Moving to a new city as an expat or an international student can be a lonely experience at first, whether it’s a matter of language barriers or that you simply don’t know where to even start making new friends. The first few months can be especially hard when you miss everyone from back home. To make things a little easier, here’s a little primer on how to feel less homesick and more settled in Budapest.
Hang out at some expat events The good thing about meeting other expats is that you’ll find they often speak your language in more ways than one. All expats and international students have experienced that “fish out of water feeling” that comes with living in a new city and country, so they’ll know exactly what you’re going through. A good place to meet new people is to join the International Quiz Nights at the Caledonia Pub. It doesn’t matter if you’re going alone, you can always find a friendly team to join!
We wrote about other expat events earlier this year, many of which will continue in 2015.
When? Every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month
Where? Caledonia Budapest Scottish Pub & Shop, Mozsár Street 9, VI District
Cost? 700 HUF, 500 HUF for Expats Hungary cardholders
Keep an eye on Expats Hungary’s site for more events and meet ups.Join a book club If you’re the literary sort, then you can meet some like-minded bibliophiles at Budapest Bookworms, a local English language book club which hold monthly meetings. If you want to dip your toe in the water before meeting group members, most of the activity takes place via their Facebook group, where you can discuss the given topics actively with other members. The meetings are highly informal, and open to anyone interested in taking part – even if you have not read the book!
When? Once a month, for the exact date keep an eye on their Facebook group. Where? Caledonia Budapest Scottish Pub & Shop, Mozsár utca 9, VI District
Tip: Members get the chance to pick the book for the next month at the meeting.Take advantage of Brody House’s non-member nights
Brody House is a private members club that’s a great place to meet like-minded creative individuals, but the only catch is you need two members to approve your application. The good news is there are events open to non-members, such as Brody’s monthly comedy night, Brody Underground Cinema and literary dinners, so you can still meet new people there and become a member down the track if you so wish.When? Wednesdays (see
Brody Studios Facebook page
for event dates)
Where? Brody Studios, Vörösmarty Street
38, VI District
3500 HUF (comedy night)/1500 HUF (movie night)/12,500 HUF (literary dinners)
Tip: If you want to become a member, come along to a few events and make friends with those already going.Join a sports club
For those of you who want to keep fit and stave of the loneliness with some endorphins and new friends, you can join a number of expat sports clubs. Budapest Exiles, for example, started off as a rugby club exclusively for expats, but since 2000 they also welcome Hungarians to join, so this is a great way of making friends and getting fit! They have men’s, women’s and junior teams, and they are also a part of the Hungarian Extra Division League. They dub themselves as being a “bunch of ‘nutters’ playing rugby and making the best of living in Budapest”.
When? Tuesdays and Thursday 7pm
Where? Kispesti Atlétikai club sports grounds
Tip: Contact them on their website to find out more information about training and joining the team.Attend and English language supper club If you’re feeling a bit lonely and would like to dine with other interesting and fun people, you might want to check out Share My Table’s dinners. This private supper club offers a gourmet feast in a hidden apartment restaurant. These suppers are great if you’re a foodie looking to meet other gourmands or you simply want the comfort of a private dinner party.
When? Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays 6-8pm; Jewish-themed dinners Wednesday 6-8pm and Sundays 12-2pm.
Where? That’s a secret! The address will only be disclosed after booking.
Cost? 7500 HUF (in-home dinner party)/15,000 HUF (Jewish flavours)
Tip: Join the Hungarian cooking classes for something different, or swing by for breakfast!Party away the loneliness in a ruin bar
It’s become a cliché, but it’s easy to meet people, particularly English speakers and international students, in places like Szimpla Kert and Instant. If you’re feeling lonely and need someone to warm the bed for the night, then these are the places to be. These are also places where it's very relaxed and easy to strike up a conversation without looking to pick someone up - although many might be tourists passing through - there are also many international students and some locals that also hang out at these popular hot spots.
When? Every night
Where? Szimpla Kert, Kazinczy Street 14, VII District/ Instant, Nagymező Street 38 VI District
Tip: If you’re looking to meet Hungarians rather than backpackers, then go to Fogas Ház nearby for a similar atmosphere.