Interview with an international intern at ELTE International Strategy Office

Interview with an international intern at ELTE International Strategy Office
Fatma Soylu, a student from Turkey, spent five months as an intern at the International Strategy Office of ELTE. She tells us about her experience in Hungary and working at ELTE.

Please tell us a few words about yourself, why you were looking for an internship and why you decided to intern abroad.

Szia! I am Fatma Soylu from İzmir city of Turkey. I'm in the second grade and I'm majoring in public administration and international relations. I believe that by going outside of our comfort zone and experiencing a different culture, we can develop new abilities and discover more about ourselves. That is why I decided to do an internship abroad.

Why did you choose Hungary and Budapest?

I wished to return to Budapest, where I went three years ago. Budapest has a vibrant cultural history. You get the feeling that you can always find a spot for your own way of living in the city. My favorite activity is walking across the bridges that cross the Danube. Every minute of the day offers a different view, which is why I adore the city's atmosphere. I had numerous reasons why I chose Budapest but these were the key reasons. I was eager to know every spot in Budapest.

What was it like living in Budapest?

Every day is a new experience in Budapest. The city is a popular destination for tourists. I enjoy making new friends in strange places, and the city gave me this opportunity. Moreover, you can pick a location for yourself in the city center away from the crowds and take a break.

What stood out the most to you in Hungary that is different from your home country, Turkey?

Budapest will always provide you with plenty of chances to make plans with friends. You can find English subtitles for various forms of entertainment for example theatre—although not always available, and not for all of them. It's not like this in my hometown, where locals prefer to participate in most events. Budapest receives more foreign visitors than my hometown and because of that I have more options as a foreigner in Budapest.

What did you do as an intern? What was your favorite task? Tell us a bit about your experience here.

I was involved with several tasks throughout my internship and learned how to use computer tools. Now I feel more comfortable with my abilities and I am more aware of my professional career desires and ambitions. My favorite tasks were the student ambassador interviews and events. Regarding other tasks, I always had a space, which gave me an opportunity for creativity. Preparing interview questions for prospective student ambassadors was one of my first tasks, and also it was my favorite. Finding a location on Margaret Island for a summer university game was my second favorite task. Because each one of my responsibilities was different and unique, I was able to gain knowledge from my colleagues from many different perspectives.

What is your favorite spot in Budapest and why?

Margaret Island was without a doubt my favorite location. If it was sunny, I rented a bike to get somewhere with peaceful atmosphere. In my opinion the fact that with just one tram you can get away from the busy city is a perfect opportunity. To be completely honest, when I initially saw the Musical Fountain, I didn't understand why everyone was gathered there watching a single fountain. But, after joining the crowd, I ended up sitting there for an hour without realizing it.

What tips would you give to future international students and interns?

It depends on what you expect from the city, but for me, I want to discover more about myself and participate in events connected to the local culture. Everyone I've met has been so welcoming, open-minded and the city has a vibrant spirit, the past five months have made me feel at home. If you are hesitant about the city, I say just go for it—you won't regret it.

What’s the interesting facts about Budapest?

Most of the station names were hard to pronounce for me. One day when I was in bookstore I realized that station names belong to Magyar authors and I found that really impressive. Also ruin bar concepts belong to Budapest and they provided unique, alternative places for visitors. Young people in Budapest took the step to renovate abandoned properties and reconstructed them into ruin pubs. It's a wonderful experience for me.