Two students working on their laptops

University Groningen, the Netherlands

Blog entry 1 - It will start soon!

August 30th, 2021. Emotional chaos.

I am on the train to Budapest where I will spend the next two semesters. I am excited and happy, but at the same time very stressed and troubled by insecurities. I will have a lot of time to think on this nine-hour journey and pass the past weeks and months in review…

… last December I made the decision on where to spend a semester abroad. At that moment, the decision worried me a lot. Germany as well as half of the world were in lock-down and no one knew what would happen next. It has always been a dream of mine to spend a semester abroad “farther away”, in Asia for example, but I have to admit that this was too insecure for me.

That is why I opted for a European destination. In the end I chose Budapest, in Hungary. For me, Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the chance of earning a double degree convinced me. The months after making the decision passed by very quickly. At the same time, it was a nail-biting time for everyone involved. Nobody knew whether semesters abroad could take place or not. One thing after the other got cancelled. It was a nightmare. I was lucky.

Hungary scored with high vaccination rates and it got more obvious that Covid “did not exist anymore” in Hungary. There were no restrictions anymore in Hungary this summer. Not even the duty to wear a mask. Crazy. On the one hand, that is super cool, on the other hand a bit mad. I am curious how fast one can adapt to this “regained normality”.

In the beginning of August, I slowly started looking for a flat. For me it was clear from the beginning that I wanted to move into a flatshare with my friend and classmate Marie. She will also spend two semesters in Budapest. The housing market in Budapest is terrific, there are nearly exclusively flats in old buildings with herringbone flooring and swing doors at affordable prices. It is a dream! Trying to find a flat online quickly proved to be a difficult endeavour though. After a couple of weeks we actually found a flat. We were really excited and booked a train right away … but then came disillusion. The rental contract was a disaster, they tried to bamboozle us. Thus, we did not sign the contract and were without a flat five days before leaving. Our nerves were on edge. Pure desperation. We decided to look for a flat once we get there and leave everything to chance.

But fate meant well with us and two days before leaving we found the flat of our dreams. Fingers crossed it will be as amazing in reality as it was in the pictures. Now, nothing was in the way of us leaving anymore …

… so far about the past weeks and months.

I am optimistic that everything will work out. I am excited for new experiences, meeting new people, different cultures. I am convinced that I will have a great time in Budapest.

Still, I have some concerns with the situation. I should not forget that we live in a worldwide pandemic. As we learned in the past years, nothing is for sure and everything can change within a day. It remains exciting!

Talk soon!

Yours, Svenja


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