Thinking about Study Abroad? Do it. Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 02/05/2016 to 05/26/2016 with

BSM: Budapest - Budapest Semesters in Mathematics

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This program was very worthwhile to me. I learned to be more independent, to cook, to better balance work and fun; I was surrounded by people who taught me everything from math to cooking.

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.

All of the classes are fairly rigorous, and as you pick more advanced courses, the rigor increases. Professors are very comfortable with the material, and are willing to explain concepts in different ways if necessary. I'd never taken 4 math classes at the same time before, and it did become a little overwhelming for me, but as the semester wore on, it wasn't quite as bad. Problem sets are usually quite fair, as long as you don't do them all last-minute. The idea of "office hours" is a little strange - they're held for one hour of usual class time every week, and the whole class remains there for an hour. But you can also request private office hours if you want.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Student Director is very much on top of everything, and will help you out with anything you need in terms of housing/transport/comfort in Budapest. The academic administration is also organized, and students are emailed before all deadlines, and about any interesting events happening.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My flatmates were great (also in the program with me), and I really liked the location of my apartment. Public transport was very accessible. There were some functional issues a few times - the washing machine stopped working, the kitchen sink got clogged - but the landlord was very helpful and got everything fixed once we informed him. Something to note: Budapest doesn't have a whole lot of elevators. In fact, I think I went to maybe 5 buildings total that had elevators in the whole semester.

* Food:

The food is pretty cheap, and you can get anything at all in almost any price range. Budapest's street food definitely spoilt me.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We lived in the city, interacted with people in the shops and on the street. But we didn't really interact with locals in meaningful ways unless we really tried to.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't need to use any of the healthcare, so I can't provide any feedback on it.

* Safety:

Budapest is just like any other city: be smart, and you'll be fine. That said, I walked around at all hours of the day and night, and never had any problems, felt pretty safe. It does help that my apartment was in a residential area that was safe, but on the whole, I would say Budapest is quite safe. District 8 is a little more sketchy than other districts, so if you're there, be a little more careful. That said, we had no incidents there either.

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

I had a fantastic experience with this program. And it wasn't because of the math, but because of the people that the math attracted, and because of the city. Everybody in my program was friendly, and they were all very interesting individuals. The people were perhaps my favorite part of the experience. Budapest is also a great city - it's full of so much to do, so much to see. There are historic sites, beautiful buildings; ruin pubs and tea houses and cafes; there are parks and statues and hiking trails. There's no shortage of things to do, and that's without counting all of the places you can get to from Budapest.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 90-150 each week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget, think ahead for meals.


* 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

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? N/A
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Go out and talk to people. In the shops, on the buses, etc.

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

  • Americans
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 people
  • Budapest: public transport, things to do
* What could be improved?
  • Interactions with locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The math classes were more rigorous than I'd thought they'd be.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.