Hungry for Hungary

Entdeckungen in Budapest

In loser Folge veröffentlicht der Urspringblog Beiträge in englischer Sprache. Lesen Sie nachfolgend einen Reisebericht über die Erasmus+ – Fahrt nach Budapest.

Eight students from Urspring accompanied by Mrs. Gerspach took part in an exchange of the Erasmus+ program “There is no Planet B” from October 13th to October 20th 2019 with our Hungarian partner school Xántus János Secondary School, which is located in the inner city of Budapest. Our student representatives worked intensively with students from Hungary and Belgium on topics which are all related to water. Here’s what happened during the exchange:

On Sunday morning (13th Oct 2019), we gathered at the airport in Stuttgart and took off at 10:05 am on time. The landing was at about 12 o’clock at Budapest Airport where we met our Hungarian exchange partners with whom we spent a whole wonderful week. In the afternoon, our Hungarian friends showed us the beautiful city of Budapest and brought us to a festival, which was somewhere around the Heroes’ Square. There we had a chance to experience the Hungarian culture and taste some Chimney Cake.

The Erasmus+ program officially began on Monday (14th Oct 2019). We met at 8:30 am and had a guided tour through the school. There are about 800 students, who study in the old-fashioned but magnificent school buildings. After the tour we got divided into 7 groups, in which we worked on different topics like “Water as renewable energy resource”. Then we joined a dancing-lesson led by Mr. Stéger, and we were given the chance to learn the traditional Hungarian folk dance – every single one of us was overwhelmed. In the afternoon the famous part of every Erasmus+ program took place: the Food Court, as always. We tried the food and specialties from Belgium, Germany and Hungary (It was quite surprising, that the Hungarians also had spekulatius and liverwurst prepared – just like us). The last item on the agenda for the day was to present our school to the others, where the Urspring representatives had the job done with their “well-prepared” presentation in no time at all. And that was our first full day in Budapest.

On Tuesday (15th Oct 2019), we first got a lesson about Microplastics in the ocean by a Hungarian Geography teacher as a little “warm-up” for the project work. Then we were allowed to work on our projects until lunch. After lunch we went on a sightseeing tour through Budapest. The city of Budapest is divided into two parts by the Danube River: Buda and Pest. The Buda side is hilly and semi-suburban, and on the Pest side there is the city and the plain area – where the school is located. We walked all the way from Pest to Buda and visited the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Chain Bridge, the Buda Castle (Palace of the Hungarian kings), the St. Stephen’s Basilica (a Roman Catholic basilica) and the Matthias Church (the Roman Catholic church of the Buda Castle). In the evening, all of us – accompanied by our exchange students and Mrs. Gerspach – went to a restaurant and had dinner together to celebrate Jana’s birthday.

On Wednesday (16th Oct 2019), we spent the whole day on a trip to Lake Tisza (about a two-hour drive from Budapest). We first went on a walk around the dam and talked about the ecosystem of Lake Tisza. Afterwards, we headed to an ecocentre, where we had a look at the local species and some other animals from other countries. The last program of the day was really interesting: we got divided into 3 teams, each team went on a boat with an instructor. The aim was to reach certain islands on Lake Tisza and find an object, which could be located by a GPS-navigator. All of us really enjoyed this little competition and the beautiful scenery of Lake Tisza at the same time. We came back to Budapest at about 8 pm.

On the next day (17th Oct 2019), we kept working on our projects and presentations (we had to present our work on Friday). As all the groups were done, we Germans and Belgians surprisingly got a quiz about Budapest – basically the information we’ve heard in the last few days. In the afternoon we visited the Hungarian Natural History Museum, which honestly was quite boring (as you can tell, we were the only visitors in the museum). There we saw a lot of samples of insects, minerals and fossils. Some of us went on a sightseeing boat on the Danube River in the evening. It took more than an hour, but we were able to see the stunning city of Budapest from another point of view.

On Friday (18th Oct 2019), we presented our results in front of all the participants of the Erasmus+ program and two English classes from the Hungarian school. Everyone was well-prepared and talked fluently. After the presentations, the winners of the quiz and the selfie-challenge (we created a Facebook group, in which everyone could send photos; the photo with the most likes would win the challenge) were being announced – sadly, none of the Urspring students managed to win the prize. Finally, in the afternoon, we went to one of the most famous spas of Budapest – Széchenyi Spa, to what we’ve been looking forward to all week long. The water was in perfect temperature, so that our bodies could have a full relaxation. We spent almost 3 hours in the spa. This was the end of the program from the school.

The Belgians left Budapest on Saturday morning (19th Oct 2019). Thanks to Mrs. Banholzer, who booked our plane tickets, we were allowed to stay one day longer in Hungary. There wasn’t any specific plan for Saturday: some of us visited another city near Budapest; some slept until noon … But we still met in Budapest at about 5 pm. We met on the Freedom Bridge and enjoyed a romantic sunset …

Eventually, on Sunday morning (20th Oct 2019), it was time to say goodbye to our lovely Hungarian hosts. We gathered at the airport at 10:30 am and had the last farewell. As the plane took off from Budapest, the one-week-long program came to its end.

Parting is always heartbreaking and sad, especially after such an amazing week. But it wasn’t the end of the Erasmus+ program: a reunion in Belgium in February is already on the schedule!

Text & Fotos: Jiahong Felix Yuan & Jacob Hochbaum

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