I. GENERAL INFORMATION

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1 Study Program: Psychology Exchange semester: September January 2016 Academic year: Host University: Corvinus University Budapest Country: Hungary I. GENERAL INFORMATION For my exchange, I went to Corvinus University, which is located in the centre of Budapest. Budapest is the capital of Hungary and therefor a rather big city. The university was located near the river, in the hart of the city. It was very easy to reach, either by walking (depending on where you live) or by using the public transport system. Since the university was located in the city, the campus was kind of small. It consisted of three buildings, which were all located on walking distance from each other. The university had facilities to follow sport classes, however it does not have its own gym. So if you want to fitness by yourself, you have to subscribe to a private gym. The university also has places to eat, one located in the basement of the building and two small stores in the main building where you can buy some sandwiches. However, the prices do not differ that much from the prices when you would go to a bakery, or restaurant nearby the campus, and the food and the atmosphere is a lot better there. So I would recommend going to another place! For me the biggest different with Tilburg concerning the university and the campus was that people do not really study at the university at Corvinus. The library is quite small and beside the library, there are actually no places where you can sit down and study. Most people go to a cafe nearby the university to study. The university currently has three big faculties, namely: Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Economics and the Corvinas Business school. Besides these, they also have smaller faculties: the faculty of landscape and agriculture and food. De university had students in the year and around 1850 international students. These are the most recent numbers their website shows, but the university has only been growing since then. It is one of the largest universities in Budapest with the most international students. Different then Tilburg university, Corvinus prefers to have small classes, with about 20 students. The courses are more interactive and usually the teacher knows you by name. This made it easier for me to make contact with the other students. We often had to work together for group work.

2 II. PRACTICAL INFORMATION The University was perfectly on time with providing me the information upon arrival. Already in April they confirmed my registration, and in the period following up to my arrival they continuously send me information about the registration for my courses, about the program for the first few days and about things I had to take care of before arrival. Because of all this information, I did not encounter any problems. Corvinus also has a buddy program, which means that every international student coming to the university is matched with a Hungarian student. This person contacted me upon arrival to see how I was doing, and if I had any problems. He was also willing to help with my arrival in Budapest and offered to pick me up from the airport. I decided to just do it myself, but if anything would have gone wrong, it was good to know that I could contact him for help. Luckily I did not encounter any problems with my arrival. Before it was time for the first day at this new university, they had already provided me with information about this day and what the program would look like. We first started with information about the university and the different organizations they had, which could maybe help us. After that we had to go to the director of your own faculty, to officially subscribe and to get your student card. After that, there was an information market with information about bank accounts, telephone providers and the activities which ESN Corvinus organized during the semester. In the evening they organized some games at the university in order to meet other exchange people and after there was a party. The games and the party were organized by the local students from ESN Corvinus. HOUSING The university itself does not provide you with housing in Budapest. They did sent me a link with a website I could use in order to find a room, but they do not give you an apartment themselves. Since this was the case, I decided to look for an apartment myself. For me it was more comfortable to to this before I arrived in Budapest, because I preferred to arrive their and be able to go to my new house and unpack right away. It was also possible to arrange your accommodation after arrival in Budapest. I know some people who did this and they were very satisfied with their choice as wel. In the beginning of september, the university organizes a week in which people can meet each other in order to find roommates. Then after you find nice people to live with, you can search for an apartment together. The only risk then is that the nicer apartments are already taken. On the other hand, you do know with what kind of people you are going to live. I was very satisfied with my housing and my roommates, but I do also know people who did not really get along with their roommates. So this is kind of the choice you have to make for yourself. I knew from another girl who went to Budapest that she had a nice landlord, so I chose to also rent a room from him, since she told me his houses looked nice in real life (which is something

3 you cannot always be sure of when you book online). I posted a message on his Facebook page that I was looking for roommates and very fast I got reactions from people that were also searching. In this way, I could chose myself which people seemed the best to live with. There are also other websites which you can use to find roommates or to find your flat, but for me Facebook worked perfectly fine. I would recommend to subscribe to all the different Facebook pages for Erasmus students, since a lot of people post here that they have a spare room, or that they are looking for roommates. For instance; Erasmus Budapest 2015/2016 (depending on the year that you go) or Exchange Budapest 2015/2016. Corvinus also creates a Facebook page, which only allows the people from your semester to join. COSTS Budapest is a good city to go to on exchange if you do not want to spend to much money. I received 150 euro s a month from the Erasmus grant and beside that I paid for things myself. I think on average I spend around 800 euro s each month. This included traveling, the cost of living and everything else I spend while living there. Compared to Tilburg, I would say that the prices in the supermarket are very similar. The prices for going out to party or going out for dinner are however a lot cheaper. This was something I valued a lot, since you want to enjoy your time, so you probably don t want to cook yourself every night. Budapest is a perfect city to go out for diner with friends, since you can eat out very cheap. Prices vary from 4 euro s to around 15, but on average I think I usually spend 7/8 euro s for a main course. Overall, I think I spend most money on traveling and on partying. The main advantage from Budapest is that you can do a lot of nice think during your semester, with out really worrying about your money. This were approximately my expenses each month: Flat: 330 Traveling: 150 Food: 150 Partying: 120 Transport: 20 Telephone: 10 Remaining: 20 UNIVERSITY My courses officially started at the 14th of September (I think this was rather late, so probably in other years they start earlier). The introduction already started before that. The first day of introduction was on the 4th of September. This day was not mandatory, but it was useful to attend. Because I wanted to make a good start and wanted to arrive before the semester

