Study Abroad in Hungary

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A Guide to Studying Abroad in Hungary

From the ashes of Soviet occupation, Hungary has emerged as a top European destination and one of the most desirable study abroad locations. Hungarian folk culture is still living and breathing, because the nation has successfully preserved its historic streets, buildings, and towns that give visitors the feeling of an Old Europe untainted by the trappings of modernity. It is a rich locale with Central European charm without the high prices of many other destinations. Students are sure to experience the authentic Hungarian culture and history by choosing to study abroad in Hungary.

Geography & Demographics

Hungary is located in central Europe bordered by Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, and Ukraine. It is generally flat but has some mountainous areas in the north and west. Lake Balaton, known as the Hungarian Sea, offers nearly 230 square miles of clear waters surrounded by beautiful castles. lt is a wonderful place to visit in the spring and summertime.

Food & Culture

Hungarian cuisine consists mostly of pork and other meats that are usually topped with a salty and spicy red sauce. Their national liquor is Pálinka, a fruit brandy. Making the popular drink has become an art form and it is often enjoyed as a way to begin or end a meal. Exercise caution if partaking because it quite strong. Hungary is also famous for its mulled wine and cinnamon twist pastries that are available around Christmas time.

Hungarian culture has a rich and distinctive history that is influenced by the many different people that have lived within its borders. It is influenced by Romanian, Austrian, Transylvanian, and Turkish cultures. Black pottery, intricate lacework, and bright embroidery are among Hungarian specialties. 

While Hungarian is the official language, many people, especially in cities such as Budapest, are able to communicate in English. Visits to a doctor or pharmacy can be a little complicated so write down medications or take a Hungarian speaker with you. Otherwise, communication is usually easily established.

Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric language that is distantly related to Estonian and Finnish. It is not related to any other European languages and can be quite difficult to learn and understand. However, with determination, any language can be mastered. Empress Elisabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire learned Hungarian even though she was originally a Bavarian princess! The Hungarian currency is the forint.

Harry Houdini, perhaps the world’s most famous magician, was born in Budapest. Other treasured Hungarians include composers Franz Liszt and Béla Bartok, the actor Béla Lugosi, and inventor of the Rubik’s cube, Ernő Rubik.

Things to Do

Hungary is regarded as a generally safe country and traveling in Hungary by train is very easy and stress-free. Although things can get a little crazy on October 23rd, the anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, or on days of big soccer matches. Smaller villages and large festivals offer visitors a chance to feel local and in touch with the past and present. Dress in traditional scary garb during the Busó Festivities at Mohács to help scare away the winter. The event is so unique and integral to Hungarian culture that it is recognized by UNESCO. Hungary’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites include villages, caves, the banks of the Danube, and several others. Plus, the famous hot outdoor baths can be visited year-round.  

Studying in Hungary

Most educational programs for foreigners are limited to larger cities like Budapest. The types of educational programs are available for all educational levels. While some programs are inherently focused on Central European studies, others are based on the liberal arts. For instance, the graduate programs at Central European University in Budapest are all taught in English and have a wide variety of programs to choose from. However, other universities are more interested in foreign students being immersed in Hungarian language and culture. 

Choosing the best program for you depends on your priorities. If you want to spend some time in Budapest without learning the language, a more broad, English-language program would be appropriate. But if you want to gain a more culturally-enriching experience, an immersion or language-focused program would be more suitable.

The API Budapest program lets students choose between semester and yearlong programs. Their mission is to help students evolve from tourists to global citizens. Undergraduate courses in economics, business, and social sciences are taught in English. Some graduate level courses are available. Program fees include pre-departure and on location assistance.

Academic life and expectations in Hungary are similar to those of the United States. Students are expected to do class readings, submit papers, give presentations, and pass exams. Most professors are experts in their fields and have vast amounts of experience to pass on to their students. Additionally, there are many archival opportunities in Budapest for historians looking to do research.

Housing options are very diverse depending on the area but students can pretty much find whatever they want. There are many apartments for students to rent alone or to share with roommates at reasonable prices. Many students are able to find well-maintained, furnished, older apartments in historic areas of Central Budapest at very low prices. If you prefer on-campus housing, some universities offer state-of-the-art dormitories with pools, cafeterias, saunas, bars, and laundry rooms. 

Most people from Western Europe, the United States, Canada, or Australia are not required to get a visa for long-term stay in Hungary. Students of these countries require a registration permit that most universities will help them acquire. If your country is on the list of countries where a visa is required to enter Hungary, you’ll need to get a visa and then a registration permit after entering the country to stay long-term.

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A Guide To
Studying Abroad in Hungary


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AIFS Study Abroad in Budapest, Hungary: Semester or Year

Spend a semester or academic year in Budapest with AIFS. Earn 12 credits studying abroad at Corvinus University of Budapest, with an additional 3 credits available for a supplemental fee. No previous Hungarian language study is required. This Full Curriculum Program includes courses in art, art history, business, economics, Hungarian language, international relations, law, management, market...

Riverside promenade in Szentendre, Hungary

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Discover More in Budapest - Study Abroad with API

From historic Buda to lively Pest, students who study with API in Budapest, Hungary will see all of the cities wonders. Budapest offers an active student population, ruin pubs, and a rich cultural heritage around every corner. Have class next to Budapest's famous central market and see more in the city and beyond with API's many excursions included within the program fee!


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Budget Low Cost - University of Pecs (Summer)

There are many ways to spend your summer break. But if you wish to hone your academic learning and cultural knowledge, sign up for our summer study at the University of Pecs in Hungary! This is an affordable program that includes housing, local excursions, cultural activities, and other essential aspects. There are two programs to choose from: Hungarian Language & Culture and the Social Ent...


CIEE Central European Studies in Budapest, Hungary

We’ll show you Budapest though the eyes of its people. Through a series of specially designed courses, you’ll develop insight into Hungary’s historic, political, economic, and social development in the wider comparative context within Europe. Homestays, internships, and cultural activities and excursions will bring this beautiful city and its local traditions to life.


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Shadow doctors in Hungary. 20+ AAMC-compliant hrs/week.

The Atlantis Fellowship gives pre-medical and pre-health students AAMC-compliant, ethical shadowing hours in international hospitals. The Atlantis mission is to help pre-medical and pre-health students pursue their callings in medicine passionately through their interactions with international healthcare. Atlantis is committed to partnering with students on their way to becoming a doctor, wh...


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International Programs

Spend a semester or the summer studying at a leading university in Hungary with International Programs. Students attend the Corvinus University in Budapest, where 70 - 80 courses each semester are taught in English. The university offers a wide range of subjects including Business Administration, Economics, and International Business. Students may also opt to learn Hungarian to help them commun...


Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education (BSME) participants will immerse themselves in mathematical exploration to experience first-hand learning in the Hungarian approach; then they will investigate how to bring this pedagogy into their future classrooms. They will observe Hungarian mathematics classrooms and will plan and teach their own lessons to Hungarian students (in English). In the ...


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The Learning Adventure of a Lifetime

Live like a local and explore the European door to the Orient with Youth for Understanding in Budapest, Hungary. Participants will live with a local family and experience what it's like to be a Hungarian teen. Make new friends and discover the city while attending the local school for a semester, summer, or full year. Regular, gap year, and special music programs are all offered.


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The National Registration Center for Study Abroad

Travel to Hungary and live in the capital of Budapest on a short term study program with The National Registration Center for Study Abroad. Participants receive instruction in the Hungarian language from native speakers in private or semi-private tutorials held at the student homestay accommodations. Program includes orientation and cultural activities.