The other side of Budapest life.
Although Budapest has a lot of nice and good things, as we all can see on this blog, there are also other things that shock me or irritate me about Budapest life. It is small things, but important everyday things. For example the language is problem number one. I know English is not the world language, but is one of the most used languages in the world. And one of the language most diverse countries know.. but Budapest…? Budapest still needs to go to high school and start at the first semester to learn English, especially old Budapest.
The museums are mostly just in Hungarian, and if they are in another language it is mostly German. People on the streets don’t know a language more than their mother tongue, and if they do, it is 80% German. What about the non-German-speakers? What if I go to the museum? I can’t understand anything, because it is in Hungarian. For example when I was in the Terror House, everything was in Hungarian or German. Finally I found some letters that explained the story in English. Thank god! But… still, it’s just a tip.. Budapest, modernize yourself and learn some English. Adapt to become a more popular, international place!
Doctors don’t speak English, or pharmacies.. My German Erasmus friend went to a doctor who could speak German, but I would be lost, and so would a lot of other international people.
The second thing is the teachers at the university. For me, it is incredible that teachers can arrive 30 minutes TOO LATE!!! This would be impossible in the Netherlands. They just keep you waiting in front of the class, without letting nobody know that they will be late or whatsoever. Sometimes I think I will just leave, because although we are students, this is not a polite or nice way. I already knew this when I was a little child. It didn’t happen 1 or 2 times that they kept us waiting, but several times and I almost wanted to say something about it, but then it would be disrespectful maybe. On the other hand, is it not disrespectful to have so many people waiting for you? Sometimes they even show up from the room next door, or a room in the same corridor. Or for example they come, say nothing (already too late) and then leave again without letting us know something or opening the door of the classroom. It’s insane for me and quite irritating. So, tip to the university teachers: don’t leave your pupils waiting too long or so often, they won’t take you serious anymore!
Another thing that has its’ positive and its’ negative sides is the train transportation. It is incredibly cheap. Of course that is the positive thing but why do the trains ride like an old grandmother? By scooter I could almost travel faster to get to my destination. And this is not a foreigners view on this topic, because I talked with ‘locals’ and the Hungarian people complain about this too. They say that you shouldn’t take the train, but just take the car. It is for sure that you arrive faster at your destination than with the train. So another tip… get faster trains! J
The fourth thing is that young people can be scary sometimes.. I met with young people in different cities across Hungary. The thing they have in common is that they are really nationalistic. This doesn’t need to be scary, but the way they can talk about gypsies, Jewish people or even yesterday about French people. All the nationalities that did something wrong to Hungary or the areas supposed to be it are bad countries in their eyes. They can say in the face of a Frenchman that they don’t like him because of an agreement that was made years ago. The young guy can’t do anything about it, but still they say it. For example, disliking German adolescents for world war II would be insane for me. They didn’t live then, they didn’t choose, they can’t do anything about it that they are born in a country that used to have a bad leader. I even heard from a friend that she felt uncomfortable because young people where speaking about taking their land back and reuniting Hungary with their former grounds. Nationalism is not a bad thing, but the way they show it, is strange and awkward for me. Even a little bit scary. When I speak with adolescents from different countries, we will almost never talk about politics, let alone about taking our ground back. Even seventeen year olds talk this way. I wasn’t even interested in politics! But that is just me of course.
The fourth and last thing is the salary people get here. Doctors earn 500euro in a month. But people know they are high educated and respect them, so they will get money ‘under the table in an envelope’ while having an appointment. In this way doctors can earn a lot more. This is not a fair way, it is not ‘white’ money. I have a Hungarian friend here and she told me she was searching for a summer job. I asked her what kind of job she wanted and how much she would want to earn a hour. She told me it didn’t really matter, but she wanted to earn 1200HUF and she even told me that she knew it was probably too much to ask. I started calculating in my head and was shocked. It is 4 euro. In the Netherland, with her age, the minimum would be 6.85 Euro. This is the minimum, most companies give even higher salaries. I earned double for 1 hour of work. Even though life is cheaper here in some ways, it surprised me. How can people ‘survive’ on this amount of money? How can a doctor rent or buy a house if he just earns 500 euro. If I worked a lot in 1 month, it was possible that even I could earn this amount and I am an ungraduated student. It’s is so weird for me… and unfair.
So that where the points I wanted to share with you that are less nice about Budapest, because you should know that too. Check out the story about the student protests too!