The ‘Paris of Middle Europe’ is sure a treat for one who wants to go back in time. In Budapest you could live amongst the relics of the Roman and Ottoman occupation. Whilst the Romans built Aquincum, the capital of the Pannonian Province, the Turkish set up several Baths and Thermals and the Russians laid foundations to Socialist buildings on the outskirts of Budapest including blocks of flats and hospitals.If this variation isn’t enough, Buda and Pest along the banks of Danube, comes with distinct flavours of its own.
STUDY IN BUDAPEST
While the Hungarian Universities are not as popular as the Universities in other parts of Europe like the United Kingdom, Germany and France, it is definitely picking up pace to compete in the realm of international education standards. This is reflected by the fact that 6 Universities from the country have actually made it to the World University Rankings® 2016/17 list. 3 out of the 6 Universities mentioned belong to the city of Budapest including the Eötvös Loránd University, Corvinus University of Budapest and Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Apart from these universities, several other Universities that attract the attention of international folk include University of Debrecen, University of Szeged, Central European University, Semmelweis University and the University of Applied Sciences (BKF).
With most of these Universities offering a wide array of options to choose from, ranging from exchange programmes to summer courses to full time graduate degrees in foreign languages such as English and German, it is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international students. Hungarian Universities, especially attract minds that are drawn towards medicine, veterinary sciences, dentistry, pharmaceutics and technical courses like engineering. This is especially so the case over the last 10 years where Hungary witnessed approximately 4000 international students.
If you are an exchange student coming to study in Budapest, make sure you find out from the university if they offer international student accommodation for short term students. It’s always a better environment to stay at.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN BUDAPEST
In terms of composition, it is believed that most international students hail from Hungary’s neighbours like Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia. Furthermore, it is also common to find students from Serbia, Germany, Norway, Turkey, Nigeria, China, Japan, Iran and Israel. This makes for a cosmopolitan culture that is sure to create a very welcoming international environment for students.
International students who go to Budapest for an exchange semester make sure to recommend the nightlife that city offers. From ruin bars and pubs to discos and clubs and of course, the thermal bath host the most unforgettable nights (Although you may not just remember anything considering alcohol is pretty cheap).
There are several districts in Budapest. We’ve detailed it on our other post,…………… Have a look at it to get a better idea.
It’s highly recommended that you study the map while selecting your accommodation. Although it is not obligatory to find a student accommodation in the same district as your university, it is important to consider travel distances. Although, even distance wouldn’t matter much when you get travel tickets for a month for 10 EUR only in a fairly well connected public transport system! Most students opt to stay in the V, VI and VII. districts. Most clubs and pubs are centralized in these localities as well. Furthermore, most big university campuses can be reached in 20-30 minutes time.
COST OF LIVING IN BUDAPEST
For those yearning to live the European life in a student friendly budget, Budapest is the ultimate destination. Although it boasts of affordable student accommodation, it does not compromise on the lifestyle. Basically, for an experience of a lifetime that is affordable, Budapest is the place to be.
According to Campus Hungary, apart from your tuition fee, a monthly budget of 150,000 Hungarian Forints, which account to be approx 520 EUR/690 US Dollars would be sufficient to cover rental costs, utilities, basic transport and also limited entertainment.
Here are links to help you make your monthly budgets:
TRAVELING AROUND BUDAPEST
The public transport system in Budapest is operated and managed by BKK. They have a wide network of routes covered in their many modes of transport including trams, buses, metro,trolley buses and trains. The first three modes operate 7 days a week from 04:30 till 23:00.
When you choose your international student accommodation in Budapest, make sure to check transport accessibility as well.
Unlike other cities where there is a possibility to buy tickets once you board, it is not so with Budapest with the exception of the night bus nightwork. It is mandatory to purchase tickets from one of the many vending machines at most bus and tram stations in the city. You could either purchase a single ticket with which you could travel any length without switching transport or a special ticket that lets you change transport or route. If you a regular commuter, you would want to consider some season tickets that provide value for money. More details on your transport card options can be found here.
The metro rail network has 4 lines in total that connect you to various parts of the city. Based on the location of your international student accommodation in Budapest to your University or any other destination, you can pick you line. For detailed information on the 4 metro lines, click here.
One of the most extensive tram routes in Europe belong to Budapest. Don’t forget to hop on to Tram 2 that passes by the most scenic tram route over the river Danube in Pest. Apart from 2, line 19 and 41 have the touristic attractions gathered.
Characteristic to Budapest is the red Trolley Bus, that is environment friendly but restricted to 13 routes in the Pest downtown area and in Zugló only.
The train system, called HÉV Suburban Railway, primarily connects the outer areas of Budapest city and closeby town like Gödöllő.
Most people in Budapest use buses to commute. With over 200 routes on their map, they have an extensive area covered. Express buses, travel along the same lines, but stop in only the important junctions. Buses also travel in the Buda Hills region. During the night, the special night buses operate till the normal ones take on business from dawn.
Other than these, Yellow StreetCars, Danube River Ferry Service and Riverboats are options for you to travel across the city.
SAFETY IN BUDAPEST
Although Budapest may not report high levels of violent crimes, you need to watch out for petty thefts. Apart from this, women travellers especially feel safe in the hands of the city. A few tips to anyway keep in mind with to have an amazing stay in Budapest without being robbed or cheated are:
- Board only those yellow Taxis that have a Taxi sign attached to the roof of the car and the windows display the name of a reputable taxi fleet as well as the prices
- Taxi drivers at times work on commission. Clubs and restaurants pay taxi drivers who bring in tourists to their locations a certain sum of money. So, be sure not to fall prey to praises about a particular place and obviously, never ask them for recommendations.
- Double check the currency notes given to you from the taxi drivers or anyone for the matter. They could well be outdated notes that are illegally circulating in the country.
- Whilst walking in train stations, markets or any other locality that has a huge influx of tourists, be sure to keep your valuables in the inner pockets of your jacket if possible. Bag snatchers and pickpockets are quite common in the city.
- Avoid money exchange units off the streets
- Keep your drinks and valuables to yourself during your night outs. You never know what your drinks could be spiked with and who could walk away with your valuables.
- Feel free to leave bars and restaurants that do not have their prices listed on the menus. If you like the place too much to leave, be sure to confirm the rates of your order before consumption. This is the case especially in Budapest’s District V, on and around Váci Utca, the primary touristic street.
- At times, pickpockets and vendors work together and whilst one distracts you, the other has his/her way through to your valuables. So, keep an eye out.
- Even in your student accommodation in Budapest, make sure you keep all your important document in a safe locker.
Hungary has a National Tourist Office dedicated to the purpose of making travel in Hungary safe and enjoyable for people. Keep note of this number: 438-8080 and use it to receive any assistance on how you could report the crime to the nearest police station.
VISA APPLICATION FOR BUDAPEST
All overseas students who wish to study in Hungary for over 90 days in a row and who are not EU citizens are subject to a long term study visa to Hungary. Depending on the country of your origin, the requirements for this particular visa will differ, so make sure you get in touch with the Hungarian Embassy or Consulate in your country to get a detailed version of what goes into preparing for your visa. However, in general, here are certain requirements:
- Letter of acceptance into a University
- Proof of paying for Tuition fee and proof of funds to support your stay at Hungary
- Passport that has validity lasting at least 6 months after you arrive
- Visa form
- Recently taken passport photos
- Health Insurance
- Proof of residence / student accommodation in Budapest
If you plan to reside in the country for over 90 days, it is obligatory to apply for a Residence Permit in the first 15 days of your stay in Hungary, irrespective of the fact that you belong to the EU or otherwise.