by Akos Radvanyi
Hungary is a little, beautiful country, with a safe and friendly environment. Although it is not as well-known as other European countries in terms of international studies, in Hungary, you can study many top-quality Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees. Several universities from Hungary have been acknowledged for their good academics and they are always present in leading world university rankings.
In recent years, more and more students have decided to study abroad in Hungary and indulge themselves in a wonderful experience. So as a student in Hungary, you’ll probably want to know some of the most important practical aspects that will help you adjust easier to life in any Hungarian student city.
But before we get to that, here are some great universities where you can study in Hungary:
Next, here are the top 5 must-know facts about to survive your study experience in Hungary:
1. What's the currency in Hungary and how expensive are things?
Although Hungary is a member of the European Union, generally, you cannot use Euros: the official currency is called Forint (Ft). Although in some places, you can still pay with Euro, expect to receive forints back.
One Euro is worth about 300 Ft. There is a gap between the buying and selling prices of the currencies, and they can differ from seller to seller, so you should look around where you change your money.
If you come from a country West from Hungary, you will find everything to be much cheaper. Compared to other countries in Eastern Europe, the prizes in Hungary are quite similar.
2. Enjoy discounts with the student identity card
There are lots of discounts offered for students in Hungary, for example, on the public transport, at sports venues, or for cinema tickets – they will all cost almost the half of the original prize with the student card.
You can take a student identity card from your home university, or get an international one (called ISIC).
3. How to use public transport in Hungary?
In Hungary, students can get a discount up to 50% of the transport fees. To buy tickets for the student prize, you need to have a valid student card with you, otherwise, you can get fined. Sadly, there are restrictions for exchange students, and they differ from company to company.
Let’s check the most important companies, and how can you use the student discount.
Budapest Transport Limited (BKV)
Budapest, the capital city has a really good public transport, and even at night, you can reach any place. The metro lines, tram lines, suburban railways, buses, trolleys, night buses, etc. are all administrated by one company, so you only need one pass for any transportation means.
The actual prize of a Monthly Budapest pass for Students is 3900 Ft. There is a Quarterly pass for Students (valid for 100 days), it costs 11,500 Ft. If you would have visitors, who are not students, they can buy a 14-day pass for 6,500 Ft.
The Hungarian Railways (MÁV)
The Hungarian railways can be useful if you come to Hungary by train, or you plan a longer trip in the country. They offer student tickets as well, but they do not accept the international student identity card, only the one from your home universities (EEA or Switzerland). Sadly more lines tend to have longer delays.
This company deals with longer distance domestic bus traffic. They accept the student identity card of your home offer university (EEA or Switzerland), but only for tickets. You cannot buy monthly passes with it, and they neither accept ISIC. Some of the buses have free wireless internet access points, and they are much more reliable than the railways. The fees are based on the distance travelled.
4. Finding accommodation in Hungary
Accommodation is one of the most important things you need to plan when you go abroad. Depending on the university, you might get accommodation in dormitories or student residences, but if it is not the case, the university can help you find a place to rent.
If the university has an ESN (Erasmus Student Network) section, they can help you with accommodation as well as other issues you may have. You can check the list of the Hungarian sections at the official website of Erasmus Student Network.
In Szeged, there are no dormitory places available, but they have an office called „Foreign Students' Secretariat” who can help you, or you can contact the local ESN section as well for help. The monthly accommodation fees are in the range of 360-750 EUR.
You can check the list of the Hungarian sections at the official website of Erasmus Student Network.
In Debrecen, you might be able to get a dormitory place, for 150-200 EUR/month.
In Pécs, there are more dormitory places available for foreign students, for 100- 150 EUR/month.
In Budapest, you can hardly get dormitory places. You can check hostels, rent a flat alone or with more students together. The bigger universities have their own ESN sections, where 1-room flats charge rent from 320 EUR/month, or you can rent more flat rooms with other students for lower prizes (starting from 170 EUR).
5. Arranging your health insurance for Hungary
While you are abroad, you should know where you can turn if you would need medical help. As a citizen of the European Union, you can request an international social insurance card (EHIC). With this card you will receive treatment under the same conditions and at the same cost as people insured in this country. For more information, you should check the official website of the EHIC.
The universities have their own doctors. If you catch a cold or have similar issues, they are the easiest to contact. You should ask your university anyway for information, to know where you can go if needed.
Also, check these student experiences in Hungary: