Contemporary world issues are complex and ever-changing, and Hungary is at the forefront. This two-week program offers a blend of cultural immersion and impactful service learning. By living with a local host family, you’ll experience Hungary’s history, food, and culture firsthand. Furthermore, you’ll gain insight into Europe’s current events, geopolitical challenges, and sustainable development solutions. Through interactive workshops and hands-on community service projects, this program inspires and empowers participants to act as inclusive global citizens in the U.S. and abroad. Specifically, you’ll examine and join the work being done to integrate and support minority populations in Hungarian society, all while experiencing “The Pearl of the Danube” and Hungarian culture! You’ll even have a chance to explore Vienna, another breathtaking European capital.
Most Global Prep programs accept participants between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. However, 13 and 14 year old’s aren’t eligible to enroll for certain Global Prep destinations. If you wish to participate and will be 13 or 14 years old at the date of departure for the program, please contact AFS for more information about specific program eligibility. Please also keep in mind that due to regulations mandated by the airlines, 13 and 14 year old participants will be considered Unaccompanied Minors and additional charges will apply.
On this program you are likely to learn about these Sustainable Development Goals:
Sample Program Itinerary to Hungary
The below itinerary serves as an outline for the program, and each Global Prep experience will vary based on group size and opportunity.
I. Starting your Adventure
Your journey will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet the other members of your group. Then, you’ll travel together with your group leader to Budapest. When you arrive in Hungary, AFS staff or volunteers will welcome you at the airport and bring you to an arrival orientation. There, you’ll learn the basics of Hungarian culture and practice some key words in the country’s unique language, Magyar. You’ll quickly see why Budapest has been affectionately called “the Paris of the East.”
II. Gaining Background and Exploring Budapest
In Budapest, you’ll start by participating in team-building activities, learning about intercultural communication, and discussing current issues in Europe and Hungary. Immigration, inclusion, and equality are major concerns in Budapest and relevant worldwide. You’ll learn firsthand from NGOs and other organizations working on these initiatives, such as Zöld Pók Alapítvány, who amplify the voices of disadvantaged groups through powerful videos and media. You’ll also learn about the efforts undertaken by UCCU, an education foundation that promotes the acceptance of Roma populations in Europe. These contexts and lessons will inform your community service projects later in the program.
When you’re not learning about empowerment initiatives, you’ll be taking in the sites that make Budapest’s riverfront a UNESCO World Heritage site. Experience this city’s rich cultural history in areas like the Castle District, where you can see the Royal Palace and panoramic views of the Danube River. During your tour, be sure to try some Hungarian food like goulash, a traditional stew made with meat, potatoes, and paprika.
III. Living the Hungarian way
After almost a week in Budapest, you’ll get to spend a long weekend with your host family in the countryside. This is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Hungarian culture, share stories over the dinner table. This is the essence of intercultural exchange – simply living together, discussing differences and similarities, and trying new customs and ways of thinking. You can practice some of the Hungarian phrases you’ve learned, and learn what daily life is like in a Hungarian family.
While bustling Budapest is the artistic, scientific, academic, and political center of Hungary, the Old World charms of the rest of the country are not to be missed. Hungarians tend to honor traditions and take pride in their roots. Your homestay should deepen and expand your appreciation of Hungary, providing perspectives that you’ll reflect on for years to come.
IV. Taking Action in the Community
For your last week in Hungary, you and your friends will participate in a community service project organized by one of the NGO’s. You’ll put the ideas and workshops into practice and get to support important initiatives in Budapest. You’ll embrace a changemaker philosophy, learning essential skills, principles, and methods that you can apply to make an impact in your own community and throughout life.
Halfway through your project, you’ll take a quick break for a day trip to nearby Vienna, Austria, another unique, beautiful European capital you can explore. Before you head home, you and your group will have the chance to unwind and reflect on your community service project and intercultural experiences. You’ll have gained a deep understanding of the geopolitical and socioeconomic challenges facing Hungary and the region, and bring home a useful set of changemaking tools.
You and your group will spend most of your time in dorm style housing in a hotel. During one long weekend, you will have the opportunity for a homestay with a host family, typically located outside of Budapest. This unique blend offers the chance to connect with your group during the week while also seeing all sides of a truly unique country during the weekend.
What's included in your program fee?
- Round trip international airfare chaperoned by an American staff member
- Accommodations, meals, and transportation
- Secondary Health Coverage Plan
- Access to a 24/7 Emergency Duty Officer
- Visa Support
- Please review the Terms and Conditions for complete guidelines.
What’s not included in the Program Fee?
“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Hungary.
In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.