4 actually started, to get used to the city, I arrived at the first of September. I would recommend arriving before the semester officially starts, since in the week between the introduction day and the start of the semester, the university organizes activities for the exchange students through which they can get to know each other. The last day of classes was officially the 18th of December. The last week for Christmas was then the week in which we officially had our exams. However, teachers at Corvinus are rather free to plan the exams whenever they want. For me this meant that I had no exams in the last week before Christmas, I had already have exams throughout the semester and the last one I had in the last week of classes. Some courses have midterms, but there is not one specific week for this and you have a normal class schedule during your midterms. When you do not pas the course in one attempt, you can do a resit in January, after the Christmas break. The university has an international office. You can go here if you have problems for instance with your visa or any other problems. The person who send me the information and who is responsible for all incoming exchange students was for me Gabor Szalai. However, as an international student I think you will be mainly in contact with the head of your own department. The head of every department arranges the student cards for their exchange students and they take care of your subscription. For the faculty of Social Sciences this was Viktoria Simon. The international office provided all the information you needed and you could always contact them if you had questions. Beside the international office, as an exchange student, you are mainly in contact with the ESN organization of Corvinus. They organize for example a freshman camp (for all exchange students), parties, weekend trips to other cities, a pub crawl and other activities. You can easily join these activities and they are usually not too expensive. This was a great way to get into contact with other exchange students. The small classes also helped to get into contact with exchange students, but also with Hungarian students. I have had group work with fellow exchange people, but I have also worked together with some Hungarian girls. I think overall, you mainly have contact with exchange people, and not so much with the Hungarian students. Overall I think it is very easy to meet people on exchange, since literally everyone wants to meet new people. The activities organized by the university were therefore not necessary, but it helped. The trips that Corvinus organized were nice, but usually a lot of people joined. This meant that during such a weekend it took a lot of time to get from one location to another. We joined the first trip, which was the freshman camp, but after that me and some friends decided that is was just as easy to book the trips ourselves. In that way, we were more flexible during the trips, because we were with a much smaller group and we could decide ourselves what our program would look like. For your idea, we made trips to Vienna, Krakow, Bratislava and some cities within Hungary.

5 CULTURE With regard to the culture shock that everyone is preparing you for before you leave, I did not have one! Of course the culture is different than in the Netherlands, but I got used to it pretty fast and since you know that the culture is going to be different, this was not a shock for me. I think, when one would compare Hungary to the Netherland, the differences are not even that huge. The people are rather individual, which is also the case in the Netherland; which means if you sit next to someone in the bus, you have a good chance that they will not start talking to you. The people in Hungary are more grumpy then in the Netherlands. When you go to a store, people do not really smile at you when you pay, or thank you for coming. When you ask someone something on the street, you have a percent chance that they are willing to help you, it is perfectly possible that they just ignore you and walk through. I think this is the main think I had to get used to. I feel like people in the Netherlands are happy on average and more willing to help you out. This could also have something to do with the language barrier thought. Only a small percentage in Hungary speaks English and really understands what you are saying. So sometimes when I asked some older lady something, you could see that she got stressed out because she could not understand me, and as a result, she would just walk through. In the Netherlands you would have this problem a lot less, since a lot more people speak English. This was something I did not really take into consideration before leaving on exchange. The people in Hungary speak barely English and the Hungarian language is impossible to learn, so even after 5 months, you can still not talk to everyone. About the language, luckily everything thing on the University is in English and all professors and students can speak English very well. So at the university, I did not encounter any language problems. I did try to take Hungarian as a course, but for me it overlapped with some of my other courses. I did hear from friends of mine who took Hungarian that it was a very, very difficult language to learn. Besides my insides on the language and the characters of the people, I think I learned the most about the history of Hungary. I did not really think about all the things these people encountered in the recent history (WOII, Communism) and did not realize how much these things still effects the population of Hungary. This was most interesting for me to learn about. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Personally I think this exchange semester helped me a lot to develop. I learned to really live on my own, without being able to call my parents when something went wrong. I discovered that I am able to go to another city, where I do not know anyone, and start over again. Since you meet people from a lot of different cultures while being on exchange, you learn about habits in different countries and you learn about the differences in cultures. It made me realize that you can become friends with people from literally every country. It also made me realize that

