Tobias Fellinghauer, Master International Business student at MBS, is currently spending his semester abroad at Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary. Here, he regularly shares his experiences.
Update: Nearing the end of his semester abroad, Tobias shares his thoughts on living in Budapest and studying at Corvinus University.
Looking back on your semester abroad, are there things you would have done differently?
In general, I’m very satisfied with my activities in my semester abroad and how things turned out here in Budapest. I experienced one of the most trending cities in Europe and could explore lots of very interesting places in and around Budapest. When I look back, the only thing that I maybe would have done differently is travelling more. With Wizzair for example, it’s possible to go to various locations in Europe for very little money. However, staying most of the time in Budapest was also great because I could get to know more places and focus on the city itself. I also had my girlfriend and family come over here, which also was a great time.
What advice would you give future MBS students going abroad to your host university?
Definitely go to Budapest and enjoy this beautiful city. It’s really worth a visit and 3,5 months in the semester abroad are a great time to spend here. Compared to MBS, the courses in the university are not that time-consuming so that there is plenty of time left to travel or explore the city.
What has been your favorite experience this semester?
Well, generally, Budapest is really amazing by night because all the bridges and the sights are lit up, which gives the city a very special flair. The nightlife is also a great experience here with the many “ruin pubs”. Furthermore, the food scene is really great and you can experience new and different tastes on nearly every corner. There are lots of spaces in the city to enjoy good food and there is something for everybody.
One of my special experiences here in Budapest was the street art tour I made. Here I got lots of insights into the street art scene in the Jewish quarter and the paintings were also very nice, creative, and meaningful. This also taught me lots of facts about the city and its history.
Another very nice experience was the site visit of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel during my Tourism Management course. Here we could take a look at the fancy and luxurious suites and bedrooms, which was very interesting to see, and get to know some interesting facts about the hospitality industry.
Unfortunately, there is not enough space here to describe all my special and great experiences here in the capital of Hungary and I could only describe small excerpts of it. From my perspective now, it was an awesome time here and I learned a lot, be it at the university, socially, or culturally. I’m really grateful for having had this experience and don’t want to miss any part of it. Now the only thing I can do is enjoying every second of my remaining 2 weeks here in Budapest.
Update: Some weeks into the semester, Tobias shares his experiences on living and studying in Budapest.
What’s different/similar to life at MBS/Munich?
I’m in Budapest now for a little more than a month, and could discover some differences between Munich and Budapest and also MBS and Corvinus University. First of all, the university is far bigger than the MBS building. Corvinus University has three major buildings where lectures take place: one IT building, the impressive ancient building right at the Danube, and a newer building where most of the lectures are held. Secondly, there are many more students than at MBS. Although the professors try to get to know you, it’s still more anonymous. Thirdly, although Budapest is a huge city, everything in the center can be reached by foot which gives the city its own flair. Another very nice advantage of the city is that they are really customer friendly when it comes to opening hours of shops and grocery stores which are also open on Sundays and always until 10 pm.
However, there are lots of similarities. The classes which I’m attending are very international, which I also know from MBS. It’s also fun to get to know other people here. The classes are quite small as well with about 30 people per class, which is quite good for learning. Another similarity is that Budapest is great when it comes to food, which I also know from Munich. Although both cuisines have a different taste, there is a huge variety of different and innovative restaurants, bistros, and cafés. In general, Budapest and Munich are different due to their cultures. Still, there are lots of similarities, which makes it quite easy to adapt to the lifestyle here.
What are things you would still like to do while at Budapest?
Actually, it was my plan to visit Lake Balaton. As I have done this and experienced the fantastic vineyards including a great wine tasting there, I’m almost done with my bucket list of must dos here in Budapest/Hungary. From time to time however, there are organized events like a boat party on the Danube which should be quite good and which were recommended to me by a friend of mine who I got to know at the university. Furthermore, I’m planning to check out some more spas here as there are plenty of different ones.
What has been something that surprised you?
The fact that lots of Hungarians understand and partly speak German. This makes sense, due to the Austrian-Hungarian history. But still, it feels strange because the Hungarian language is so different from any other language I learned before.
Furthermore, I didn’t know that the city is really that developed and so packed with great places to see, restaurants, and spots to party – a quite nice surprise in my opinion.
Another instance which surprised me was how we got our flat. After having contacted lots of landlords through Facebook and other rental flat websites, I almost gave up writing and it was quite clear for me to go and find something when being on location in Budapest. One day before our (i.e. me and my fellow student Benedikt, who is also spending his semester abraod at Budapest) departure from Munich, I got a message from a landlord who offered a flat and a visit on the day of our arrival. The apartment he showed us was great and we signed the rental contract one day after. I was surprised that this went so easy and probably we were lucky. But this was a very smooth start into my semester abroad in Budapest.
Why did you select your host university?
I decided for Corvinus Univeristy of Budapest because their reputation is quite good. As I didn’t want to spend too much money for going to universities in the USA, Australia or UK, my focus was pretty quickly on European countries. I have never been to Budapest before, but while informing myself about the city and the country Hungary, my decision was quite clear. I heard so many great things, which brought me to the point where I wanted to get to know the Eastern European culture and the city of Budapest.
What do you hope to gain during your semester abroad?
I hope I can gain some more international experience. I have not much experience with Eastern European cultures and want to get to know the people and the mentality a little better. As a semester abroad always also connects people, I hope to network with people from all around the world and stay in contact with them. Maybe someday I will be able to benefit from that.
What do you think might be different than at MBS?
MBS is quite a small university in comparison to Corvinus University. At Corvinus, there are about 10,000 students and therefore, I guess the atmosphere might be a little more anonymous. At MBS, you usually know all the people, and professors even know you by name. On the other side, as there are more people at Corvinus University, I guess it’s possible to get to know more different people. Furthermore, my main studies are in Munich, Budapest is an exchange semester. I think the workload will be lower, and I have some time to explore the city and the surroundings.