story: Returning home

Emily shared her story with us about her trip to Veszprém.

“While attending 6th grade at a small Hungarian school in Veszprém, living in Balatonfüred for a year, and periodically vacationing in Hungary, I have developed many family-like relationships with people throughout the country. A few weekends ago I visited one of these dear families in Veszprém. Upon my arrival we decided to take a day-long road trip to see the countryside and Lake Balaton. Our destination was Szalafő, a small town where we learned how pumpkin seed oil is made. The Hungarian countryside is absolutely beautiful; an incredibly peaceful place where the Hungarian culture and importance of relationships can be felt. I am so thankful for welcoming friends who are willing to teach me more about Hungary each time we are together. I will cherish these memories of being with people I love and taking time to revisit the places I have come to call home”

Dylan’s family tree adventure:

“At age eleven, in accordance with a school project, I initiated a dedication to research my family background. That undertaking would spark an interest that carries on to this day. Of what would become probably the biggest passion of my life, genealogy has now carried me to places I never thought I'd go. With the mission to discover my family and learn and preserve the legacies of my ancestors, this hobby has now brought me to learn new languages and travel to distance places. Now, almost ten years later, an interest in my family tree has brought me on the journey of a lifetime. Last weekend I decided to pay a visit to my great-grandfather's home village of Magyarpolány in the Bakony Hills of western Hungary. Growing up I in fact did not know I was Hungarian. My last name had been changed and knowledge of the old country had been lost within my family. It took me years to discover where our roots truly stem from. After realizing I am Hungarian, I have now made it my mission to bring back the language and culture into my family. Now with the opportunity to live in Hungary, my dream is coming true. Traveling to my great-grandfather’s village, the culmination of my undertaking occurred. Upon arrival to this town, I hoped to do research and perhaps track down a living relative. My expectations of discovery were nowhere near what I would indeed find. With the help of some extremely nice locals, I was directed to the house of a woman of eighty-four years old. The grandfather of this woman was my great-great-grandmother's brother. Talking with her I was able to learn about the history and culture of my family, as well as find a true connection to this place. In addition, over the weekend she cooked me traditional Hungarian meals over which we bonded and reconnected as family members. Overall this trip helped me discover a branch of my family I never knew much about. I am very proud to say I am part Hungarian. Although I am American, I still find it important to remember where my ancestors came from. This country holds a rich and fascinating culture and language of which I am eager to embrace. This voyage has been wonderful and I am overwhelmingly grateful to have such an opportunity.” /Dylan, Spring 2015/

DSCN1262Dylan with the sweet old lady, Irén néni in Magyarpolány - highlight of  his family tree research

Western Hungary; Pannonhalma, Tihany, Szentantalfa

Our excursion to western Hungary included a guided visit of the 1100-year old Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, a World Heritage Site. The Archabbey’s scenery and especially its library amazed our students. After a group lunch in a small town of Veszprémvarsány, we visited Lake Balaton, the “Hungarian Sea”. Though the weather was not very warm, some brave students decided to swim in the lake in Tihany. We closed the day by learning about organic farming as we visited a small family-run winery in Szentantalfa, dating back to the 18th century. We were welcomed warmly, learned a great deal about wine making, and were even were treated to great stories and delicious, home-made biscuits.

3Students at the Hungarian Sea, Lake Balaton

20150410_150110CIEE is everywhere - even in Tihany

Excursion to Transylvania

We traveled to Transylvania, Romania for a 4-days excursion. We visited the beautiful Kalotaszeg region, a special, Hungarian ethnographic area of Transylvania. We lived with local village families, experienced their warm hospitality, enjoyed their delicious, home cooked meals, and witnessed traditional, rural living and folk culture.

All forms of folk art have reached high level of sophistication in the Kalotaszeg region. In Körösfő, it is wood carving, and we visited a local small shop where chess figures are still made by hand.  Our host was happy to show us his skills. We learnt about local customs and traditions inside the beautiful village church where we also saw many beautiful pieces of embroidery made by local women. 

DSC_0309
Albert, the chess carver and our students watching attentively

IMG_4516Rio and Tom practicing Hungarian with host children

DSCN1572     A group photo in front of the church of Kőrösfő

DSCN1466Another group photo among the tall cliffs of the Torda Gorge

Weather was summer-like when we arrived in Torda. We hiked through the famous Gorge of Torda, where nature did its best.  Here a mountain is split in the middle and the sight is simply spectacular.

Torockó with the monumental Székelykő (Székely Stone), a three-thousand feet tall rock was another highlight of the trip. Students were full of energy and decided to hike to the top of Székely Stone. The hiking trail was safe, marked clearly, and conditions were just right for this great bonding experience. 

