Five things to do if you are starting your Erasmus semester in Budapest
Whether you really are an exchange student just starting your semester/year in Hungary or you just want to try some special aspects of Hungarian student life, do not worry, we have your to-do list ready.
We collected five things for you that you should try as soon as possible to get into your Hungarian lifestyle easier. To make your transition even smoother we suggest the first words or sentences that might come in handy for each program. So let us see!
Open-air concert and traditional street food
You are lucky because you arrived just in time to go to a concert at an outdoor venue, like Budapest Park, for example. We have awesome Hungarian bands who actually sing in English but if you do not mind not understanding the lyrics then the choices are even wider. Yes, I am aware it is already autumn but this is the best part. You had the whole summer to dance in the warm breeze.
Now it is time to try your luck: do you go home dry or soaked to the bone?
Well, nobody knows, but in my experience, rainy concerts are the ones that have the most amazing atmosphere. (Actually, I just got home from one of those.) Of course, you need something after the rain and all the jumping, so here comes the second part.
You must try one of the street buffets that are named after a ‘néni’ or ‘bácsi/bá’.
Trust me – it sounds strange but it is a unique experience. They usually serve traditional Hungarian foods, often a little greasy, but if you had a drink, that is just perfect. It is often much cheaper than a fancy or well-known place, it is more likely to be open until late and some places are truly hidden gems producing quality food.
Your words to learn: néni (aunt, old lady), bácsi/bá (uncle/old man).
Depending on your free time and money, you can choose to just travel around Budapest or to visit other parts of the country as well. For the latter, we have some great destinations for an autumn trip.
If you wish to see Budapest, make sure you try all different types of public transport.
Metro line M1 is a true retro-experience, for example. You could also try the BKK (Budapest Public Transport Company) boat which crosses the Danube.
Unfortunately, we always have some renovations, so your word for the program is – pótlóbusz (replacement bus).
If you are already in the city, do not dare to miss a walk along the Danube at night. It is the most spectacular sight you will see and it is always within your reach. Should you have the time, make sure to cross one of the beautiful bridges, so you can also check out the view from the other side.
Once you are done with the walking, try one of the ruin pubs.
Ruin pubs are an essential part of the Hungarian student life, they are always lively and comfortable and you are sure to meet some fun people. Lucky for you, we even have a ruin pub guide ready, so you do not have to do anything else but learn:
Egészségetekre! (cheers in Hungarian, literally meaning to your health)
If all the concerts and pubs wear you out, then it is time to recharge on Margaret Island. This little treasure between Buda and Pest is a favourite of locals and tourists alike. There is a fun music fountain, a little zoo, sports parks and wonderful views.
Come with your new friends for a picnic or chill with a book under the trees.
Margaret Island is a wonderful green spot in the city and welcomes you all year round with its beauty. Make sure to try most things from our list of 10 things to do here.
Your word here should be sziget (island), which shall be easy considering the festival.
Hungry in Hungary?
Of course, another point is necessary to be dedicated solely to the food. The list of Hungarian specialities you must try is so long that I do not dare to begin.
Let us just say that you will have something new for every week of your stay.
If you need a little help, start in the nearest shop and buy a Túrórudi (cottage cheese covered in chocolate). And if you are ready for bigger adventures, you can check out the first chimney cake pastry shop. Keep checking back to our webpage, we regularly post about traditional meals with recipes.
What else would be the sentence here if not Jó étvágyat! (Bon appetite!)
We hope you will have a wonderful time here, and make sure to share your favourite things to do in Budapest! Üdvözlünk! (Welcome!)