What position do you hold at API and what has been your career path?
Reka: I am the Resident Director for the Budapest, Hungary API program. The Budapest program opened in 2004, and I have been director of the program since the start. I am also a writing instructor at Central European University, an American graduate school here in Budapest.
Did YOU have the opportunity to study abroad?!
Reka: I studied abroad in Brisbane, Australia for a year, and I loved every minute of it. I majored in English and Latin language and literature at university and won a scholarship through the Australian Studies Program to go to Brisbane for one semester. I ended up staying for the full year and wrote my Master’s thesis there. I had traveled extensively before that in Europe, but this was the first time I left the continent.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Reka: I think the biggest challenge for any company today is how to deal with change, how to stay relevant and responsive to, in our case, our students’ needs. API is a great example of embracing change at every level, be that in terms of IT or opening new locations (often off the beaten track) but at the same time not losing track of our main goals, for example our commitment to helping students evolve from tourist to a resident to a global citizen.
What was your favorite traveling experience?
Reka: My favorite traveling experience was a road trip in Australia, from Sydney to Cairns. We covered a distance of about 1700 miles in a month, and I did my diving certificate at the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I also loved the rain forests and the scenery that is so different from Europe.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Reka: I love hearing about my students’ new travel experiences, a lot of them go on to travel extensively and even live abroad after they graduate. One of our alumni recently came back to teach English in a primary school in a small town in Hungary, which must be the ultimate ‘immersion experience’. Others are in Asia and even New Zealand, while some have taken government jobs where familiarity with Central Europe is a must. It’s fascinating to see where the journey that started in Budapest leads students along the way.