Amy – Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Semester 2, 2019
Bachelor of Urban Development (Urban and Regional Planning)
For the second half of 2019, I decided to spend a semester of exchange at Corvinus University of Budapest. Overall, despite some initial challenges, I can easily say now that it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. This was all made possible by being able to travel to multiple cities all over Europe, meeting people from all around the world, and of course, being able to experience a completely different culture.
When I first arrived in Budapest towards the end of summer, it reminded me of a lot of Brisbane’s weather – hot, humid, and quite windy. However, after not too long, it became a lot colder. Since Hungary is located in central Europe, it doesn’t get as cold as some of the more northern European countries, but by wintertime, it was freezing! In saying this, there was actually only one snow day during my entire stay there which was kind of disappointing but overall the weather was better than I was expecting.
Accommodation in Budapest
During my stay in Budapest, I decided upon living in a four-bedroom apartment in central Budapest as it was the cheapest and most convenient option. Luckily, for exchange students coming to Budapest, there are multiple student rental agencies (recommended by the various universities) that list available apartments for rent during your time on exchange. I was able to rent an apartment in Budapest’s 8th District for 5 months, which I shared with three other university students.
Overall, my apartment was good as it was very safe (there were three security doors to even get into the building!) as well as being spacious, highly affordable, and in a very convenient location. My only regret about accommodation and something I would recommend to anyone thinking of going to Budapest for exchange is to try and avoid living in the 8th District. While it has improved over the years, it is still one of Budapest’s most dangerous neighbourhoods and I can definitely attest to that. While nothing bad happened to me living there, I definitely felt on edge walking around alone – especially late at night.
Going to university at Corvinus was definitely very different from QUT. Firstly, attendance was compulsory, and you missed a certain number of classes you would be automatically failed. Classes also had more of a school feel as the lecturers knew your name and had around 20 students. I had classes Monday to Thursday which meant I had long weekends every week, allowing for travel to nearby cities. There were three buildings that made up the university, all within walking distance of each other, with the oldest, main building having the best location, next to the Danube River.
Travelling from Budapest was very easy, whether it be by bus, train, or plane. I managed to travel to 12 different countries while I was on exchange, all for reasonably affordable prices. Budapest has a good international airport which was easily accessible from the city with multiple flights leaving and arriving each day, making flight prices reasonable. I also took a few buses and trains to cities close by to Budapest however I much-preferred planes as flights were much faster and not that much more expensive.