I met lots of people here who think that Budapest is a big and crowded city. Believe me, not that much. At least for me. I was born in Istanbul which has a population of 15 million people. Here is the little clue to be able to make comparisons – the population of the whole country of Hungary is 10 million.
Because my parents were working, I had to leave for school when I was 3 years old. During my 22 years of life I spent at least 3 or 4 hours per day on the way to school and to come back from school. That is only the case if there is no traffic of course. If I do something else besides going to school, the situation changes. Some days I spend 5 hours on public transportation. Sometimes more. I don’t even want to mention transfers that I make between public transports. It may look like I am exaggerating. I didn’t even realize that I had to do all these things until I moved to another country.
After arriving in Budapest, I realized that my life started to change. Not only because I am in another country and I am an Erasmus student, but also because I started to devote time to myself. I started to go everywhere, whenever I want. I can walk to my school, to grocery stores, to restaurants, to touristic places, to my friends’ houses. Summing it up: I can walk everywhere. I don’t have to check the bus times, traffic and transfers. Even though I have a student pass I do not have to use it. My friends whom I told how many kilometers I walk per day thought that I don’t even have a student pass. I do, but I don’t need it. I have my feet and an opportunity to walk. This opportunity opened up to me with my new life here.
If I had to give an example: I go home to eat when there are free periods between my classes. It may not seem like it, but it’s a great privilege. It is also related to living in the center of course, but there is not even a center in Istanbul.
Surely, I experienced the difficulties that everyone experienced. Sometimes I feel very lonely and depressed. This is my first experience of living apart from my family. Nevertheless, I feel very lucky to be able to have this experience in Budapest. Before I came here what I expected was to be able to devote some time to myself and discover new things. That’s why my daily routine came very quick. The days feel longer and I can use them more efficiently here – from my first day until now.
If I start feeling a little lonely, I go outside right that second. While living in Budapest, I can say that I am not a lazy person. I just look around and catch myself admiring the buildings. I enter the streets randomly and I get lost there. Every time I discover something different. I watch the Danube and I always feel surprised how beautiful the city is in the evening.
Before, I was sure that my Erasmus experience will give me a lot, but I would have never imagined that I feel like I am at home. Now I know that this is my other home and whenever I am coming back again in the future I will feel like this.