Global Prep — 2018
Application deadline: February 1, 2018
Contemporary world issues are complex and ever-changing, and Hungary is at the forefront. With this Global Prep program, you’ll not only explore Budapest’s history, food, and culture through a homestay with a local host family, but also gain insight into Europe’s current refugee situation. You and your group will visit refugee camps and get to know the people who live and work there. Then you’ll take part in your own volunteer project by helping refugee children tell their stories through art and creative writing.
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 known as Magyar. You’ll get to soak in Hungary’s old world charms and find out why Budapest has been affectionately called “the Paris of the East.”
In Budapest, you’ll start by discussing current issues related to refugees in Europe. After learning a little about what refugees experience on the long journey to Hungary, you’ll visit the Fot Children’s Village camp. There you’ll have the chance to meet with refugees and take part in workshops with representatives from prominent NGOs like the Hungarian Association for Migrants, the Hungarian Red Cross, and the UN Refugee Agency for Central Europe (UNHCR).
Once you’ve engaged with some of Hungary’s current relief efforts, you and your group will begin your own volunteer project: a creative writing workshop for children called Kids Tales. This non-profit was developed by AFS Vision in Action Award-winner, Katie Eder, and will be used as the basis for your volunteer program at the camp. As you help refugee children express themselves through art and creative writing, you’re bound to see evidence of the profound impact you and your friends are making in the world.
To find out what it's like to volunteer in Hungary, check out this blog post by a Study Abroad Specialist who went on last summer's program.
After giving back to the community at nearby refugee camps, you’ll get to spend a long weekend with your host family in the countryside. This is a great time to immerse yourself in the culture as you share stories over the dinner table. Maybe you’ll practice some of the Hungarian you’ve learned and discuss your experiences at the refugee camps. Or your host family might give you a tour of local sites so you can gain insight into everyday life in Hungary.
As you near the end of your time in Hungary, you and your friends will go sight-seeing in Budapest. You’ll get to experience the city’s cultural history in areas like the Castle District, where you can see the Royal Palace and take in a panoramic view 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. Before you head home, you and your group will have the chance to reflect on your intercultural experiences and take pride in all you’ve accomplished.
"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 feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.