The fifth month of the academic year is passing by. The holidays were over quickly, and we are already busy with new readings, while discussing new concepts and theories. Before the period of mid-term exams and papers sets in, I decided to ask my fellow students to share their impressions of the fall term at CEU.
Jibek Turgunbekova, MA student in the Department of Economics and Business, says her first semester at CEU was incredible. Her life has done a 180-degree turn now that she is living in a new country, studying at a new university in a diverse environment.
"So far, studying at CEU and the amount of workload have been just right. Moreover, my longtime dream came true: I signed up for free Turkish language classes at CEU. In my MA program there are 20 students from 12 countries, wow! In September and half of October I was exploring the surroundings of Budapest and the Buda hills with the CEU Hiking club, but I realized I'd forgotten to explore Budapest itself.
During the semester, when I was busy studying and didn't have a chance to go for a walk in the city center for several days, I started missing Budapest and its beauty. After five days of not seeing the beauty of Budapest, I could finally go to my favorite place – to the bank of the Danube near the Statue of Andrássy at Kossuth Lajos tér by the Hungarian Parliament. When I got there and could see the incredible riverbanks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I said to myself "I missed you, Budapest."
According to Lisa Kirchner, an exchange student in the Department of Gender Studies at CEU, the fall term was anything but a 'normal' Erasmus term in Budapest.
"It has been an incredibly tense time, both in academic and political terms. It was not just the everyday stress of the 'normal' university routine, but also the political situation in Hungary that put a lot of pressure on all of us, I think. Before, I have never studied in a land where the subject I'm studying is not welcome, where the university I study at is not welcome, where I am not welcome. But now, at the end, I can say that it was a valuable experience. I learned a lot, and I am thankful that I had the chance to study at CEU while it is still in Budapest. The wonderful people I met at CEU really made the difference. The best part of my Erasmus term were the friends I made. They come from all over the world and their critical minds, unique characters and beautiful souls astonished me. I'm going to miss them, but I'm sure that I will see most of them again in the future."
For Promise Frank Ejiofor, MA student in the Department of Political Science, CEU is undoubtedly a wellspring of knowledge in its multifarious dimensions.
"Reflecting on my experiences so far, CEU reminds me of the ancient Greek ideal of paideia—the sort of education whose aim is the well-rounded refinement of the individual in the stanch pursuit of arête(excellence). At CEU there is almost invariably something novel to learn each day—intellectually, morally, socially, culturally, spiritually, religiously, and what have you—by simply being part of the CEU community. The expertise of the faculty who are passionate about their fields; the ineffable responsiveness of the staff to students' myriad concerns; the multicultural atmosphere that provides room for the augmentation of one's knowledge of peoples as well as the quelling of atavistic stereotypes; the plethora of social activities; the space for critical deliberation within and beyond the confines of the classroom; the library crammed with thought-provoking books, articles, and pieces; and, of course, the attributes of my department— the Department of Political Science—where I am invariably nourished: these are all rare critical junctures for personal refinement made available by CEU, for which I am utterly grateful.
As I look back to the past and forward into the future, all I envision with my present experiences in CEU is a preparation for life with the various networks of points of affinity that have been afforded me. The ultimate end of the paideiatypology of education which CEU has offered me is the opportunity—the agency and capacity—for excellence, one that will prospectively enable me to contribute—as a rooted cosmopolitan—to the lives of others for as long as I live."
For Tereza Srsnova, an Erasmus student in the Department of Gender Studies, the fall term at CEU was a very valuable and motivational experience in many ways.
"I am genuinely thankful for having such an opportunity to study at CEU as an Erasmus student. I have not expected to feel so welcomed, and I totally have not supposed to have a feeling of belonging. I have become a part of the CEU community, the freedom of education protests and the most important – a group of friends. My new friends, studying Gender Studies and this motivating environment, opened my eyes and filled my heart. I left CEU and Budapest a much stronger, confident, motivated, more loving and more loved person."
What about your impressions of the fall semester at CEU?
By Klimentina Gjorgjioska, Erasmus exchange student in the Department of Gender Studies at CEU