I have finally made my study abroad decision! I’m going to be spending the Fall 2014 semester in Budapest, Hungary, studying math with the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program.
Some of the reasons I chose BSM:
- My college’s math department really encourages it. I found out about BSM during my first year of college from my Calc II professor. He started class one day telling us how awesome studying math in Hungary is. I thought it sounded pretty cool.
- BSM is a well-known program. It’s academically rigorous, and a great learning experience to have as an undergraduate if you want to continue to study high-level math. Our department is happy to approve credit transfers from the program.
- I really want to study away/live in a non-English speaking place! I am super excited that I can study in English with other North American students, but in a location where I am surrounded by another language. I love languages, learning languages, listening to languages– in high school my favorite courses were math and French– and want to be surrounded by a new environment.
- I also really want to study away/live in a city! Between the constraints of my math major + the list of approved study abroad options for my college + the need to study in English led me to mostly non-urban study options. BSM was the only location I ended up seriously considering that was in a major city.
- So far, it seems like St. Olaf (the college the program runs through in the U.S.) and the program are relatively organized. I have emailed the heads of the program with some specific questions/concerns, and have heard back with a thorough reply very quickly. I feel that since BSM is a program exclusively for study abroad students (where all students come for a semester, then leave, as opposed to the programs in England where I would be joining a 3 or 4-year University for just one semester), they know how to and want to help us make the most of our semester abroad. The program will find me housing, and pick me up from the airport when I arrive. I have also received a pretty extensive info packet with information regarding student visas, housing, etc.– I feel comfortable that I won’t be left to fend for myself as much as my sister was during her study abroad at a university in the UK.
Also, I really appreciate the mathematical/logical/step-by-step way the information is written. My favorite are the instructions on what to do if something goes wrong during your arrival:
“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, don’t 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…”
Step 1: Eat. Step 2: Relax. Step 3: Sleep. :)
- I have a friend in Budapest right now! She is studying with BSM, and she is enjoying it. She says the coursework is very challenging, but that she is learning a lot and having an amazing experience.
I am very very excited, and now that I have officially accepted the BSM program, I can actually begin to think about and plan my semester!