Why did you choose this program?
I chose AIFS because of the incredible resources and great pricing. With the all-inclusive pricing model, I knew what I could expect to spend prior to going abroad.
I also knew that I would have a resident director in Hungary for all of my needs and that made both myself and my parents feel confident in the choice of AIFS. AIFS is also one of the few programs offering courses in Hungary and I knew I wanted to study there.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My program provider organized housing, weekend excursions, class options, transportation to Hungary, a meal plan and on-site assistance. You had to register for your classes, plan additional excursions, and manage your finances above the allowance they gave you. With the pricing in Hungary, you could manage pretty well with the meal plan provided.
The excursions were the best I went on offering unique and informative visits by locals in each place we visited. The housing was also very safe and conveniently located.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Have an open mind.
I was a picky eater and very frugal and still am, but when I was abroad, I told myself that I needed to make the purchase and try the weird food because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You will never regret trying all of the tapas, the herring, etc., even if it is disgusting and you never want to eat it again it will be a story.
When people tell you later something was great and you know you intentionally missed out on it, you will regret it. My goal going abroad was to have no regrets and I succeeded and if I did it all over again I wouldn't change a thing.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
The average day/week varied from participant to participant.
Students had anywhere from 2-5 days of classes per week. Some students traveled every weekend, some once a month and some only on program excursions (2-3 times the semester).
Classes were really interesting and a large variety were offered. All of my classes were business-related taught by people with real-life experience. I also was required to take a Hungarian class, which made getting around the city so much more fun, though English is very frequently spoken in Hungary.
Other people in my program took walking tours of Hungary, the history of Hungary, and the film of Hungary. All of these were great because they were learning about the place they were living in, which makes it so much better to learn about as you can see where things happened.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was safety. In order to combat this, I made sure to be extra safe when traveling alone.
As a solo female traveler, I knew I was going to be a target. I made sure to stay in safe areas of cities, not be out late at night and when I was out, to stay in heavily populated areas.
As I got more into my time abroad, I realized that eastern Europe is very safe. I never felt in danger of walking home from school from my night class or walking home from dinner with friends. People really left you alone if you kept to yourself and weren't very obviously a loud and obnoxious person. Now I feel much more confident in my ability to avoid trouble, but I also know that I can never ignore my safety and must always prioritize it.
Is there any other advice for prospective travelers?
Make the most of your experience.
It seems obvious but there is never a time in your life when you will have fewer responsibilities, more flexibility and more time to do this. Studying abroad was the greatest experience of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, grab it and don't let go. Make the most of your college experience and enhance it with this incredible way to go outside your comfort zone.
You will never regret it.