Budapest is an ideal scene for international studies and travel. Cinemas, theatres playing in English, cafes, festivals, sports events, and lively nightspots—all at reasonable prices—make the city attractive for students. It’s easy to get around by taxi, subway, bus, bike and foot.
Budapest, a beautiful, cosmopolitan city of approximately two million people. It has served as a busy cultural, intellectual and artistic center since the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Despite the destruction of the First and Second World Wars, Hungary retains a rich cultural and architectural heritage. Students can explore the ruins of a Roman city in Northern part of Buda (Óbuda), mosques and minarets from the 16th century Turkish occupation, buildings of medieval Buda, and remnants of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the castle district, and historic synagogues and artifacts of Jewish life in downtown Pest.
Students can attend a variety of concerts and theater, dance, and opera performances, or encounter an interesting blend of Hungarian and Western culture in Budapest’s jazz and rock clubs.
Most Hungarian students speak English, however it is hard to find people over 40 who can give directions for example. Many Universities offer exchange studies or semesters for foreign students. Today most students can find themselves in an international environment.
Students should be very cautious with taxies, they can easily be ripped off. It’s best to order a taxi over the phone from a well known taxi company and if possible agree upon the fare in advance. It is not advisable to take a taxi on the street if it does not belong to any large taxi company.
Budapest has a good public transport network, buses, underground and trams run frequently especially in the rush hours. The night bus network ensures transportation during the night. This way it is not a problem to get around in the downtown areas after midnight. Passes are available at modest rates, travellers are controlled frequently, so it is best to buy tickets or a monthly, weekly or 3-day pass. However Budapest is not a traditional city for bikers, biking is getting more and more popular in the city. As more and more bike paths are being built it is much easier to get around on two wheels than it was ten years ago.
Some places to go to
Margitsziget (Margaret Island) on the Danube is a great spot to relax. It is a huge park with no traffic, there are two swimming pools, one all year and one seasonal, a small zoo, a small lake with goldfish and a lot more. Many people, even foreigners go out jogging on the recently renovated jogging track around the island.
Budapest has many Museums. The Museum of Fine Arts located at Heroes’ square holds a great collection of European paintings and it offers temporary exhibitions of great value and some additional cultural programs as well.
The cafés and pubs at Liszt Ferenc square and the pedestrian street Ráday utca offer a nice opportunity to have fun. These places are frequented by local young people and foreigners.
Students can find accommodation in downtown flats from 3-400 USD a month, but it is worth paying a bit more for a nice, renovated downtown flat with all necessary comfort. If someone is on a low budget it is cheaper to get a flat outside the city center area. If the flat is located close to the underground it is easy to reach the centre, but be careful, one can travel an hour or even more from the outskirts. Internet connection is not common in all flats, but more and more households are connected. To get an offer it is best to search apartment offers online in advance. Some providers offer flats for students or when arrived, you can buy an advertisement daily, but those will be most likely in Hungarian.
News and media
Many foreign newspapers are available at most newsstands, such as e.g. the Economist or the International Herald Tribune. It is useful to get a copy of Funzine, the free weekly program magazine which contains all necessary cultural information such as English speaking movies for example. This brochure is available in most cinemas and fastfood restaurants.
In most flats international TV channels such as CNN, BBC World or Sky News are available. BBC-RFI radio broadcast on FM 99.1 in English, French and German. Wireless internet is available almost everywhere.