Ellen Rahm – Public Sociology – Level 3
Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to commemorate the initiative taken to arrange this cultural and educational exchange, something I hugely benefited from.
As an already international student experiencing the way of life at a Scottish University, I was equally thrilled to discover the same in Hungary. Living in the northern part of Europe, what I knew about Eastern Europe can definitely be considered minimal and my conception of what my exchange to Budapest would be like was blurry and unknowing. The first thing that hit me on the 22nd of January 2017 was the cold, second – the beauty! The old and beautifully preserved buildings of Budapest were all frosted in the winter mornings and I decided to walk to university everyday as it was just too stunning to miss out on. I must admit I harboured the misconception that Eastern European countries were quite square and industrial, but I could not have been more wrong. Especially as it came to spring and summer, I feel as if I could see a whole new world. I have seen beautiful forests in Ukraine and gorgeous lakes and beaches in Hungary, I have driven through Transitia, Europe’s only military state where we had to bribe the border police. I have sung karaoke in Chisinau and slept on a rattly train for almost 20 hours to Bucharest, where I had the best cakes and desserts I have ever had and my friends and I threw a party in our tiny hostel. I have familiarised myself with a new culture, spoken to the ones it belong to and hopefully understand this part of the world better.
In all of our classes there were conversations from the very start. No one knew everyone and everybody wanted to meet more people so it proved very easy to build relationships. I and a few other girls found each other as excellent friends, we had debates all the time, each person with a unique perspective and I would not be surprised if we will help each other academically and professionally in the future. The classes I chose to study during my exchange were almost all of them very engaging and provided a more practical understanding of the work we had learned at QMU so far. In terms of politics, international relations and foreign policies – Corvinus University were outstanding regarding teaching methods and contemporary relevance. For example, twice I week I attended the course ‘International Debates’, where there was a new topic each week, such as the 2015 refugee crisis or the South China Sea conflict. After we learned all about each topic, we chose a suitable country to represent in varying international councils or organisations. For a girl such as me who likes a good debate and is very interested in the workings of world politics – this was academic heaven. Additionally, the professors and lecturers were all from a diverse array of countries and ethnicities which ultimately strengthened the international consciousness of the classes.
Finally, I hope it is evident just how much I enjoyed my semester in Budapest. In the cultural, social and academic sense it was refreshing and enlightening. I would recommend this experience to all students as an opportunity to get to know the world as well as oneself a lot better.