Driven to Learn About Hungary

Hi everybody! Or in Hungarian … szia!

Time is flying and it is already October! It feels like I just arrived yesterday, yet I have made so many wonderful memories here. I cannot believe I am still here in Pécs, Hungary. I feel that my experience and time only gets better as the days go by.

“One Hungarian friend has already turned into seven Hungarian friends. It’s weird to say but all this would not have happened if I did not get my phone stolen.”

A few weekends ago I went to Budapest, the capital of Hungary. The city is enormous with such a stunning beauty. I can tell there is so much history, just from looking at the different types of architectural styles.

It is definitely a city where many cultures have merged together to make a beautiful place to visit. I had the chance to visit the Parliament, the Grand Synagogue, the Royal Palace, the Great Market Hall and St. Stephen’s Basilica. All of which were so very gorgeous!

The Parliament is huge in size and there was a lot construction around the building so I can only imagine how much bigger it will get. The Grand Synagogue was also huge, with an old look that holds its own beauty as well.

The Royal Palace has a breathtaking view overlooking the city. It was recommended that one goes at night to see the city’s shining lights; this is something I will definitely do next time.

The Great Market Hall was a favorite for me. It reminded me of the swap meet in my home city but on a different level. This market was massive, with two stories absolutely full of people, from locals buying their food for the week to tourists like me taking in the majestic atmosphere.

St. Stephen’s Basilica is, in my opinion, the most beautiful structure I saw — and that is just based on the outside. I cannot imagine the stunning beauty it contains within. When I visited we could not go in because there was a wedding that day, but I got to see the couple and, based on their emotion, I think anybody would fall in love with that Basilica.

There was also a marketplace that was recommended I go to called Gozsdu Market. It is a strip of locals selling beautiful merchandise along with many different types of places to eat. The strip had so much to offer; I went there over two days just to walk and just soak it all in.

The first night there our group went to a park surrounded by eateries and bars. We relaxed there with all the locals, trying to get that local Budapest feel. It was a lovely time. The whole park was full of people sitting on blankets listening to their music, eating food and enjoying a nice drink.

The second night our group met up with two other groups and went out for a night of fun throughout the city’s many bars and dining areas. It was such a great time! I could tell we were getting closer, forming a network. We were all talking constantly, dancing and just having fun overall.

It was definitely a weekend I will not forget.

Now, I did have a hiccup on the trip, however.

On the second night while I was out with the groups, I got my phone pickpocketed and I was unable to retrieve it. It was very unfortunate, however I learned a valuable lesson to just be aware and cautious at all times. Not everything will always be perfect.

While it really sucks to have that happen, I am determined to not let it hinder me on my journey. I am looking on the bright side. For one, with my phone gone I can just focus on the here and now and not what is happening back in America. Secondly, I also brought my camera so I can still document my travels.

I also see this as an opportunity to really break out of my shell and speak to others. For the past two weeks I have been hanging out with more and more people, making friends all over. It can be difficult but the people here are understanding and I have receiving support from lots of my friends here. I am determined to make this bump in the road work out for the best.

This ordeal also has helped me make my first Hungarian friend, Siham. She has been very helpful and understanding. She is so kind — she lent me her backup phone this past week for the duration of my stay. My friendship with her has also enabled me to meet and befriend more Hungarians, which is a goal of mine. One Hungarian friend has already turned into seven Hungarian friends. It’s weird to say but all this would not have happened if I did not get my phone stolen.

Talk about a blessing in disguise.

Lastly school has been great! I really cannot wait to go to all my classes. By far my three favorite classes are all on the same day, Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They are political geography, the European Union in international affairs and geopolitics. I always cannot wait for Thursday!

I feel like an absolute sponge soaking in massive amounts of information while having my eyes opened to the different perspectives other international students offer about these topics as well — not to mention what they think about the USA. Overall the master’s students are building me up in ways I did not believe possible. They have even added me into their Facebook group for the 2 year masters cohort.  I am very happy to be a part of their program, even if it is just for a semester.

I look forward to informing you all about my experiences next time! Until then, everybody!

Mauro Abel Ordiano is an international security and conflict resolution major with a minor in religious studies. He is studying fall semester at the University of Pecs in Hungary.


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