I had an interview with Amy, an English student who arrived in Budapest in September 2017 and decided to do an Erasmus for an entire year. She studies Law at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) and told me about her experiences living in this city.
First of all, what made you choose to come to Budapest?
Unfortunately Riekie, I don’t really remember choosing Budapest. I knew I wanted to go on a year abroad and I think I got Australia as my first choice and then I don’t remember what I put after that. And after I got my results, it said “Amy you have been accepted at ELTE in Budapest”. And I thought “why not”, but I had no idea where it was. I didn’t even know it was in Hungary. So, I can’t really say there was a lot of thought and effort in this. When I arrived, the first thing I said was “Where is the sea? Is there a sea?”, I really had no clue.
You have been here since September last year and so you have experienced all the times of the year. Could you tell me what’s your favourite time of the year to be in Budapest so far? And why?
Well, right now has definitely been my favourite time to be in Budapest. And also between September and October, because it was as sunny as this. In the winter is was beautiful as well, but it was bitterly cold and I am not used to minus temperatures, even though I am from England. And I did not enjoy that. Also, I really don’t like wearing coats.
You must have seen a lot in Budapest. What are the things that you love the most?
I think that architecturally Budapest is absolutely beautiful. And I love the bar culture here, and how cheap they are. And I also love getting drunk on fröccs.
About the bar culture, are there some “secret” spots that you have discovered during your Erasmus that you would like to share with me?
Dobrumbra is a really nice vegetarian place. And I discovered Lámpás this term, which I really love. Also, Kék Ló is quite cool and Anker’t is my new favourite, I went there in the evening and it was really good.
And are there some things that you don’t like?
I don’t like the lack of food in the supermarket and I am missing sugar snap peas and kale. And I sound like such an annoying white girl, but it’s true.
Are there things that you have regretted so far?
I still haven’t been to the Buda hills and I need to go to Lake Balaton. But apart from that, I think I have been quite good, I have been to practically all of the museums and galleries, I have seen all the sights and eaten out a lot. I just need to eat out more.
Have you felt homesick since being here?
No, because I just ring up my mum for 10 minutes and she annoys me. Then I feel fine again.
Do you have some advice for people that experience being homesick?
Ring up your mum. No, when I first move to Budapest I would wake up and wonder what I was doing here, since I also have no work and nothing to do. But if you just wake up and walk along the river with a coffee, then you can see how beautiful it is here and realise why you are here.
Would you recommend doing a year abroad with Erasmus?
Definitely, I think you can learn a lot about yourself, even if it’s a bad experience. It has not been a bad experience for me, but I know that it has been difficult for some of my friends doing a year abroad as well. But they have become more independent people. And it is a great place to meet new people, even if you don’t like them. And to have the opportunity to live somewhere that’s foreign, where nobody speaks your language. And also to travel and having no responsibilities for another year. Prolonging your degree in my case.