Brittany Davey in Hungary

GVIP major Brittany Davey overlooking the two sides of Buda and Pest

GVIP major Brittany Davey overlooking the two sides of Buda and Pest

Brittany Davey, GVIP major, spent her spring semester 2014 in Budapest, Hungary.

What made you choose this opportunity?

I chose this opportunity because after many years of studying in the United States I wanted to expand and broaden my cultural perspectives by studying abroad in a foreign country. Along with the great cultural experience I wanted to travel to Budapest, Hungary because it seemed to be a different experience then the common study abroad locations such as England, Spain, Italy, etc. I was also quite interested to obtain better knowledge and an understanding of different countries and how they function. As a person with different ethnic backgrounds it intrigues me to visit distinct countries and learn their customs, languages, and manners.

What were some of your internship job duties?

After hearing that I was accepted to work at the American Corner Budapest, an embassy sponsored program that acts as a portal for gaining access to information and resources about the United States. The American Corner Budapest serves as a fully functional cultural bridge that links Hungarian and American Culture together.

While working at the American Corner Budapest the intern job description entitled providing information for visitors about the facility, upcoming events, and overseeing the library. Along with this I was assigned to lead and attend corner events either collaborated with the U.S. Embassy or Corvinus University. I have scheduled and planned many program events and assisted to many outside events that the American Corner provides public relations for as well. On the days that we do not hold events the duties assigned were to write up reports about past and upcoming programs, maintain the library, practice English with corner members, and to translate/proof-read any written online works.

As a government and international politics major, how do you think studying abroad will help you with your future goals?

As a government major, I hold a great amount of interest in state and international affairs. After being accepted to the program I began to read more about Hungary and began to learn about the many possible opportunities that it offers. Hungary to me seemed like a fortunate challenge and opportunity to learn more about a different part of the world as well as to learn a new language. When thinking about studying abroad in Hungary it looked to me as a challenge to adventure out to Eastern Europe instead of Western Europe.

The culture and society of Eastern Europe has always intrigued me because it is still enduring the transition of social and political reforms. Eastern Europe seemed like a different world and I wanted to be able to tell my friends and family the experiences that I gained in such an area. Throughout the course of the semester I was able to witness different political events and learn about the cultural and social norms that Hungary holds. Along with the internship experience, the classes that we took were extremely beneficial to my major. They highlighted all the different characteristics about Hungary pertaining to gender studies, government, and the different ethnic identities and cultures that make up the country, primarily focused on Roma identity and studies.

What was something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of this experience?

I was very surprised to see how easy I adapted to Budapest, and how easy it was to transition into a new home and area for four months. My biggest concern before the program was that I would feel homesick and not be able to communicate properly with the language there. I was very shocked to learn quickly I was able to pick up some Hungarian phrases and properly pronounce the words. Talking with the locals was very beneficial and I was very happy and surprised to see how many locals were eager to teach me Hungarian. Budapest is a big and popular international scene that most people may not be aware of but should venture out and experience what this city has to offer. Immersing yourself in a different culture brings so many benefits in your life and gives you a different perspective about yourself.

How to get information for Spring 2015? Visit Budapest Internship Program.

Brittany and her roommate in front of Parliament

Brittany and her roommate in front of Parliament


An Internship in Budapest

Orsolya Buzas, Government and International Politics, in Budapest, Hungary

Orsolya Buzas, Government and International Politics, in Budapest, Hungary

Orsolya Buzas spent a semester in Budapest, Hungary working for Insomnia Advertising Agency. She majors in Government and International Politics.

What did you like about Budapest?

It is a city like no other where Eastern Europe and the West meets. Just by going for a stroll in the city, I walked by basilicas, former homes of historic icons, and buildings marked by bullet holes reminiscent of revolutions, now occupied by quaint coffee shops and boutiques.

How did your international work experience contribute to your academic or professional career?

I left both my internship and the host school with countless advice and lessons learned from my coworkers, supervisors, and professors. I learned that good work is recognized everywhere and people see when a student/intern is driven, focused, and above all, curious. I realized that I should not limit myself to the brief description of my major because there is so much more out there.

Where else did you travel during your semester abroad?

