Editor's Note: Jiin Jeong '21, a computer science major, is spending the spring semester in Budapest, Hungary, and is reporting on her experience in the AIT program.
Living in Budapest, a vibrant city rich in history, I feel as if I am walking around in an art museum all day. I live in the heart of the city on the Pest side, in the seventh district, also known as the Jewish District or the Party District. As its name suggests, it is famous for its synagogues, street art, quirky ruin pubs, and nightlife.
I attend AIT-Budapest (Aquincum Institute of Technology), a specialized study abroad for computer science students. We began with a three-week language-intensive course and have just started the official semester.
Learning Hungarian at Babilon Language School with other AIT and BSM (Budapest Semesters in Mathematics) students was a fun language-learning experience, as we combined classroom learning with real-life training and cultural field trips. We learned about Hungary’s geography and climate at Szemlo-Hegyi Barlang, one of the “popcorn” caves on Buda Hills, tried the paprika meat stew gulyás (goulash), and visited the Buda Castle. One of my favorite activities was going to a local market hall to buy sandwich ingredients in Hungarian. My group made a sandwich which we named “felhokarcoló,” or “skyscraper.” Hungarian is a fascinating and beautiful language to learn, although it is difficult!
Our official AIT orientation took place from February 8 to 10. We listened to a lecture on culture shock and heard course introductions presented by the professors. Gábor Bojár, founder of AIT and Graphisoft, came and spoke about his reason behind founding AIT. “I intended for it to resolve the chasm between academia and business,” he said and added that Hungary was a remarkable place to experience cultural diversity and what it means to design products for the global market. He encouraged students to “be very demanding” throughout their time here.
Another notable speaker was Erno Rubik, the inventor of Rubik’s Cube. He created one of the courses– “Design Workshop” – because he believed it was important to teach “emotional content to people who will work in IT” and wanted young people to learn to express themselves by exploring their surrounding world and materials.
The orientation had fun cultural aspects to it as well, as we tried Hungarian folk dancing and singing, visited the Gellert Hill and Citadel, and enjoyed a boat tour along the Danube River. I am very excited for my first week of classes to start!