Katja Scholl

Katja Scholl

Country: Germany

University of Hamburg


Period of studies at ELTE: 2016.09.01 - 2017.05.31

“… Away from home – fun – international friends – beautiful Budapest – curiousity – self-confidence – pálinka – (frozen) Balaton – ESN ELTE Welcome Weekend – fröccs – lángos – travel in & around Hungary – kürtőskalács – kitchy Christmastime…”


During my school time in 2013, I have already been to Budapest for ten days and got to love the city and Hungary in general. Before my exchange I didn’t know more about Hungary than Balaton, Puszta and that they speak an incomprehensible language there. But my first stay here completely surprised me and changed everything. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality and kindness of the people, the plenty of sights in Budapest full of history and the leisure-time opportunities and easy-going attitude. Since the school was situated close to the buildings of the Faculty of Humanities, I already put a glimpse into the main building and crossed the University Garden.

To cut it short, my school-exchange to Budapest and further stays with my new-found Hungarian friends and families had a huge impact on my study-choice: Finno-Ugric Studies specialised on Hungarian Language and Culture. When I finally enrolled for my studies in Hamburg, I was pretty sure from the beginning that I want to spend a semester in Budapest at ELTE and not being a guest but an inhabitant in beautiful Budapest. Firstly, because I knew that ELTE has a really good reputation and variety in language studies and secondly, because many of my Hungarian friends also attend this university. So studying at ELTE would be both: new scientific impact with the chance to meet old and make new friends.   

What did you like most about being a student at ELTE?

Being a student at ELTE offers you a lot of chances: sports at BEAC, ESN-activities in order to get to know other international students and their cultures, living in a university-owned dormitory ELTE KCSSK, and last but not least, a large list of courses from all faculties in several languages. Of course having so many opportunities at the same time makes you spoilt for choice. However, I really enjoy the variety and balance of scientific and leisure-time offers.

What I like most about being an ELTE student is the liberty to enhance one’s horizon by also taking courses from other fields of knowledge. Being a student at the rather small and familiar Department of Finno-Ugric Studies made me feel like a family member and my efforts in the Hungarian Language were highly appreciated. I enjoyed the possibility of attending courses in Hungarian among Hungarian students, as well as English courses with international students. Moreover, living in the ELTE KCSSK dormitory was the best decision I could make, as I’m always surrounded by other students, parties and cooking events along with gym and library facilities.

What where the challenges in your study program?

Definitely the administrative issues to register at the university, such as finding out where to find suitable courses with the credits needed for the home schedule and again the art of decision-making. Another challenge in the beginning was to figure out the level of my Hungarian and to just convince myself to try and see – luckily a good strategy. 

How do you think your degree will help you in your life and career?

My study-stay in Budapest made me  more open-minded and curious towards people from various cultural backgrounds and also more flexible, since living in another country for nearly a year means adapting to the existing lifestyle and conditions to some extent. Studying in Budapest also enabled me to allow myself a break, thus to escape from former daily-routines and getting more relaxed towards life and my future.

Unquestionably, I believe more in myself right now and nobody can ever take this experience, if useful or not, away from me. Though, I think that the intercultural experiences and what I learnt about myself can be useful for my goal of working in tourism or at other international occasions and institutions.

Do you have any advice for future students at ELTE?

Take part in the Orientation Days and ESN events so that you become sociable and familiar with the university and Budapest! However, don’t always stay in your international circle but go to meet Hungarian students as well! Be open-minded, curious, travel in and around Hungary and just enjoy!