IMG_7083Székelykő is one of the most famous locations in Transylvania. Students loved the sights from the top

With this Newsletter, we say goodbye for now.  We hope our students will leave Budapest with experiences and memories lasting a lifetime and will have the opportunity to share their stories with you.

Best regards,

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

04/03/2015

SPRING 2015, ISSUE II.

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

20150327_142228Dramatic view of the Danube River during our excursion

Greetings from Budapest!

We send you warm greetings from Budapest, where finally spring is on its way. Budapest is at its best when all the trees are in full bloom, flowers are everywhere, and temperatures are warm. Midterm exams are behind us, and so is half of the semester! 

Internship and volunteer work

Students in Budapest are encouraged to spend some of their free time in an internship for credit, or not-for-credit. We consider an internship as major vehicle increase student integration into host culture and to positively impact our local environment. This semester more than two-thirds of the students are engaged in internships! Here are some highlights.

Alexandra, Rachel, Rio, Alex, Natalie and Dylan are assisting English teachers in two local high schools in language classes, where Hungarian students welcome the opportunity to work with native speakers.

The Education Department of the Ministry of Human Capacities is hosting two of our interns. Katie and Emma are engaged there and their tasks include research and editing English-language documents. They are also gaining insight into the daily work of a major government office.

Several students are interning at the Eötvös József College for Advanced Studies. Abigail, Zazu, Kate and Corinne are enjoying tutoring university students and making new friends there.

Emily goes to a shelter once or twice a week to help prepare and distribute food for those women who come in for the night.

Alice and Caroline are interning at Secret Sauce Partners, a start-up company and their tasks involve product management, product marketing, sales support, and market research.

Bryanne is interning at the Hungarian National Gallery where is leading guiding tours of the permanent and temporary exhibitions, and working on translations of the English website.

Jake and Josh are completing an internship for credit at Traction Tribe, which is a tech, dot-com, and healthcare startup traction composer company. Tom is also a for-credit intern in the Ministry of National Economy, while Rowan is interning at Skool, an independent nonprofit organization focused on empowering young women to pursue careers in technology and engineering.  

Read more here about Skool: https://alumni-news.ciee.org/2014/12/szilvikoleszar.html

American Corner

Shelby is helping in the the American Corner. The AC is an US information center where Shelby has administrative duties.  She helps with program planning and delivers presentations about the US and American culture. Here you can read about her latest American Corner event:

„Getting bored? Get on board! Come join us for a BOARD GAME SESSION once a month. We will play fun board games while developing your English skills and enhanching your vocabulary. Each session will feature a new board game such as Matter of Fact Trivia Challenge, Scrabble or You`ve Been Sentenced - board a game that has received 20 national awards in the United States.  Are you bored? We have the solution for you ”

https://budapest.americancorner.hu/event/board-game-afternoon-1

Ac2Shelby at the American Corner at the Board Game Session

CIEE Alumni – Sophia’s return to Budapest

Sophia participated in the CIEE Budapest program in fall 2013 - and all of a sudden she appeared in the CIEE office last week making a huge surprise! She actually convinced her college that there is no better place to train than Budapest.  She organized the entire trip for 50 members - men and women – of the rugby team of Vassar College. We organized a special Hungarian culture class for the team and they enjoyed learning more about the Hungarian language and culture.

Please read Sophia’s thoughts on her return:

„When I lived in Budapest in Fall 2013, I played for the Budapest Ladies Exiles RFC. Ever since coming back to the States, I have dreamed of being able to bring my two teams together. In August, I started planning Rugby Tour to Budapest, and a week ago my dream came true. This tour has been an incredible week, and I am so grateful to be part of not one but two amazing teams.

Budapest, I'll be back within in the next two years. Count on it.” /Sophia Fall 2013 CIEE Alumni/

Vassar Women actually won in Budapest, please read more here: 

https://www.vassarathletics.com/news/2015/3/22/WRUG_0322151152.aspx

1511147_10203709662843804_6199449081661339084_nVassar College’s rugby team in Budapest

10518631_10203709662243789_1507171199686713738_n

Cultural program

We took our students to enjoy a special dance performance in the Palace of Arts in Budapest.