On the weekends I had the opportunity to visit Istanbul, Turkey; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Vienna and the ski slopes of Austria; Belgrade, Serbia; Bratislava, Slovakia.

Dinner overlooking the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Dinner overlooking the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Favorite memory or memories?

  • Walking by the Parliament building every morning on my way to my internship and watching the daily flag pole ceremony.
  • Dinner overlooking the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
  • The farewell party thrown by my coworkers and the compliments I received from my supervisor about my work.

Why would you recommend this program to other students?

Living in such a culturally rich country that is unique to Europe for four months will set any student apart from the crowd.

Not only is it an adventure in and of itself to wake up and discover the new country everyday, but the lessons learned from the classes and the internship will forever stay with you.

Hungarian Parliament Building

Hungarian Parliament Building

Find out more about the program: Budapest Semester Internship Program

Ryan Does Rome

I am a sort-of rising senior here at Mason; I’ll be graduating in December.  I am a Global Affairs major with a concentration in International Development and an Italian Studies minor.  At Mason, I am the Art Editor of Volition, the undergraduate literary and art magazine.  Studying abroad was always something I wanted to do.  I knew I was going to do it; the hard part was just picking when and where.

Once I completed all the paperwork and processes, I was off to my destination!  This past summer, I attended session one of the summer school program at American University of Rome in Italy.  I miss it already and recommend it to everyone!

I took two courses:

  • POL 314 Conflict and Peace in the Mediterranean and
  • SOC 300 Sociology of Contemporary Italy.

I enjoyed both classes equally but in different ways.  Both spoke to my major pretty well so the topics were somewhat familiar, but I found myself learning something new every single class.

While the classes were amazing, it is hard to say that they were my favorite.  I loved experiencing the Roman culture and lifestyles (while getting used to “riposo” was difficult, I grew to appreciate it).  I almost felt like a true Roman after a week or two, once I was immersed in the culture of the sites, the food, the love-hate relationship Italians had with public transportation, and the general day-to-day life of living in Rome.  Also, being an art history buff, I absolutely loved exploring all the sites and museums that the city and nearby regions had to offer.

I was grateful that I speak Italian, and so were some of my classmates.  I found myself teaching them a few words …

To anyone interested in studying abroad in the future, do it! All you have to do is plan it out.  And, if the financial aspect is preventing you like it was with me, don’t worry, there are plenty of scholarships out there to assist!  Also, once your are at your destination or even before you leave the States, make sure to learn a couple of key phrases in the native language.  I was grateful that I speak Italian, and so were some of my classmates.  I found myself teaching them a few words, especially ‘where?’ and ‘how much?’ (or ‘dove…?’ and ‘quanto…?’).  Knowing these will help immensely when you are lost in Rome!

Actually, the best way to learn your way around Rome is to get lost! That way, you will find all the best stores and restaurants that are hidden in the off-streets you may have not explored.  Get off the main strip and out of the tourist area and explore; this is the only way you will get the true experience!

I hope everyone enjoys their study abroad experiences, current or in the future.  Have fun and be adventurous!

Life in Italy

Click on a picture to start the slideshow and find out more about the story behind them.

Arts Management in the UK

By Megan Merchant, Arts Management MA Candidate

Arts Management course in London, England

Arts Management course in London, England

This is day 13 of my 18 day stay here in London. The opportunity to study arts management in another country has been an invaluable opportunity. Comparing practices and customs helps to open my mind to new ideas of how an arts organization can function.

As a first time world traveler, starting my abroad experience in London has been the perfect introduction since the customs and language are not too different from the US. However, it took me a few days to get used to the currency, how to cross the street, the tube, and local jargon. My favorite places to eat here are pubs where I had cottage pies, fish and chips, and Scottish eggs. On the trip I saw all the major tourist sites including: Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Trafalgar Square, West End, St. Paul’s Cathedral,West Minster Abbey, Tower if London, Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, Stone Henge, Harry Potter Studios, and Stratford Upon Avon.

I also saw Angela Lansbury in a West End play called Blithe Spirit, Warhorse, and a new musical of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I even heard a latin jazz concert in a crypt at St. Martin’s in the Fields Church. I’ve seen more visual and performing arts in this trip than I usually see in a year. I can’t wait to visit again!

Some arts management highlights and observations from my trip:

Continue reading