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Bordering seven countries, Hungary is sometimes referred to as "The Gateway to Europe." While it may be a destination off the beaten path, Hungary certainly is worth the trip. Sometimes taking a back seat to some of her more glamorous neighbors, modest Hungary awaits your arrival with no shortage of things to explore. Hungary places a great emphasis on education and is currently undergoing major reforms. Students who study here will have the benefits of courses in English alongside an authentic and rich cultural experience. A favorable exchange rate also allows for exploration of surrounding regions.
BUDAPEST: Budapest or Prague--the contest between the most beautiful Central European capital is still up for debate! Decide for yourself which wonders are more likely to take your breath away. Split by the Danube River, Budapest is made up of districts "Buda" and "Pest," with architectural wonders springing up between green parks, museums, shops and cafes that have survived centuries of change. Remnants of Communism are relegated to the Heroes Statue Park, and visitors can shop at the local flea markets, soak in a thermal bath, and take in the imposing sites of the Chain Bridge against the House of Parliament in this magical environment.
PECS: One of Europe's 2010 Culture Capitals, Pecs is a culturally diverse and stimulating city, with a population of about 180,000. Pecs offers both the amenities of a larger city and the charms of a small town surrounded by wineries, forests and spa villages. The city's motto is "The Borderless City" and has recently re-dedicated public places, streets, squares and neighborhoods, as well as new cultural centers, a concert hall, a new library and a "cultural quarter."
DEBRECEN: Discover the second most populated city in Hungary, located only 130 miles from Budapest. Wander through lush, green forests surrounding the main university campus, or relax in a Hungarian bath house or water park on a break from class. Additionally, Debrecen is home to many music and drama festivals, concerts and active student nightlife. Live and breathe like a true Hungarian in Debrecen.
The city of Debrecen is also home to the American Corner of Debrecen, a cultural and informational resource center founded by the US Embassy, the City Council of Debrecen and the University of Debrecen, in order to foster US-Hungarian relations. The American Corner also sponsors English lectures, films, comedy nights, game days, sports teams and events such as the Annual Festival of Drama in English.
For Consular information, please visit www.huembwas.org.
Visa regulations and fees change often. Please contact the embassy or consulate general with jurisdiction over your permanent address in order to verify this information before submitting your documents and fees.
The Hungarian academic year runs generally from September until July, with examination period generally running from May-July, depending on faculty. Most exchange students can arrange to take exams early. Fall semester runs generally from September to December, with a week-long vacation in October. Spring semester runs generally from February to May. A month long break over January is also standard.
Hungarians can be shy at first, but once you get to know them, they are very interested in getting to know you! Some might be unsure of their English skills, and the very outgoing American demeanor is unusual to them. However, for Hungarian students that have already spent some time in an English speaking environment, they'll love talking to you about their experiences and practicing their English.
Many Hungarian students also live at home, which means that on-campus life will consist of many international students and city life could be filled with tourists. That doesn't make it any less social, however!
Hungary's most outstanding annual events include the Budapest Spring Festival, which takes place in the last two weeks of March. Its main emphasis is on symphony orchestra concerts, opera and ballet performances which will appeal to the widest audience, but the program also includes open-air events and an Operetta Festival. The performances take place in the capital's most important concert halls and theatres, and often near historic monuments.
Hungary is a land of thermal water. A passion for spa culture and Hungarian history have been connected from the very beginning. Hungarian folk art, including dances, music, cross stitching, embroideries, costumes, potteries, wood carvings, basket weavings, porcelains etc. has a long and rich history which play a significant role in local folk traditions and customs.
Alissa is currently Program Officer at the ISEP Network, administering student exchanges for students to and from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. She studied abroad for a year at the Karls-Eberhardt University in Tubingen, Germany and now helps other students live the dream! Find her on Facebook.