It was the “Song of the Stag”, a dance performance by the Hungarian National Folk Dance Ensemble. It is a modern interpretation of using folk music and dance elements. This is what a student’s impression was after the event:

„I loved how the traditional costumes and movements were put alongside music with seemingly modern rhythms and a modern set. The dancers managed to convey a lot of emotion while remaining technically amazing. I was very impressed!” /Abigail, Spring 2015/

20150325_184001Palace of Arts in Budapest
20150325_184201Rio, Bryanne, Emily, Rachel, Dylan, Zsófi and Abigail are excited to see Song of the Stag dance performance

Danube Bend Excursion

On our very first group excursion we visited two beautiful and historically significant cities, Esztergom and Visegrád. First, we travelled to Esztergom, which is the birthplace of Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen and a former medieval capital of Hungary, and also the seat of the Hungarian Catholic Church. Esztergom basilica the country’s first, Europe's third largest church, and the 18th biggest church in the world. The altarpiece is the largest painting in the world painted on a single piece of canvas, depicting the Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Michelangelo Grigoletti.

The historical town, Visegrád is located in the Danube bend region. The city has always had an important strategic role in the Hungarian history. It used to be Hungary’s capital and an important diplomatic center: The first royal summit of the central European countries was held here in the 14th century, and a new Visegrád Treaty was signed here again in 1990.  

2

On our way to the Basilica of Esztergom, Hungary’s largest church

1Spring 2015 Students enjoying the view on top of the Fortress in Visegrád (Fellegvár)

20150327_145551Abigail on top of the Fortress in Visegrád with the Danube Bend in the background

Best regards,

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

02/13/2015

SPRING 2015, ISSUE I

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

Tram

Greetings from Budapest!

Winter has been fairly reasonable here, and there are already signs of spring approaching.  This semester we have 31 students; all happy and excited to be here.

We started the semester with an orientation week when students were introduced to academic and practical matters, met with faculty members, and stated Hungarian language classes. We also toured the city using public transportation system and discovered some of the most important sights in Budapest.  We stopped at Heroes’ Square which is always an ideal place for a group photo.

DSCN0050Spring 2015 group in front of the Heroes' Square

 

Scavenger Hunt

Students’ first assignment was a scavenger hunt to find different building, shops, and interesting locations. They had a lot of fun. This was a competition but, at the end, all students were winners as they learnt how to get around Budapest. The photo below was taken in the Castle District during scavenger hunt. 

DSCN0132Dylan during Scavenger Hunt with the Chain Bridge and Parliament in the background

DSCF3447Another Scavenger Hunt assignment: Alice and Alex on the top of St.Stephen's Basilica

During the city tour we also took the famous Tram No.2, which is among the top 10 tram rides according to a recent article in National Geographic. This tram rides parallel with the Danube, on the Pest side, and the view to the Buda side and the Castle Hill is absolutely amazing.

Check here:https://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/trolley-rides/#page=2

Scavengerhunt1Bryanne, Caroline and Alice - with the Buda Castle Hill in the background - waiting for Tram No.2

Students are already enjoying various cultural events in addition to exploring the city on their own. Some of the students have already attended an opera performance, and even a gastronomical event. Last weekend there was festival featuring and promoting a special Hungarian breed pig, called mangalica. There were 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 again have the Buddy/Tandem System this semester: Hungarian students are paired with our American students thereby giving them yet another possibility for integration with and learning about Hungarian culture.

Best regards,

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

12/10/2014

FALL 2014, ISSUE III

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

IMG_20141010_103537

Greetings from Budapest!

Warm greetings from Budapest where we have been having typical winter weather: gray, overcast sky and short days. Snow has not fallen yet. Holiday lights are everywhere and students have been enjoying the Christmas market in the middle of the city. They look for presents or just stroll around tasting chimney cake or mulled wine. This is our last week of classes. Next week is final exams and due dates for term papers. We will close the semester with a Farewell Dinner together with students and faculty.

Here are some highlights since our last newsletter.  

Excursion to Transylvania

Our longest organized group excursion of the semester was the 4-day visit to Transylvania, which is always a big excitement among students. The area we visited was the Kalotaszeg region and we stayed with local families in the village of Kalotaszentkirály, which allowed us to experience their warm hospitality and gain an insight into their traditional way of life and customs. We visited the annual market in Kőrösfeketetó (Negreni) – a centuries old annual event - a huge fair selling traditional goods as well as antiquities. It is the biggest market event of that region and it attracts thousands of people. During our visit, our host village was holding its annual harvest festival which included a big dance in the evening. Folk music and dance are still a living part of the community’s tradition. As it was a dance for all, our students soon were trying their feet and it was great fun when they were asked to dance by the locals.

Névtelen{Local young people in their traditional dresses parading through the village and inviting people to the harvest dance}

Torockó and Torda were other highlights of the trip. Torockó, for centuries the center of iron mining and manufacturing in Transylvania, received the “Europe Nostra” award for cultural heritage in 1999.

