A semester at BBS means: a beautiful city, low prices, lecturers with excellent English skills and the very well-organised student “Xchange Group” with great offerings for Erasmus students!
The inhabitants of what was formerly the Kingdom of Hungary refer to themselves as Magyars. The country has the world’s highest number per capita of Nobel Peace Prize laureates! They are a friendly people with a culture similar to Germany because of the country’s historical development. Most of the young people speak English, and some of the older people can speak German. Hungarian itself is not like any other European language. As a result, it is helpful to learn a few expressions before spending an Erasmus semester there. There is lots to discover in Hungary, from the sun over the Carpathian Basin, the wooded low mountain ranges and the boundless Pannonian Steppe to the Balaton holiday region and the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Hungary is also a major spa destination thanks to its many thermal baths. You should definitely try the national dish, pörkölt stew, but also goulash, chicken with paprika and lángos to get a feel for Hungarian cuisine.
One good reason to spend a semester in Hungary’s capital city is the low cost of living. On average, everything is 44% cheaper there than in Hamburg. A monthly bus or rail ticket only costs around EUR 10, exactly the same as a prepaid card for your mobile phone. Entry to Buda Castle works out at around EUR 1.20 (EUR 1 is approximately equal to 310 forints). Budapest is a little like Vienna, and will win you over with its very special charm. The legacy of the Habsburg Dynasty is evident, with the magnificent buildings in the city centre giving way to more run-down areas the further you go out of town. The Danube divides the city into Buda and Óbuda in the west and Pest (pronounced “Pescht”) in the east, with most of the action of day-to-day life taking place on the Pest side. From the Pest shore, there is a wonderful view of Buda Castle on the hill in Buda. Most of the significant buildings are located near the Danube, such as the Parliament, the State Opera, the Fishermen’s Bastions and Hotel Gellért with its famous thermal baths. Andrássy út, a 2.4 km long avenue, leads to Heroes’ Square, the Hall of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts. After the end of Ottoman rule, most Germans lived in the part of the city now known as Buda. As a result, particularly older people here still speak German. But you will also get by easily with English. In August, the Sziget Music Festival takes place in Budapest, which attracts around 400,000 visitors each year!
Budapest Business School is the world’s second-oldest business school. It comprises three faculties “Commerce, Catering and Tourism”, “International Management and Business Studies” and “Finance and Accounting”, and HSBA students can choose courses from the last two of those faculties. It should be noted, however, that the buildings are approximately a half hour away from each other. Unlike the tutorials, participation in the lectures is voluntary, and most of the lecturers speak excellent English. Around 120 of the 20,000 students each year are there on an Erasmus programme. The “Xchange Group” is an established student organisation that arranges trips, parties and events and also helps with administrative tasks. The trips outside of Budapest especially are ideal for getting to know the other international students, the country and the culture better. If you want to work out, you can use the gym, the sports hall, the tennis and table-tennis courts. Gyde W. and Bennet B., who were the first HSBA students to spend a semester in Budapest back in 2013, are full of praise for BBS: “The university and the city offer the best conditions for an unforgettable student experience.”
There are no student halls, but BBS – or rather the Xchange Group – offers lots of help as well as various links and contact details for real estate brokers on its website (see http://en.bgf.hu/cimb/documents/erasmusexchangestudents/Xchange-Information-2015-16-autumn.pdf). The new Study & Joy Student Hotel geared to new and international students is also recommended. The hotel only offers one single room, three double rooms and one four-bed room, none of which costs more than EUR 200 per month. Most students look for apartments in Districts 5 to 7, which are all near the centre. A room in shared accommodation costs upward of EUR 250. Gyde and Bennet have said that it was relatively easy to organise an apartment, as the housing market is not so tough.