Getting Our Footing in Budapest, Hungary


Nine UNH students begin their study abroad journey in Budapest, Hungary.

Emma Kostyun, Contributing Writer

Nine strangers met for only their third time in Boston International Airport to spend the next four months with each other. After eight hours in the air we touched down in Budapest, Hungary. Through the horrors of baggage claim and the long taxi ride we arrived where we would be staying for four months.

Before we had a moment to catch our breaths, things took a turn. After four long nomadic nights waiting for our permanent residence, we found ourselves in gorgeous singles that included private baths and kitchenettes. Smiles were plastered on our faces, and we were ready for our adventure.

In this first week we have taken many excursions ourselves to get accustomed to the city, its sights and the wonderful food. There was Goulash, the famous Hungarian dish, as well as one of my favorites so far:Skalács which are fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar. It translates to chimney, which is very fitting considering the dough was rolled up into a cone shape.

We’ve indulged in Italian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, Hungarian (obviously), Japanese and even the Burger King down the street. Now that our rooms have kitchenettes I’m sure there will be more meals in the rooms, but for the past five days most meals have been out at a restaurant. Good thing everything here is cheap!

While we were walking around we stumbled upon a ferris wheel that takes you up and over the whole city line. Although a few were afraid of heights, we had a wonderful time smiling for pictures and taking in the rolling hills and tall buildings around us.

The Danube is a river that runs right through Budapest, it reflects the night lights into the sky and it feels as if you’re looking at the Boston skyline. Trams run along the streets and way below is the metro. Even though we’ve only been here for a short time, we have begun to understand the systems and even know which stops to get off at.

During the first couple of weeks, we attended an orientation at the university we’d be studying at. At orientation we met students from all around the world, many from Spain,  Poland, South Korea and Indiana. We’ve begun to become affiliated with a few passing phrases to help us in our day to day life as well as the schedule for our classes.

To wrap up our second week, the nine of us traveled to Pécs and Mohács in Hungary to witness the Busojaras festival. This festival, as we were told, is a celebration to bury winter and welcome spring. Very fitting as the weather begins to warm up and our puffer jackets find their way into the depths of our closets.

The traditional wear for the festival includes a furry suit with masks and horns; these local males that dress in the attire throw flour and feathers at the young women. We ladies were not aware of this ritual upon arriving and were very surprised when the first “attack” occurred. Upon further questioning to our tour guide we discovered that this is to symbolize a mating ritual that occurs in the spring. 

Besides the flour bombs and lots of traditional Hungarian dancing, we partook in lots of food as well. The staple soup of the festival is a bean soup that contains vegetables, meat and (you guessed it), beans. It was seasoned with the country’s favorite spice paprika and was a hearty meal that we all enjoyed. After attaining some souvenirs we found ourselves on the road back to Budapest.

This ends the first two weeks of this adventure and begins the next three months of many more.