With the weather getting warmer, you should think about taking a short vacation to Lake Balaton if you have never been. My studies at CEU started out with a very memorable trip to the lake. Before the beginning of classes in September, students from the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy were invited to join a three-day retreat on Lake Balaton—the largest lake in Central Europe, which is also known as the Hungarian Sea. It is not only a popular resort destination in Hungary, for me it was the perfect place to begin my adventure in this beautiful country.
Although three days is too short to explore the whole beauty of the area, it was enough for me to have a lot of fun. Meaningful conversations and friendships began to take place on the very first day. How? Swimming in the turquoise sea of Hungary, playing volleyball on the beach, and enjoying an evening out with professors, staff, and my new classmates, who come from different countries all over the world. In the next two days, we visited Badacsony, which is a famous extinct, casket-shaped volcano, and Balaton Uplands National Park. There we saw different types of bison and learned about biodiversity and conservation in the Balaton area.
We also went hiking in the forests near Lake Balaton. The humid air didn't stop us from appreciating the beauty of nature. From the tour guide, we learned about the local flora and fauna as well as the rocks and soil, which contribute to the special landscape of the area. Hiking to the top the hills, the adorable scenery of Hungarian countryside was in front of us; we had a breathtaking view of the lake as well as the nearby church and town.
This trip was really meaningful for me as it encouraged me to have more new experience outside Budapest and, more importantly, I got to know so many awesome people who later became such an essential part of my studies and life in Hungary.