One thing that does not come to mind immediately when thinking about the Erasmus program is travelling. Of course, when commencing a semester in a different country than where one is studying you need to travel there but I did not think too much about what happens then. What to do during the Easter holiday when your family does not visit you or what to do over a long weekend?
However, I discovered that one of the Erasmus students´ greatest hobbies once at their destination is travelling somewhere else. There are numerous reasons to do so, amongst them are: holidays, a new environment with a lot of relaxed “Erasmus people” who are in for almost anything and this feeling of freedom which can only be experienced once tried; what we call home for almost half a year is a place which is unusual due to the fact that we do not live with our family and friends, do not have to work or have to go to weekly training of any kind. Therefore, we have a four-day college week, less exams and assignments (at least that is the case for most people I have met), thus lots of free time at our hands. This special and relaxed state of mind combined with the very central location and cheap connection to lots of destinations results in Erasmus students in Budapest travelling a lot.
The most prominent examples for Erasmus travels here are Bratislava and Vienna which both are less than 240 kilometers from Budapest and worth a visit in the weekend. A lot of people go there only for one or two days in the weekend and sleep in a hostel, make use of couch-surfing or visit people who do Erasmus there or study medicine in Austria. Also, very popular among students is going to countries in former Yugoslavia such as Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro or Croatia (probably where most students go to) because it has a very long cost line, is an EU member state and borders Hungary. Those countries also can easily be visited over a long weekend by car or by one of the numerous cheap bus alternatives which are out there such as Eurolines, Student Agency among others.
Proximity to the heart
Another common destination for students is their own home. Lots of students have a boy or girlfriend waiting for them at home, a family they just miss too much or a dog waiting for them. During Easter holiday hardly anybody of my Erasmus crew was left in Budapest which is why I went to Balaton (post number 5). Logically, home can be anywhere the students come from but this is not of further relevance here as this would be too many destinations to describe here.
However, some students also take the chance to discover areas they havenot even dreamed of before. One such destination is Istanbul, still in Europe and cheaply to reach from Hungary. Flights go there frequently and are way more affordable than from Germany, Spain or other European countries more in the West of the continent. Although, I have been there myself already twice in previous years I am even considering to go there again just because it is so great and one can never see everything in that city.
Finally, I have heard people talking about cheap connections going to Tel Aviv (around 150€ return), and indeed two of my three flat mates will fly to Israel (apart from each other) at the end of the semester to round off their Erasmus experience.
With all the travelling I just hope that students also discover their host country as it holds so much beauty as well with 1000m high mountain ranges, the biggest lake in central Europe, the Great Plains and much more.