Interested in experiencing life in Central Europe?
Here are 5 reasons why you should study abroad in Budapest, Hungary.
1. Hungary is centrally located which makes travel incredibly easy.
This type of central location is something that people generally overlook or don’t think to consider when deciding where to study abroad, but if you’re looking to do some extra traveling while abroad, I think this is an important factor and something unique that Budapest offers.
Hungary is fairly centrally located in Europe, which means that many flights and trains frequently leave and arrive at the local airport and train stations here in Budapest, which makes travel incredibly easy and affordable. In the time that I’ve studied in Budapest this semester I have been to Poland, Austria, and the Czech Republic (by train) and Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Greece and Norway (by plane). I have only used smaller airlines during my time here in Budapest because they tend to be the most affordable. There is one small airline that is actually Hungarian (and my personal favorite) called WizzAir which I have used the most because, as long as you only bring a carry-on backpack, it is extremely affordable. Flights generally — depending on destination and time — range between $36-$75 for a weekend.
I think that traveling abroad is about getting to know your host country and city, but also about seizing the opportunity to travel to places nearby if you have the affordable opportunity to do so.
2. The cost of living is incredibly reasonable
When choosing where to study abroad, the cost of living of the country that you’re considering is, of course, an important factor when trying to figure out your budget. Budapest, especially in comparison to other big, touristy cities, has a relatively low cost of living. I don’t have exact statistics for you, but based on my personal experience, I generally spend about the equivalent of $15 every two weeks for groceries; which is significantly less than what I pay for those type of groceries in the United States.
These prices are also reflected in restaurants, bars and even clothing stores; most prices are the same or much less than average American prices. In other words, you’d have to try pretty hard to spend more than $10 on a meal out. This is also why I think the program cost of the Budapest program is one of the lowest that AIFS offers — not because Budapest is a bad study abroad location, but because the program cost reflects the low cost of living here. Budapest is basically a college student on a budget’s dream come true.
3. There is a wide variety of classes and you can generally tailor your schedule to work for you.
I know that I was personally fairly concerned about what classes I would be taking while studying abroad. But Corvinus University here in Budapest offers a variety of course options partnered with AIFS. I’m a Psychology major, but other students in my program range from Business, Information Technology (IT), and Communication majors.
Another unique aspect to the classes offered here is that they tend to be offered in three-hour blocks, with a break in-between. At first this sounds so long, but the benefits become clear as these types of blocks allow you to only have certain courses once a week, which means that you can possibly sign up to have classes Monday-Wednesday and end up with a 4-day weekend like I did… more time for exploring the city and traveling, woohoo!
Not to mention the professors are wonderful and the school is absolutely beautiful. It used to be the Customs House of Budapest!
4. The city has a unique history
Most people don’t realize that only 29 years ago (1989), Hungary was finally declared no longer a communist country. Hungary was also greatly oppressed during Nazi rule and Hungarian Jews actually made up the majority of the Jewish population (around 437,000) at Auschwitz concentration camp. Because of this type of history, there have been many major historical uprisings in the city of Budapest throughout the years.
As you walk along the streets of Budapest, there are areas where you can feel the echoes of the past, like the “Shoes on the Danube” memorial for Jewish victims during Nazi occupation, or you can visit the Museum of Terror and view relics from these painful areas of history. Walking through Budapest, you are walking through a very unique history that isn’t always recognized globally despite Hungary’s great struggles and eventual triumphs.
5. There are so many different things to do
Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, a partier, an outdoorsy person, or a foodie, there is something for you to do in Budapest. I’ve already talked about the unique history of the city for the history buffs, but there is also the amazing architecture and colorful mosaics found in the thermal spas or Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music (both pictured) for art lovers, the incredibly unique ruin bars (some from World War II) for those who like nightlife, plenty of hiking trails and hills on the Buda side of the city, and lots and lots of langos and goulash for the foodies! No matter what your interests are, Budapest has such a diverse variety of options to offer. I think it’s safe to say that you’d have a pretty hard time being bored in a city like Budapest.