‘My name is Andrew; I’m currently starting my third year at Debrecen University thanks to the help I received from Sandor. He has been superb, helping me with my initial application, finding accommodation and helping me settle in through the first few months. It was a great comfort to know that he was only a phone call away and always willing to help; especially with the initial daunting thought of a foreign country, foreign language and new city to explore.
The University has surpassed my initial expectations, especially its medical campus (I confess I haven’t yet had a chance to explore any of the other campuses). It combines both the breathtaking beauty of the main building “Kossuth” and the stunning architecture of the more modern buildings, with their glass-fronted spacious designs. The campus life here has really surprised me; I expected it to be a fairly unfamiliar atmosphere with thousands of busy bustling students going about their daily lives; however I couldn’t have been more wrong, I’ve found it to be incredibly familiar and friendly place, filled with sociable people from across the world.
Just as my preconceptions of the University have been proved wrong, so have my preconceptions of the city. I had expected it to be very old-fashioned with few avenues of entertainment for the modern day student. However there have been more than enough things to do in-between a hectic study schedule, from shopping in one of two newly built shopping centres to swimming in the pool that hosted last year’s European swimming championships! There is pretty much anything a student could wish to do in and around the city, certainly everything I could think of doing in England, and even more with the winter outdoor ice skating. There are plenty of places to eat and drink both near campus and downtown, with many different cuisines on offer, from, of course, traditional Hungarian fare, right through to Japanese, Italian, Indian and many more, though, to my disappointment, I’ve yet to find a classic English ‘chippy’! Looking a little further afield from Debrecen Its self, there are many huge cites and tourist destinations for the long weekends on national holidays, Budapest seems to be a favourite amongst students to visit for a weekend as it’s around a two-and-a-half hour train ride. It has some stunning buildings and great shopping as well as a great night life as with any capital city. It also plays host to some big live performances from artists like Nickelback, Beyoncé, Lady GaGa and many more. Just over the border about four-and- a- half hours away is Venice, another capital city well worth a visit for a long weekend.
The University also runs a well-established Erasmus program for 4th and 5th year students and whilst I have not yet benefited from it I am looking forward to it immensely. It offers you the opportunity to do a whole semester abroad at any university participating in the Erasmus program, of which there are many. The university obviously receives many Erasmus students, which provides a fantastic opportunity to make friends and further connections across the world. Also in the 6th year – the final qualifying year- there is a mandatory twelve-week practise in Debrecen, after which the rest of the year can be completed abroad giving more great opportunities to see the world during your studies.
So far this has been a fantastic adventure and challenge which I have thoroughly enjoyed. It’s led me to meet some amazing people from all over the world and come into contact with many different cultures of which I was previously ignorant. When I first came to Debrecen I was very apprehensive and worried about whether things would work out for me over here, both with the work and being so far from home, but having thrown myself into the challenge I have never looked back.’