COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Maddie Tota and I am a senior at UNH this year and majoring in Mathematics Education. I studied abroad in the spring of 2017 during my junior year in Budapest, Hungry.
COLA: Why did you choose Budapest? Why a UNH managed program specifically?
I choose a UNH managed program because it made me feel a little more comfortable to travel abroad with a group of students from UNH. I chose Budapest because of its central location which allowed me to travel a lot around Europe and because it is a relatively less expensive city to live in.
COLA: Have you been out of the country before? If so, where? Did this influence your decision to study abroad in Budapest?
Before studying abroad I have been to Peru with the Spanish Language Program in my high school. This experience taught me that I love traveling and helped me decide that I defiantly wanted to travel abroad while in college.
COLA: What were your expectations of Budapest before arriving?
I really did not know what to expect before arriving because I didn’t really know anything about Hungary. I had seen pictures from friends who had visited Budapest while they were abroad, but I did not know anyone who had specifically studied abroad in Budapest. The whole semester felt like completely new experiences.
COLA: What is the most valuable lesson you learned from studying abroad?
Study abroad taught me to be a little bit more open-minded. It is easy to get caught up in your own world, but after spending a semester in a completely new place I learned that things that may seem huge to me are tiny compared to issues all over the world. I also learned that one of the best things is taking a break to take in the world around you.
COLA: What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?
My experience taught me how big the world is and how small we are. The world is HUGE and there are so many places that are completely different from each other. We can learn so much about human nature and society by taking the time to experience new cultures and learn about different ways of life. I learned that I love helping others and traveling to new places, so I am hoping to teach abroad after college!
COLA: Did you travel outside your host city? If so were was the favorite place you went and why?
Yes! It is hard to pick a favorite place, but I really loved Barcelona, Spain. I loved the lively vibe of the city, the beautiful architecture, the food, the accessibility of beaches and mountains, and I’ve always loved the Spanish language. The Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia was also the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.
COLA: Tell us about the classes you took abroad. Did you have any memorable moments in any of these classes?
I took a Hungarian History class, a European Film class, an archaeology culture class, and a field experiences class that took us on field trips around Budapest once a week. Two of the classes were taught by a UNH professor that accompanied us while abroad and I also had two Hungarian professors that taught the other two classes. For our field experiences class we took a trip to Eger, Hungary and Péces, Hungary and it was really cool to see smaller cities and the countryside of Hungary.
COLA: Why do you recommend Budapest? What are some of the benefits from studying abroad there?
I absolutely loved Budapest. The city has so much rich history and it is absolutely beautiful, especially at night when the bridges and big builds along the Danube Tier light up. The culture is also so cool and there is so much to do. The music scene is big and there are ruin pubs, thermal bath spas, and amazing coffee shops and restaurants. I learned so much history that I never knew before which made me feel more connected to the city.
COLA: What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study abroad in Budapest?
Don’t be afraid to explore alone! One of my favorite things was walking around and stumbling upon new places. With that being said, it is really okay to get a little lost, you;; see amazing things on the way! Also, don’t get too caught up with what is going on at home; you are going to be having the experience of a lifetime.
Studying abroad was the best thing I could have done. If I could, I would do it all over again!