Please carry your BSM letters and Student Handbook with you in your carry-on luggage which includes the telephone numbers of the program.
Address / Phone
Budapest Office hours: 8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
address: Bethlen Gábor tér 2, Budapest, 1071-Hungary. College International (proprietor of BSM headquarters) is located near Keleti Train Station and close to the red metro line (subway).
BSM 24/7 emergency cell phone # (within Hungary): 06-36-20- 628-5562. The same cell phone # from the states: 011-36-20- 628-5562
Please note that the above number is for emergencies only. For regular office business call the cell number given below or write an email at one of the addresses given above. (Emails are answered promptly and may be the best way of communication in non-emergency situations.)
BSM regular office cell phone (within Hungary), 8am to 3pm Central European time: 00-36-30-474-3924
The same cell phone # from the states: 011 -36-30-474-3924
BSM Fax number (from the states): 011-36- 1-413- 3030
011=overseas access (from U.S.) 36=country code (Hungary) 1=city code (Budapest)
U.S. Embassy in Budapest: http://hungary.usembassy.gov/service.html
We suggest U.S. citizens enroll in the “Smart Traveler” program at http://hungary.usembassy.gov/acs_security.html
To call a telephone number in Budapest from the United States, you prefix the number with 011-36-1. Dialing 011 summons the international switchboard, 36 is the country code for Hungary, and 1 is the city code for Budapest. Calling cards or Hungarian cell phones to the U.S. are cheapest.
Note the difference in time zones. When it is noon in New York and 9 a.m. in San Francisco, it is 6 p.m. in Hungary. At 6 p.m. in New York, it is midnight in Budapest.
Arriving in Budapest by Air:
It is essential that you fill out the travel plans form on-line as soon as you make your travel arrangements. A copy is automatically sent to the BSM Office in North America and Budapest. It will include the following information:
- Departure City before Budapest (such as Amsterdam, London, etc.)
- Departure Date (from Amsterdam, London, etc.)
- Airline carrier and Flight Number to Budapest
- Arrival time in Budapest
With direct flights or flights into Budapest from a European city, this information is easily known from your travel agent or on your ticket (barring flight delays or cancellations, of course).
In case of a flight delay, call one of the telephone numbers listed above and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The Hungarian cell phone number is recommended. If you have internet access remember that Budapest is 7 hours ahead of Minnesota. You may also leave a message for the Budapest office in the states 1-507-786-3114 but it is essential to contact Budapest and apprise them of the situation. If calling Budapest from Europe, you will need to find out the access code and then call one of the numbers above. You may also fax or e-mail Budapest if this is more convenient. If delayed, please remember to contact your parents and keep them posted on your current situation.
Someone from our program should meet you at the airport. After clearing customs, you will eventually enter a roped off area. Look for someone holding up a sign saying, “Budapest Semesters”. If they miss you at the airport there is a minivan which says (in English), “Airport Minibus”. If arriving during office hours, this van will take you and your luggage to College International (Bethlen Gabor ter 2) for about $20.00. The trip takes about 45 minutes.
If you arrive after office hours, or on the weekend unannounced, take the mini van to a youth hostel, motel, or hotel for the night. Contact the Budapest office when the next regular office day begins.
Arriving in Budapest by Train:
If you are arriving by train, please follow a few logical plans:
- If you know the exact train time, date, and number, please give this information to the North American Office as soon as you know. [There are 4 separate train stations in Budapest.] Someone will meet your train and take you to your lodgings.
- Go to the engine of the train and look for a person holding a sign with “Budapest Semesters” written on it. If you are a woman traveling alone, it is best to arrive in Budapest in the morning or early afternoon.
- If you will not know your exact train information until after you arrive in Europe, and would like someone from the program to meet your train, please contact the Budapest Semesters Office in Budapest at least 2 days BEFORE your arrival. (Sooner, if possible.) See the contact numbers above.
Keep in mind that not all persons who will be assigned to pick you up will have telephones. It may be necessary for someone from the Budapest Office to personally go to that person’s home to contact them. Thus, changes or unannounced arrivals are not as easily accommodated in Hungary as they are in North America.
If you arrive unannounced at Keleti train station in Budapest during office hours, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. (8:30–17:00), (and you don’t have too much luggage), it is an easy 3–4 block walk to the school.
If you prefer not to walk, it may be best to hail a cab and show the driver the Budapest Semester’s address. The offices are located on the 3rd floor.
Bethlen Gabor ter 2 VII
If you arrive after the office is closed for the day:
If you have not informed anyone in the Budapest office of your arrival plans, have a change in plans, or are delayed, and/or no one meets you at the train, plan to walk, or take a taxi to a hotel, motel, or youth hostel and spend the night (at your own expense).
Please remember to contact your parents and keep them posted on your current situation.
Both the airport and train station have a counter set up to help people find accommodations. Once you arrive at your lodging, there is usually someone at the front desk who speaks English.
If it is necessary to spend your first night in a hotel, motel, or hostel in Budapest before meeting people from the program, or if you are unable to make contact with someone from the program, dont panic. Eat a good meal, relax by reading a good book (maybe math), or soaking in a hot tub, and get a refreshing nights sleep. The next morning after breakfast, call the BSM office and apprise them of your situation, and make plans to have someone pick you up at the motel or wind your own way to the office.
Where You Stay: Read the Student Handbook for further details
Whether you arrive via air or train, there is one more piece to your arrival:
Everyone is required to fill out the “room match” form on-line in your application. This form is used to assign your apartment and roommate by the Budapest BSM Staff. On the form, you have the opportunity to indicate any special needs or wants. A copy of this form is sent to both the North American Office and to the Budapest Office. The BSM Office in Budapest coordinates housing accordingly.
The BSM staff person who meets your plane or train from the Budapest office will accompany you to your housing and go over the lease with you.
They should also give you a mini orientation of your “environment” including your new neighborhood and how it works, i.e., where to catch the public transportation and how to use it; where the food stores in your area are located; and to mark a route on your map of how to get from your location to both the Babilon Language School (if you are taking the optional language course) and College International on Bethlen Gabor ter. If they do not, please ask them (or the landlord or host family) to do so.
Rents are payable in Budapest usually on a monthly basis. Please be aware that Hungarian customs and laws governing rental properties varies from apartment to apartment and vary greatly from laws in North America. Do not sign any lease agreements until you fully understand and are comfortable with the terms. The landlord should be willing to give you a few days grace period in which to do so. Do not pay [any rent] until a contract is signed, but sign a contract as soon as you feel reasonably comfortable you understand the terms you are agreeing to. The on-site BSM office will assist you, if necessary.
The U.S. BSM Office and the Hungarian BSM Office have discussed and agreed that if situations pertaining to your apartment or roommate arise, they can be handled as follows: During the first week of a student’s arrival, he/she is free to change apartments within the apartments offered via the BSM pool, paying for only a portion of the first month’s rent (plus paying the used utility fees along with any other applicable fees). Summer Semester: No changes. In cases where several students occupy the apartment, everyone who exchanges their present apartment for a different one, will forfeit a portion of their rent [usually paying for the portion of days you occupied the apartment]. Please ask the Hungarian BSM Office for help on this process.
The best way to get cash for the monthly rent is to use ATM machines. They are widely available throughout Budapest and disperse funds in Hungarian forints (HUF).
Be prepared to feel pretty tired and disoriented upon arrival, but things usually get progressively better the more you get acclimated to your new environment and get to know your classmates.
Here is what one participant wrote about her arrival:
“The hardest thing about the arrival process is that you are so tired after traveling all the way to Budapest from the US. I had no idea how hard the trip would be…especially when you’ve got all your luggage, etc.
Another thing that makes the arrival difficult is the extreme culture shock of arriving in a new country. Obviously, there is really no way around this, but I think we should communicate to participants as much as possible to be prepared to feel tired, unhappy/uncomfortable, nervous and scared upon their arrival and for the first day or so. Other than that, however, I think that my arrival went pretty well.
It probably would have been better for me if I had attempted to sleep on the plane on the way over…another suggestion might be to advise students to sleep on the way over, because they will not be able to sleep when they arrive, because there will be several hours of things to do immediately after they arrive. I had to go to the bank to exchange money to pay rent to my landlord, discuss all of the necessary things regarding rent, utilities, etc., with him, buy a transportation pass, etc. (note: if you arrive very late, many tasks will be taken care of the following morning).” Dana Paquin, Davidson College