- -  Day # 250  + +

EU > Hungary > Budapest

Six months abroad

Budapest, HU (View on map)

Since the integration in the European Union, Hungarians have not flooded Western Europe in the way the Poles and the Romanians have. As I found out during previous day, the delayed interest in foreign languages forms an important barrier. Added to that, Hungarians seem to be very fond of their own country and region. Moving from one city to another can already represent quite a challenge. Still, many young citizens are tempted to visit the outside world. Temporarily moving abroad used to be luxury, but for Budapestian students and graduates, it`s already becoming business as usual. Today`s question: which European destination would you choose if you were to study or work abroad for 6 months?

Zsofia (29):

..wouldn`t mind living in The Netherlands
Andor (26) doesn`t need a lot of time to think about an international adventure. He is already experienced in the matter, having lived and worked in Berlin and Brussels. `I am working in interactive media and I quite closely follow the trends around the world. I like to visit congresses and many of my customers are located outside Hungary. The UK would be a nice next stop, but I actually already planned going there. I just need to choose the city that suits best. For now, the options are Glasgow and London. I should start to make up my mind, as I plan to leave within a month.

Good schools
Kata (21) would like to spend a semester in Stuttgart. Like Andor, she is expecting to make that dream come true on short notice: `I am studying at the music academy in Budapest, playing organ. I have heard that Stuttgart has a very good music school. I would love to go there, even though I haven`t been. I speak German, so most of what I need to do is get good grades during the next two years and then hope that I will get to go.`

As much as Kata would like to go to Stuttgart, she shivers at the idea of having to move much further north than that. `I would definitely not want to go to Finland. I think of it as very cold, dark and depressing, and I`d like to avoid that if I could.`

Adina (23) is studying jewel design in Budapest and she would have a hard time choosing a suitable place. `It would be either the UK or Greece`, she says, commenting that she likes England for its high intellectual level of studies over there. `Going to Greece would be more inspired by the weather, the Mediterranean atmosphere and the fact that it is well known for archeology, which is the domain I want to work in after graduating.` Adina does not know many Hungarians who leave on exchange programs, but her friend Viktor (23) does. Adina explains it by saying that Viktor is probably more open-minded and in closer contact with people who have international ambitions. Viktor himself is planning to go to either Barcelona, or to a city in the north of Italy. Although he is quite sure of going, he first needs to learn some basic Spanish or Italian to be able to make his project come true.`

Zsofia (29, photo) has other plans on her mind. After having studied and worked in Geneva and Krakow, she is now contemplating on returning to Hungary. `Geneva was nice for its proximity to the mountains, but it was otherwise quite boring. Krakow is small but very pretty, even though I think I have seen every single street of it by now. I don`t speak Polish which makes it a bit hard to enjoy the cultural life, like going to the opera.`

`I wouldn`t mind moving back to Budapest with my boyfriend and our child. But if Budapest would not work somehow, I would like to try Dublin, Paris or Amsterdam. London would seem to be a logical choice too, but I think that London is quite `outdated` as a destination. That`s where everybody wanted to go in the 1990s. I like the idea of living in Ireland because of the lovely people over there. Paris needs no explanation, it`s the place where the food is good and it has a lot of atmosphere to it. I speak French, so language would not be an issue. In The Netherlands, Amsterdam is pretty much the only place I have seen so far. I like the bicycles and the big, open windows. I work in human resources, and having done that in several countries, I don`t think trying another one would pose major challenges.`

Language skills
Miklos (26) finished his studies some time ago and thinks that his chances of leaving abroad for some more studies are as big as those for winning the lottery. `It might happen for work in a way`, says Miklos, who works as a web designer. If so, I would have The Netherlands as a first option, with the city of Utrecht as a favourite. Second would be Sweden. I have been to The Netherlands but only in Amsterdam and I`m not sure whether I actually saw any Dutch people there. It`s more the idea of tolerance and open-mindedness that attracts me. I see Sweden as a calm and friendly country. I have a friend who studied there and he had lots of positive stories about it. He sent me some news and cultural material to read, so I do have a basic impression of the country.`

Miklos further confirms what Zsofia already explained earlier: `Hungarians still need to get used to the concept of living in another country. For now, it`s mainly young people from Budapest who may be affected. Add some students who decided to specifically chose to study languages, and that`s pretty much where it ends. Since people in Budapest are more likely to speak foreign languages than people from elsewhere in Hungary, I would be tempted to say that Budapest serves as Hungary`s main gateway to the rest of Europe.`

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