In grade school, I remember the best parts of any school year were field trips, and even as an official legal adult, those are still the days I value the most in my school year. I guess there are just some things you can never change about a person! This past weekend, my program took a group trip to Lake Balaton. The goals of the trip were to 1) Continue to bond with our fellow AIT classmates and 2) See the countryside of Hungary and learn more about Hungarian culture. My goal now is to reflect on these goals:
1) If you recall some of my first blog posts, I noted that I first went to a two and half week language emersion program. About half of the AIT students participated in this program, while the other half waited to come three weeks later at the official start date of the program. This means half of the program got a jump start at forming new friendships and relationships. Ever since the others arrived, there has always be this divide between the language program students and the new students. For the first time though, I started to notice that the divide between these two groups was beginning to fade. No longer could I remember which people attended the language school or not. It was awesome to see more unity within my program!
2) I also learned that the countryside of Hungary is completely different than Budapest. In Budapest, I never really have trouble with my lack of mastery of Hungarian. However, in the countryside, no one really speaks English. Most people I spoke to use an “English-Hungarian hybrid language”, where they spoke in Hungarian with some key words in English. Not only do I see a contrast with the language, I also saw a contrast in lifestyle. In Budapest, it seems like people are always out and about, while in the countryside you see very few people roaming the streets. You do not see large supermarkets or stores, but rather small villages spread across a hilly terrain broken apart by large chunks of farms. While people in Budapest seem to be working in big corporate jobs, those in the countryside seem to be taking small local roles in their community.
For me, I found this countryside style of living to be very charming, and it reminds me that life is not always about the “hussle and bussle” but rather just enjoying the daily joys you receive in your life. It has been amazing to travel the world and experience all these new cultures, but at the end of the day what makes me happy are the basics of life such as having an amazing network of family and friends, being able to get weekly groceries, being able to workout and play frisbee, and so many more! I feel like many successful individuals, such as my fellow University of Richmond Spiders and myself, are always seeking for “more” whatever that “more” is for them (more money, more adventure, more friends, etc.). But this weekend trip, and this study abroad opportunity in general, makes me see that we don’t always need to seek for more, but rather enjoy what we have now.