Central Europe is in the center of my heart! January 13, 2017

By (Political Science and Government, Trinity University) - abroad from 08/27/2016 to 12/17/2016 with

API (Academic Programs International): Budapest - Cornivus University of Budapest

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
All the countries I visited allowed me to see things from different perspectives and viewpoints. I was introduced to various foods, styles of cooking, different behaviors, and know so much more about Europe.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were not as easy as some expected for study abroad. We had projects we had to do, essays we had to write, and the final exams were by no means easy. Studying was a must if you wanted to do well. But the plus side is that the classes are extremely interesting, and if you really wanted to, you can find "easier" classes to take.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

API was superb. Before we got to Budapest, we had all the information in an easy-to-read manual that explained everything from the first week of orientation, to dealing with the immigration office, to the apartments we would be staying at, to a guide to the city and tips for grocery shopping. Whenever we had questions we asked our onsite coordinators and got responses within the hour, and our coordinators were always wiling to help.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived right in the heart of Budapest in spacious apartments. All the apartments students had were in the city, within walking distance from the famous landmarks, universities, and hangouts, and were less than 3 minutes walking from public transportation.

* Food:

We had to cook for ourselves or buy our own food but four dollars could probably get you two meals if you were cooking and buying from the grocery store, but eating out averaged about 6-9 dollars at an average restaurant or 3-4 at a fast-food. The exchange rate is favorable to American students.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As someone who has been to Europe before, integration was not as difficult. But the program sets you up with a tandem partner which is a Hungarian student at the local university. We got to meet local Hungarians, hang out, and learn more about the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally did not need use the healthcare system, but we were given insurance cards, and there was an American clinic that accepted more insurance for American students.

* Safety:

Budapest is actually one of the safest cities in Europe with a lower crime rate than other places. I felt very safe, public transportation is clean, and police officers patrol the streets often. Our coordinators told is which districts to avoid, but they were on the outskirts of the city so we never had to go to those areas anyway.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

In Budapest you can never run out of things to do. There is Margaret Island where you can go on picnics, runs, and summer concerts, the baths, the museums, sightseeing, seeing castles and churches and palaces, the Christmas market, the nearby countryside and historical towns, the Grand Market Hall, etc.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

If you had to, or chose too, $100 a week was more than enough for three meals a day if you cooked at home. However, that cost goes up if you decide to travel and go to more expensive restaurants.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent more due to my heavy load of traveling, so about 200.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook at home! And try not to use taxis, the public transportation system is fantastic!

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We learned basic hungarian and while it was a wonderful introduction, so many people speak English in Hungary that it wasn't really necessary.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The freedom and independence given to us
  • The location of the program, it made the rest of Europe easily accessible
  • The history and culture of the city I was on
* What could be improved?
  • n/a
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? n/a

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.