Wow, my last official blog from my semester abroad! It is crazy how fast these past four months have flown by. Time is a weird thing and I frankly hate how quickly it passes. Anyways, I didn't blog my last month in Budapest because, on top of being pretty busy, I was also desperately trying to make the most of the time I had left. I tried to spend as much time as I could out in the city and with the people I met in Budapest and as little time at our dorm or on my laptop as possible. It was a very full last month with many ups and downs, but I savored every second. Here’s an update on my final weeks abroad on the 2014 Hungary Semester.
The highlight of my semester abroad was participating in service-learning. For those who don’t know, I volunteered with a ministry (RMK) that assists refugees and immigrants successfully adjust to their new lives in Hungary. Not only do they practically help them, but they also provide newcomers with a community and familial atmosphere. At RMK I met with three teenage girls, Lina, Luna, and Mish, weekly for one-on-one English tutoring sessions and babysat two little girls, Maya and Mitra, once a week while their mom had Hungarian language tutoring. I loved volunteering at RMK so much because I was able to build relationships with the girls I tutored. I had the privilege of hearing their stories as well as their thoughts on various issues and their aspirations for the future. I was able to get a glimpse into the diverse cultures they come from through the lens of their life experiences. I became their friend and helped them become friends with one another, too. It was a deeply impactful experience and shaped me and my time in Budapest greatly.
This past month I tried to spend as much time at RMK and with the girls I tutored as possible. Two Saturday mornings Tonisha, a student from my group who also volunteered at RMK, and I went to RMK to play board games with the kids there. I also went to see the Hunger Games with Lina and her friend Zena, went to the Budapest Christmas Markets a few times with the girls, went out to eat once to the Hummus Bar and twice to Al Amir – an awesome Syrian restaurant – with Lina, and we all went out for bubble tea on my last day in Budapest. Tonisha and I also spent our last Sunday in Budapest walking around the city, shopping, and hanging out with the girls.