Study Abroad Highlight: Budapest, Hungary
Junior Ella Diers is currently studying abroad for the fall 2022 semester in Budapest, Hungary. Coming into college, Ella knew she wanted to study abroad but didn’t have her heart set on Hungary right away.
“I really wanted to go abroad because I think college is such a wonderful time to travel, because you kind of have a built-in support system. You have your teachers and advisors and everyone looking out for you and helping you figure your way around, and in most cases you’ll have roommates or orientation to familiarize yourself with your surroundings, so you’re not just traveling by yourself,” she said.
She said she chose Hungary because she wanted to challenge herself to see and learn about another part of the world.
“I wanted to be in a place where I’d truly be out of my element. I also wanted to learn a new language, or at least just get some of the basics, as Hungarian is notoriously difficult to learn. I also kind of had assumptions about the country, and I wanted to challenge those. I also really liked the idea of being able to live in a city, and especially one that has as good a public transportation system as Budapest does. Plus the location is really great; it’s pretty centrally located, so it’s easy to travel and get around to other places,” Ella said.
The process of studying abroad in Hungary, while a little complicated at times, was well worth the effort and worked out in the end.
“Each study abroad program and experience is so vastly different for everyone, so it’s hard to prepare every student for exactly what they’re going to face during the process. There’s a lot of administrative things that are really unclear in the beginning, and trying to wrap your mind around all the little things you have to do is difficult. But everything gets figured out one way or another, and you honestly just have to prepare the best you can, then kind of trust the process,” she said.
“I live in a college, so about maybe 100 people live in the dorm. I have two roommates, who are both Hungarian. There’s a pub in the basement of my building, where every Thursday night people drink and dance, and it feels like such a tight knit community.”
Ella’s experience abroad has both similarities and differences to the college experience at Beloit College.
“The college has some classes, but most are through a bigger university that my college is affiliated with. The college kind of reminds me a little bit of Beloit, because it’s a small community that’s very student-led, but my classes are very different, because they’re only once a week, but I’m taking more of them, so it’s definitely very different in that regard. I think the main difference is I’m in Budapest, which is a big city, and a very different environment than Beloit. So my classes are a 20-minute tram ride away, so I definitely have to plan a little bit more time into my schedule to make sure I account for that,” she said.
While Ella is still unsure of her plans after Beloit, she said study abroad has been a helpful experience.
“I’m not sure exactly what I want to do after Beloit, but I do know that I want to travel and open myself up to new experiences, and study abroad has definitely helped me feel more comfortable with the concept of being by myself in a new environment. Study abroad has also opened up the idea of doing grad school abroad, which wasn’t something I have previously considered, but I’m interested in the idea of that,” Ella said.