According to a recent survey 60% of Erasmus’ students are female and 80% of these students are the first in their family to study abroad. A significant factor in this increased European mobility is the EU’s express wish to reach 3 million international scholars next year.  The effect is visible in our country as the number of students arriving from abroad has increased tenfold.

Launched in 1987, the Erasmus is the European Commissions’ most successful and well-known program. It promotes the development of higher education and supports international mobility within Europe. All EU Member States participate in the program as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey and Croatia. The minimum monthly scholarship of participating students is 200 euros; the maximum amount varies with each country, but usually doesn’t exceed 1,000 euros.

These are the ‘dry’ facts. However, if you watched the movie titled ‘L' auberge espagnole’ or maybe were an Eramus student yourself, you would know that Eramus has much more to offer. It helps you learn how to adjust to a new environment, get to know other cultures, make your own decisions and accept responsibility for yourself when stepping in the adult world. In other words, it’s the most exciting step that awaits you.

Our team at WeLoveBudapest was curious to know what the visiting Erasmus students think of us Hungarians. We wanted to see if there are any typical problems they have to face and, more importantly, what do they do during their time off, when they are not sitting in a lecture hall. And of course we would like to offer them advice to facilitate their integration.I arrived, but where am I going to live? Accommodation is the first and foremost challenge that an Erasmus student faces. “Even-though I had a Hungarian friend who offered me a couch to crash on upon arrival, I still had to look to rent an apartment” – says Stephan, who arrived a little over a year ago and decided to stay in Budapest after he finished university. “I had no clue about prices or where to look. All I knew is that I didn’t have money to throw out of the window and that I couldn’t afford to be fooled.” He ended up finding the apartment that most suited him through a real estate agency. “I recommend it to everyone, it is the cleanest way to do it. If I have any problems, I have somebody to turn to for a solution. I don’t speak any Hungarian, so it was very helpful that they could also arrange housing related issues – phone, Internet, etc. I definitely suggest renting downtown, in the 5th, 6th, 7th districts. It’s very lively there and close to everything.” It’s Suzanne’s second year in Budapest and she experienced the same. “ I lived on Jókai Square for a long time. I loved it. When it was time for me to move I also decided to go through a real estate agency, and they did a fast and good job with finding me my new home. I live 1 minute from Kiraly Street and I’m really happy there. As far as the prices, I believe you can rent a relatively nice flat for 200-300 euros. Of course if you decide to share the apartment as few of my classmates do, the maths become even more appealing.”Hello, cheers, beer and kissIf you found the place you will be temporarily calling home, practically all you have to do now is enjoy yourself. Or at least that’s what the students say. Back to Stephan: “We go out twice, sometimes even three times a week. I became a regular customer at Ötkert and Szimpla. We also organize house parties at each other’s places. We actually came up with our own version of ‘Vacsoracsata’ (literally translated as Dinner Battle) that we named ‘Cooking Business’. At these events we cooked for each other. It also gave us the opportunity to learn more about each other’s kitchen culture.”

Suzanne had similar things to say, but she did add: party here, party there, the lack of knowledge of Hungarian language continues to provide difficulties. “The first and most important words I can say from day one are: hello, cheers, beer and kiss. I have to admit that I speak English with most of my friends and classmates, so my Hungarian definitely needs polishing. And parties are not exactly language schools. Us folks from Erasmus tend to create a tight-knit crowd and usually go everywhere together. This is wonderful, because we form really close friendships, but can have a negative aspect too, as sometimes we seem unapproachable.”Is there help?We were curious to know whom can you turn to for help, whom can you count on, if God forbid, the need arises. “The university, the student council, the local Erasmus or international relations offices are always willing to help” says Stephan. “But to tell you the truth, whenever I was in trouble I turned to my Hungarian friend, because I felt it was more direct.” “Yes, I did the same” adds Suzanne. “It was just simpler that way. Luckily I didn’t have any major problems. I only had to go to the doctor once since I’m here, and thanks to my international health card, everything went smoothly. Of course it’s an altogether different issue that they had a really hard time understanding me at the clinic, due to their poor English.”TOP 5 best nightclubs in Budapest recommended by Erasmus students

  • Szimpla garden – this spot, located in Kazinczy Street, could be the main headquarter for the Erasmus students, it suits them completely
  • Morrison’s – probably for the magic of Wednesday night’s karaoke party
  • Old Man’s Pub – definitely for the atmosphere
  • Instant – they say for the house party vibe upstairs, otherwise they do like to organize house parties at each other’s places
  • Ötkert – perhaps the biggest melting pot downtown, where everybody blends in

The venues we would suggest for you

  • Doboz – new, trendy, and you can organize your own house party there
  • Holdudvar – Margit Island is visited by many pupils for sport, and the place is large enough to accommodate groups
  • Corvintető – it can be a bit extreme albeit it’s rather sweet and cozy
  • Minyon – is for the dance-crazed who like to be seen
  • 400 – spacious with a big heart, good kitchen, and affordable drinks

You can find trustworthy accommodation for yourself here

To ensure that you stay out of trouble if trouble hits youEuropean Health Insurance Card:

Hopefully you won’t need it, but besides your passport and student ID it is probably the most important document to have. Everyone has to get this card in their own country, at the local social security office. With this card you will qualify for various health services in Hungary and in other countries of Europe. It’s good for 3 years, so you don’t have to worry about extending. Its benefits:
  • with the card you will receive the same care as any Hungarian citizen
  • if you are hospitalised, you will not pay a dime more then a Hungarian citizen which means you will not be liable to pay the full whack
  • if you have this card you don’t have to fight with bureaucracy
  • it’s free

Are you an Erasmus student? Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Don’t hesitate, write to us!