6 sometimes you should not base your opinion about a person on the first impression that you have about someone, but that you should really try to get to know each other. I think these insights will help me later in my life when I have to work together with people from other countries, but also even when I have to work with people from my own country. I think it diminished my prejudice towards other people and made me more open. In these five months I think my worse experience was the first week. I really did not like the insecurity of being there on my own and wondering if I would ever find friends. Of course everyone tells you you will be fine, but the only thing that I could think about was, what if I am the exception and what if I have to spend 5 months here on my own. Gladly I found people to hang out with very fast which made things a lot nicer. I think the best experience (as weird as this might sound) was for me the day I left. By saying goodbye to all my friends there and my roommates, it made me realize what great people I met there and what good friendships you can make in only five months time. So even though this was quite sad, it made me feel happy inside. There are not any specific things that I will never forget, it is more the whole experience that will always stay with you! There are no things I would change about it. III. ACADEMIC INFORMATION The academic level at Corvinus University is not that difficult. All courses that I had were given in English and I think if you want, it is possible to follow some courses in German. I would not recommend anyone to take courses in Hungarian, since this is impossible to understand. All my classes were given in small groups, so that the teacher knew everyone and that I also knew all the other students in the classes. The grades for all my courses consisted of multiple components. For example for one course I had: An assignment, a midterm, a presentation and the final. For each part you could get a certain amount of points and in the end, these points added up was your grade (with a maximum of hundred). This work the same for all courses. Some had more components which formed your grade, some had less. The courses consisted thus all from a theoretical part and a practical part. Compared to Tilburg University, I would say that the courses are more practical. Due to the practical aspect, there was also a lot of group work during the courses. For each courses I have had to do some group work. The small classes lead to a more personal contact with the teachers. You can just ask them questions or them if you have problems and the relationship is not very formal. Overall I think the level of the university was not to difficult (the exams and the assignments), for some courses it was just a lot of work to fulfill. It is quite easy to pass all the courses and to get a nice grade, at least, if you fulfill all the assignments. Therefore I think the overall workload was a little bit more then in Tilburg, but it was not necessarily harder. I did not need to buy any books.

7 Whenever I really needed a book, it was always available to rent one in the library. A lot of courses did not have a book to work with. The library was easy to access. The first time you go there, you have to pay for your library card, the costs for this is around 3 euro s and this gives you access to the library for the whole semester. You also use this card to rent books. There are computers in the library which you can use and there are quite a lot of tables you can use to work on with your own laptop. I believe it was not possible to reserve computers if you wanted to work on them, so you had to be early to use them. Besides the computers in the library, there were not really other computers available at the campus. The exams at Corvinus where pretty similar to the exams at Tilburg University. Some courses had exams with multiple choice questions, others preferred open questions and I also had courses which did both. The exams where all given at the time of the class itself, which meant that you had one and a half our to finish it. This was enough time in all cases. In the end I was satisfied with the grades that I obtained. COURSES The courses that I took were: 7SO30NFV80B Economic History None No exam 3 Essay 7SO30NFVA8B Economic Sociology None Written 3 Midterm and final 7SO30NCKF2B Individual and Group Interviews None Written 6 Final and few assignments 293NMARV519B Marketing research None Written 6 Big assignment, presentation, midterm and Final 7IL50NIV01E Hungarian Civilization None Written 3 Final 7PE20NCKC3B Conflict Management None No exam 3 Small assignments 7PE20NGKE2B Project Management None Assignment 3 One big assignment, several presentations

8 If you prefer having easy courses, I can recommend Conflict Management and Economic History. However, these are probably also the courses I learned the least from. So if you prefer to actually learn something, then I can recommend Marketing Research. This was probably my hardest, but by fa most interesting course. (I never had marketing as a course however, so this could have something to do with it.) The period of exchange does not matter a lot for the courses I believe. Maybe some course are only thought in the first semester or only in the second, but I did not encounter any problems with this. Corvinus is a great university to go to on exchange, since they put a lot of time and effort in making exchange students feel at home. The only thing I would take into account when choosing, it is only allowed to take one course from another faculty at Corvinus. So if you want to broaden you horizon with a different direction of courses, you might want to take this into account. SOME LAST WORDS Overall I can recommend everyone to go to Budapest on exchange and also to go to Corvinus. I can honestly say I have no regrets about the time that I spend in Budapest and that I had an amazing time. The tips I can give you based on my experience are at last: It is not really necessary to open a bank account. I did so, but I don t think this was actually cheaper and it took a lot of time and paperwork to actually open and close the account. For only five months, this was not worth the effort. I would recommend to get a mobile provider there, since this allows you to use internet and to call people (always convenient when you get lost). I did this at Vodafone, but that was mainly because Corvinus had contacts with Vodafone, so this was the easiest one to take. I am not sure this was also the cheapest option. But most of all, enjoy your time on exchange from the very first moment that it begins!! A semester goes faster than you think and before you know it, it is already time to go home again! If you have any further questions, or if you just want to know more about my experience, you can always contact me! My address is

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