When Réka Futász was a student, she embarked on her own study abroad journey to Brisbane, Australia. Inspired by her trip, she is now a Resident Director with Academic Programs International (API) in Budapest, Hungary. Now, she gets to help other students love studying abroad as much as she did!
What brought you to be a Resident Director?
I studied abroad in Brisbane, Australia and enjoyed it a lot. As a Resident Director I can help students get the most of their study abroad experience and provide a safe environment for them to experience a kind of lifestyle that is very different from what they are used to at home.
What are some unique aspects of your city and country?
Budapest is a city of about 2 million people with a very lively cultural life, so there is always something new to see. We are also very close to many popular destinations in Europe that are easily accessible by train or low-cost airlines. Vienna is a 2.5-hour train ride away and you can get to Berlin, Paris or Rome in under 2 hours by plane.
What is one thing most of your students may not know about you?
I am a certified scuba driver and got my license on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
What are some of your favorite aspects of being a Resident Director?
I love seeing students become more and more independent as the semester progresses and seeing them discover new things about themselves. It’s rewarding to see when students’ friends and family come to visit them and they are proud to show off their new home and all the places they have discovered in Budapest.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
Many students travel all over Europe during the weekend, so sometimes it can be difficult to get them to stay in Budapest. We can show them cultural events/venues they would not necessarily go to on their own, like the flea market or the nearby Buda hills, where you can go on wonderful hikes.
What have you seen as the biggest challenge for incoming students?
The language barrier and getting used to the fact that they do not always understand what people are saying around them. Our students all take Hungarian at the university, so that helps a lot as the semester progresses. Also, the first few days of getting used to the public transportation system can be challenging for those who are not used to it back home, but once they get the hang of it, students love how they can get everywhere quickly using their unlimited public transportation passes. Also, our academic system is different from that in the United States: there is much more emphasis on independent study and fewer teacher-directed homework assignments, so that’s an adjustment for students.
What is your advice for students planning to attend your program, or to study abroad in your country?
Make sure you read up a little on European history and politics. Corvinus University has many international students from all over Europe, and politics in general is a common topic to talk about here, so it helps if you know some of the basics!
What is one thing you think students shouldn’t forget to pack for life in your country?
Waterproof and comfortable walking shoes – we walk everywhere and use public transportation. And warm clothing for the winter – it is cold November through February (we get snow most years), so a sweatshirt is not enough!
What do you think is the most important take-away for education abroad students?
Learning how to function as an independent adult, including being able to navigate foreign places confidently on their many trips around Europe, adjusting to living in a student apartment, being responsible for making/buying their own food and keeping the household together. Because Corvinus University has students from many nationalities, learning how to collaborate on group projects with students from various backgrounds can be challenging, but ultimately very rewarding.
To find out more about Réka’s program, check out this link!