The short-term Erasmus+ projects started another series of ideas.
“What if we apply for a study abroad?”
“I’m not sure, I will think about it.”
We were thinking about it that long until we missed the first round of applications. And then, of course, we began to regret and secretly hoped that the second round will be announced. Luckily it was.
Finland? Too expensive. Austria? They want German. Poland? That’s too close.
“Come on, what would we do in Hungary?”
“Well, I guess they have a good wine, don’t they?”
Our applications were approved, and in year 2016 we spent 150 days in the Hungarian city of Debrecen as the first (and who knows, if not the last) Erasmus students of Adult Education.
We gave up living in an offered accommodation for foreign students after five days and with the words of the man at the dormitory “No English! Finish? Check out. Bye!”, we left. And instead of a 3×3 meter rabbit-hutch for two people for 400 euros per month, we found the whole house with separate rooms for 300 euros and a great owner Cecil. Especially the fact that Cecil is a “food blogger” has had a great deal of tasty benefits for us.
In Hungary, the tradition of AskaDeniz and bikes started as well. Debrecen seemed to us as an ideal city for cycling, so it was an obvious choice for us. And of course, we also wanted to save some money on transportation. 🙂 At the lecture, we mentioned to our teacher that we were planning to buy bikes, and he immediately offered to lend us his and his wife’s bikes for less than half a year. We used them really every day, wherever we went – to school, to shop with backpacks, to restaurants and cafes, even when we went out for a beer with the other Erasmus people in the evening. Not only did bikes become our distinguishing sign of “the two Czechs on bicycles”, but most Erasmus people still believe that this is the true Czech tradition of cycling to the pub. As well as the fact that “Cheers!” is said “Očipičo!” in Czech. (It’s considered as quite rude to don’t look to each other’s eyes while saying Cheers and “clinking” with the glass. So the true is that “oči pičo” means “Eyes, bitch!”).
Briefly said, we represented with a full commitment.
Honestly, the studying went largely aside and we enjoyed all the benefits of the Erasmus life instead. As well as the possibilities of low-cost travelling, which was (and still is) from Hungary much easier than from us, from the Czech Republic.
What surprised us most during this time? That most of the students in Debrecen were not Europeans. That there is a Bike Mafia – a group of people who cook and deliver food to local homeless people. That “világoš?” means “do you understand?” in Hungarian (while in Czech it means something like “to be punished”). The fact that even though the teachers knew that we didn’t speak Hungarian, they didn’t care and continued with the lecture in their native language. That the sea is for some people the most appreciable thing about the Czech Republic (like seriously!). The fact that we got the university credits for cooking in the course of Hungarian cuisine. That the French can’t drink. That not everyone understands irony. The fact that Romanian money is really waterproof. The fact that some don’t perceive much differences between the Czech Republic and Chechnya. That it is possible for someone to welcome you with the words “Goodbye!” and mean it seriously. That Couchsurfing is fine… sometimes.
Also the fact that the Japanese can’t drink. That someone thinks that the Czech Republic is the capital of Prague. That we were sitting in a waiting room full of half-naked women because of a lung x-ray. That there was nobody else , except the two of us, sitting in the class during whole semester. That we fell in love with the West of Ukraine. That we were able to cross the Ukrainian-Hungarian border with an unknown Russian guy in a car with a Slovak license plate. That it doesn’t really matter where the person comes from. The fact that we weren’t even getting on each others nerves.
“Now what?”, the family and friends asked us after our arrival. “Hard return to reality”, we answered, and had no idea that it won’t be for long.