“I wanted to see how universities work outside of Switzerland”

“I wanted to see how universities work outside of Switzerland”
Laura, whom I met in a coffee break in the second week of BESU, arrived from Zürich. We talked about why she decided for BESU and how finds it.

How did you come across ELTE?
I was browsing through the international possibilities on my university’s home page when I found ELTE. It looked a promising opportunity, since Budapest is close, and the courses are similar to the ones we have in Switzerland.

Why did you decide to participate in the summer university of the Institute of Business Economics?
I was looking for a program outside of my specialization which still complements my studies. ELTE’s summer courses were just like that, so it wasn’t really much of question which summer university I was going to attend.

What were your expectations, and were they satisfied?
I wanted to see how universities work outside of Switzerland and how they approach some specific topics like economic policy. Other purposes were to improve my English in an international environment. These are going to be achieved, I think, since the teachers are high qualified and speak excellent English. Also the Hungarian students are friendly and open-minded. This was a great opportunity to learn more about the Hungarian culture and opens my horizon.

Could you say something about your accommodation. If you chose a residence hall, how do you like it?
I chose the residence hall offered by ELTE, and I found it both well-equipped and modern. The building is nice and the rooms are really comfortable. I loved living in an accommodation because you have the opportunity to live with other students from another country. I appreciated a lot to exchange some knowledge and life experience with my roommate for example. The downside of living in a residence hall is the distance from downtown. On average it took over 40 minutes to get downtown by bus. 

How did you like the extracurricular programs like excursions and city walks?
Due to its my first week, I didn’t’ have the opportunity to join them yet. We had a quick introduction at the beginning of the week, which was led by two students. They were really helpful and gave us some good recommendations for sightseeing, good coffees and shops. Regarding the extracullar programs and city walks, I only can say, what I heard from other students, that the programs were all well-organized and that they had a good time. Given what I heard I do intend to participate next time. Also, I don’t want miss out on any of the sights in Budapest.

Erasmus students call Budapest the „party capital”? Did you do any partying so far?
I didn’t have a chance to go any pubs, mainly because my accommodation is so far from downtown. I do, however, want to have a taste of Budapest night life. After all having fun is also an important part of the summer university, right?

Talking about Budapest, how did you like the capital?
I adore it. Budapest has so many historic buildings and sites I want to see while here, such as the fabled Parliament, Heroes’ Square, the Synagogue and the Basilica.

How does Hungarian and Swiss higher education differ on your view?
The main difference is length of the lessons. We do have coffee breaks after 45 min lessons.  No this is for Hungary. I can add here, that Profs have a good sense of humor and are still very professional.  Our classes last usually only 45 minutes.

What other courses would you have liked to attend in addition to the ones actual offered?
I prefer topics within humanities and social scientists to narrowly economic ones. So I would very much like lectures on social competencies and sociological issues, as opposed to tedious technocratic affairs.

How did you like Hungarians? Were they different from what you expected?
The general picture seems to be that they are reserved or even unfriendly, but I think that’s completely false. I really liked the locals; people are helpful and smiling. Each country has its share of cold and stern people, but this, on the whole, is not characteristics of Hungarians.

Do you plan to visit next year as well?
I would love to, and for two reasons. One is ELTE with its quality teachers, classes and courses. The other one is Budapest, which is genuine experience, with far more places to visit than I expected.