Hungary is a proud country where Eastern Europe meets the West. Its stunning capital of Budapest, once known as the “Paris of the East,” the mighty Danube River and flat countryside with rolling hills in the distance paint a unique picture of this country’s beautiful landscape. Make sure you check out one of the traditional Hungarian festivals, which usually revolve around food.

Hungarian teenagers take their studies seriously and work hard for final exams, which are important for college admissions. In their spare time, they join school or community organized activities such as sports (soccer, basketball and volleyball are popular), drama, folk dance and music clubs. On weekends you’ll enjoy going to movies, parties or to someone’s house to have a chat.

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Host Family & Community

You will probably live in urban areas near Budapest or other large cities, however some host families live in the countryside. Hungarian families tend to be traditional, but everyone shares in the housework and spends time together on weekends. 

School

Most AFS students attend a public school called a gimnázium, but you could also be placed in a szakközépiskola (vocational) school. You’ll likely choose from a variety of classes, but Hungarian and foreign language courses are required. The school year runs from the beginning of September to early June and is divided into two semesters. Classes are held Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm.

Food

One of the most popular and well-known Hungarian dishes is goulash, a stew made with meat, potatoes, and paprika. Dishes are typically served with potatoes or noodles and there are lots of delicious breads and pastries to try! Typical Hungarian dishes tend to be hearty, but culinary habits are changing, so the food is lighter than in the past but without losing its great flavours. Paprika and other spices and sauces are used in many dishes.

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Language

Magyar, also known as Hungarian, is the official language of Hungary, and it’s related to Finnish and Estonian. English and German are widely spoken foreign languages, while there are several recognized minority languages in Hungary. Hungarian language lessons will be offered during the early months of your stay. You do not need to speak Hungarian to be accepted into the program, but you are encouraged to begin learning as much as you can before you arrive. 

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