Torockó’s Hungarian inhabitants are Unitarians, a religion that was founded in Transylvania. We marveled the beautiful snow-white houses nestled below the monumental Székelykő (Székely Stone), a three-thousand feet tall rock. Weather was great so we climbed to the top of the hill.

DSC_0546{Clara and Katie on top of Székey Stone}

Our next stop was the Torda Gorge, a beautiful spot in Transylvania. Here students learned about one of the legends of the great Hungarian ruler, King St. Ladislaus of the 11th century, and much revered in Transylvania. The Torda Gorge became a nature reserve in 1938, and it is on the list of UNESCO’s most important natural monuments of the world.

DSC_0517{The amazing Torda Gorge with the Hesdat stream flowing through}

Kőrösfő

We were welcomed by Albert, the chess maker, in the village of Kőrösfő. The village is famous for wood carving and embroidery, and we were lucky to see chess figures were being carved by hand. Producing and selling hand-made objects are the main revenue source of the local community. 

DSC_0567{Albert uses European hazelnut tree as his raw material}

DSC_0565
{Who knows this figure?}

DSC_0562{Exploring the grounds around Kőrösfő Church}

1{We even managed to get a group photo}

Our four days went by very fast, we had to say goodbye. The excursion helped us all to better understand and appreciate rural and traditional way of life.

Thanksgiving Dinner

 

Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Hungary, but we marked the day with a traditional American celebration: stuffed turkey and all the trimmings.  Food was plentiful as students also contributed some of their special favorites.  Green bean artichoke casserole and sweet potatoes were among the favorites. 

Thanksgiving3{Students having fun at Thanksgiving dinner}

With this newsletter we say good bye for this semester. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to sending you news again in the spring semester. We wish you Happy Holidays and a prosperous, healthy New Year!

CIEE Budapest:

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

11/06/2014

FALL 2014, ISSUE II

NewsletterBannerBudapest686x101

1

Greetings from Budapest!

We send you warm greetings from Budapest where it is becoming much colder and the leaves are falling fast. Our semester is running quickly as well and students are happy that midterm exams are over.  

Our group excursions always include educational and fun parts, in addition to being great bonding experiences.  Here are some highlights:

The „Kids of Budapest 1956” Pilgrimage

We joined a memorial excursion organized by a foundation called Pesti Srác (Kids of Budapest), which was founded for the commemoration of the youth who fought for freedom in the revolution of 1956. The 1956 Revolution broke out on October 23 – now a national holiday in Hungary – so learning about it with the help of this excursion was especially appropriate for the fall group. This was a memorable live history lesson as we visited sights of the freedom fight, including the famous Corvin Alley, and the prison cells – now a museum – of revolutionaries. We also traveled to the National Historical Memorial Park in Ópusztaszer. The excursion was especially enjoyable as we traveled with a group of Hungarian students from Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Secondary School.

2Emily and and James placing a wreath at the "Kids of Budapest" memorial site
3Standing in front of the Memorial Site in the 'Small prison'

We also visited the 1956 Museum in Kiskunmajsa dedicated to the Hungarian Freedom Fight. It was established in 1991 by Gergely Pongrátz, his family, and friends.  Pongrátz was the leader and hero of the Corvin Alley resistance, one of the fiercest battle scenes during the defense of Budapest. The memorial chapel, designed by György Csete, Kossuth Prize winner architect, symbolizes both the victory and the defeat of the revolution.

4Memorial Chapel  and burial ground in Kiskunmajsa.
5Fall 2014 group at the 1956 pilgrimage – on top of a T-55 soviet tank

We closed the excursion on a lighter note:  after a friendly game of soccer against the Hungarian team, we tried our feet learning traditional Hungarian folk dance to everyone’s delight. We closed the day with a beautiful campfire. 

6 7In a circle or in pairs, folk dancing is fun! 

 

Western Hungary; Pannonhalma, Tihany, Szentantalfa

Our excursion to western Hungary included a guided visit of the 1100-year old Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, a World Heritage Site. Pannonhalma has been a significant educational center for centuries. The Archabbey’s scenery and especially its library amazed our students.

After a filling group lunch in a small town of Veszprémvarsány, we visited Lake Balaton, the “Hungarian Sea”. Though the weather was not very warm, some brave students decided to swim in the lake in Tihany. We closed the day by learning about organic farming as we visited a small family-run winery in Szentantalfa, dating back to the 18th century. We were welcomed warmly, learned a great deal about wine making, and were even were treated to great stories and delicious, home-made biscuits.

IMG_20141017_144136Meaghan and  Sarah in front of Lake Balaton, the Hungarian Sea

Best regards,

Elizabeth Simon, Resident Director

Judit Fekete, Resident Coordinator

Categories