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Living in Budapest by Erasmus


My arrival in the city

In September 2016, I left for what has so far proved to be the most extraordinary experience of my life. Winner of a Erasmus scholarship, I chose Budapest as a destination for my stay abroad, even though I didn't know what to expect.

It was a real revelation. I still remember the first evening when I landed, I drove the streets of this wonderful city by taxi. The eyes illuminated by the lights of the street lamps that, gradually, fell in love with the tall buildings in jugendstil style that I met on my way. I already imagined what the Hungarian capital could have reserved for me.

I got out of the taxi. I see my way for the first time, I go up to my apartment to say the least wonderful. I put my bags down and relax on the balcony of my room after the long journey and all I can do is let my thoughts wander freely. I'm starting to think of how many and what episodes of my life Budapest would have witnessed. I imagine myself traveling the road I had just made a thousand times, I imagine becoming a regular customer of the bar below the house, I imagine many friendships that I would have built in the months to follow.

None of what I imagined that evening on the balcony has come true. Everything went exactly differently from what I expected, but not for the worse. Rather.

The city

Wonderful buildings, the parliament, heroes quare and the Danube. The next morning I wanted to go and see the Danube. Budapest has always had the ability to surprise me with its devastating beauty and the unique feeling I felt when I saw the Danube the first time it accompanied me in several other moments during my stay in this city. The Danube was beautiful, immense, with all the bridges that cross it, each one different in style and each so magnificent.

Living in Budapest by Erasmus

The Parliament takes all of the Danube, a neo-Gothic art show, which with its grandeur leaves the viewer absolutely breathless.

It's the turn of Margaret Island. A green lung in the middle of the Danube. A large garden full of flowers, meadows and woods on an island in the heart of the city. The third time I repeated to myself that I had found my favorite place.

But I was wrong: when by chance I happened to go to heroes square in the evening I was speechless for the umpteenth time. The semicircular historical monument that runs alongside the square, with the various statues of the Hungarian heroes, majestic in their size, illuminated by the golden lights of the evening, made me feel again, again, that feeling of infinite gratitude for having had the opportunity to live in Budapest.

The spas are another attraction of the city. There are several spas within the capital: the Szechenyi thermal baths are the most famous, with its large outdoor steaming pools, while the most spectacular are the Rudas, in my opinion, which also have a swimming pool on the roof of the plant from which you can see the frozen Danube flowing beneath you in the winter months.

University

I was lucky, during my Erasmus experience, to be able to live the Hungarian university both as a student and as an intern. I attended the lessons at the ELTE University in Budapest for eight months, one of the best humanities faculties in the country.

The courses that I have chosen to attend have not only proved extremely fascinating, but have been the most interesting of all my school career. The applied method, which provided for great participation in the class (and at home, through exercises and homework) of the students, allowed me to attend all the lessons with great constancy and attention. The teachers who guided me in my learning path were also extremely kind and understanding because, as you know, it is not easy for anyone to find themselves in a reality that does not speak the language and is not a point of reference.

As for my trainee activity, however, I had the opportunity to teach Italian to Hungarian students of the different courses, an activity that allowed me to meet many local kids with whom I then became friends with and who took me around the city, sharing their secret places with me, such as the Altair Tehaz, a hidden and abandonded tea house for those who do not know it.

The nightlife

Budapest is simply magnificent by day but by night it is absolutely nothing less. The lights come on, the pubs open and the beer starts flowing. The streets are full of people and the city is transformed into a capital that never sleeps, with discos, clubs and pizzerias open all night.

Flat parties, the classic parties at a friend's house, which degenerate and become a party with more than a hundred people and the neighbours who threaten to call the police are on the agenda in a normal weekend of every self-respecting Erasmus. All together then we move to a disco to wake up until 6 in the morning.

The Fogas, the Instant and the A38, a ship transformed into a disco, are just some of the most famous night clubs in Budapest, for not to mention the Szimpla Kert, the ruin pub symbol of the city, a tourist destination for anyone passing through the Hungarian capital. There are also numerous night Jam sessions that come to life on the stages of various clubs throughout the city, such as those of the Lampas and the Brody, in which each person is free to give his musical contribution with his instrument improvising a rhythm together with the other participants.

Food

The typical Hungarian dish by excellence is the goulash. Meat, especially chicken and pork, is a dish that cannot be missed. It is usually served with flour dumplings and lots of spices, especially paprika which is famous in Hungary.

For the rest I loved the street food of this country: the langos, a dough of fried flour and served with ingredients to taste, (the classic is with sour cream and cheese) is simply delicious (but so heavy not to be able to eat one whole alone!).

Living in Budapest by Erasmus

The typical dessert instead is the kürtőskalács, also known as the chimney cake, a sweet dough that can be covered with chopped hazelnuts, chocolate or coconut.

An experience of inner growth

Certainly what can leave Budapest as a city to a student who lived it during her Erasmus is the idea of a lively, young and animated city that stands out to be one of the most beautiful European capitals but above all one of the most animated at nightlife level.

What this experience taught me instead was learning to question all my knowledge and to look at the world through the eyes of others, at times, to be able to understand it better.

Taking on this experience simply changed my life, allowing me to get a different awareness about me, my limitations, my abilities and everything around me.

Living in Budapest by Erasmus

Living in Budapest by Erasmus


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Comments (1 comments)

  • Nikola Chudyka one year ago

    Did you go on Erasmus alone or with some friends? I will probably go to Budapest alone, and although I don't have any problems with making new friends I am worried a bit ;)


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