Erin Gallagher March 6, 2020

USA

Please, tell us about yourself. Where are you from, what is your major, and what do you study here? Anything, that you think could be important.
Hey y’all! I’m Erin Gallagher and I’m from North Carolina in the US. I am in my third year at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, studying Sociology and International Studies with a minor in Foreign Service. My International Studies major requires a study abroad semester so here at Pazmany, I am taking general Humanities courses.

Why did you choose to come to Budapest and Pázmány?
I wanted a different study abroad experience. Many of my friends studied abroad in Madrid at my home university’s second campus, but I wanted a challenge and a unique experience. As I am the only American here this semester, I have definitely received what I asked for.

How do you like Pázmány Péter Catholic University so far?
I really enjoy the friendliness of the faculty and students. I have yet to come across anyone who isn’t willing to help with directions or questions about material or even where to do my shopping.

Do you enjoy studying here? What is the best thing about PPCU?
Yes! I love my courses and they are unlike anything I could take anywhere else. My two favorite are ones centered around Hungarian literature and film and they provide such a unique insight into its culture.

What are the biggest differences you see between the university experience here and in your home country?
I would have to say that the set up of the classes is very different. The classes only being once a week and lack of detailed syllabi. It has definitely been an adjustment, but the classes are more laidback than those in the US which is a great relief!

Is this your first time in Budapest? Have you travelled a lot?
This is my first time in Budapest and my first time outside of the US as well as first solo trip. I have traveled a lot within the US with my family before this.

How much information did you have about Hungary before?
I knew very little to the point that my dad bought a quick guide book the day before I left, which I read on the flight over here. But I have learned so much more about Hungary’s history as it has been a focal point in my classes.

What were your first impressions here?
When I first arrived, it rained for 4 days straight and I was very concerned that Hungary was going to be dreary all the time. However, once the sun came out, it was so nice and beautiful (not warm though!), but it let me see the city in a fresher light and it’s absolutely gorgeous!

Have you tried any typical Hungarian dishes or drinks? How do you like them?
I’ve tried both goulash and chicken paprikash and they’re delicious. The chimney cakes are super sweet and a must-have. I did try palinka and personally not a fan, but it is definitely worth one try.

Do you miss anything from your hometown?
There is this pizza place right across from my old apartment that was the best late night snack and I have definitely craved it since arriving here.

Have you learned any Hungarian words yet?
I have only learned 2 so far, Szia and Kozonom, but I am working on it!

What is a goal of yours?
I really want to be open to embracing all that this opportunity has to offer. Studying abroad can bring a lot of new memories, but challenges as well and I think it is very important for me to learn from all experiences to grow into a better person to make a better impact on society.

What would be your message to students in your home country thinking about studying abroad?
Definitely do it! This trip, even though I’m only a month in, has been accompanied with so much self-growth and discovery that is totally worth it. The easy weekend trips are also a bonus!

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