Dear BSM student,
It is our pleasure to welcome you among the students of the upcoming semester of the BSM program. Below you will find information about various aspects of the semester. Email us if you have additional questions.
We, the Budapest directors and the professors have great expectations of working with you! Looking forward to meeting you in Budapest,Dezso Miklos, director (email@example.com), Agnes Szilard, associate director (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Anna Foti, director of student services (email@example.com)
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BSM contact info
Departing for Hungary Arriving in Hungary
First meetings at BSM
The Preliminary (Babilon) Hungarian Language Course
Practical Orientation Session
Academic Orientation Session
Keeping in touch, things to do
CONTACTDuring daytime (9am-5pm GMT+1) our phone numbers are: (+361) 413 3038 (BSM office), or (+361) 413 3003 (College International central office), fax: (+361) 413 3030, while the cellphone +36 30 4743924 (or 0036304743924) is answered by Anna, i.e. Ms. Anna Fóti director of student services, who you will meet upon your arrival or soon after that. Anna will be available to assist your needs already during the optional Babilon language course.
You can also use +36 30 618 6590 (or 0036 30 618 6590) for help as well. It is answered by Ms Orsolya Pulay, the BSME student coordinator. (While BSME is a separate program we work closely with them.)
Use these numbers and/or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, if there are any changes or unforeseen events before or during your travel to Hungary.
You may or may not have to have a visa in order to enter Hungary. This depends on your citizenship. Visa rules are also intertwined with the residency permit requirement -- all Fall and Spring students must obtain a residency permit as they will be staying in Hungary for more than 90 days. Please, read carefully the visa and residency permit rules here.
In case you think you need our assistance, send a message to Agnes Szilard at email@example.com
DEPARTING TO HUNGARYOn very rare occasions US airline personnel (notably Delta and American) have doubts about letting BSM students board their plane without a so-called D-type visa, claiming that they are entitled to stay within the Schengen region free of visa only 90 days, if the student's return ticket is booked for a date over this period or the student has no return ticket. In order to avoid inconveniences we sent you a letter issued by BSM explaining the legal situation to airlines, citing the apropriate laws. If you did not receive or lost it download it from here.
ARRIVAL IN HUNGARYIn the arrival hall, look for the BSM signs. A BSM representative will in all cases be waiting for you (unless it is otherwise negotiated personally with you). In case you miss each other, be patient and try to locate him/her. In dire need, call our hotline but in no case leave the station/airport before successfully contacting us.
In case you are lost at arrival for some reason (you are delayed, or have missed your plane, etc.), please call the BSM emergencyline and we will arrange to pick you up from the airport/station at your new arrival time. Or you may send your message to Budapest through email to the following addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know of any last minute changes as well, as soon as possible!
Again, in a dire need of urgent info or in case of an unexpected change or delay in your arrival data or on weekends (or being lost upon arrival) you may call Anna on the cellphone +36304743924 from outside of Hungary.
If your luggage gets lost and the carrier asks for your address in Budapest to deliver your luggage to, please give them the BSM address: College International, BSM, 1071 Budapest, Bethlen Gábor tér 2. We have a 24-hour reception there, they will receive and save it for you.
FIRST MEETINGS AT BSM
Please note that most probably the first person you will meet from the staff (apart from, in some cases, the BSM representative meeting you upon your arrival) will be Anna, who will be available during the Babilon course as well to assist you with your needs.
Those of you who are taking the language course will meet Dr Agnes Szilard, associate director (a BSM professors as well) on Thursday, January 19th, 3:00 pm at the practical orientation.
In addition to other programs, there will be a make-up practical-orientation for those of you who arrive later, on Saturday, February 4th, 2pm .
Both pre-orientations will take place at BSM headquarters (address: 1071, Budapest, Bethlen Gabor ter 2).
THE LANGUAGE PROGRAM AT BABILONThose who are already in town to take the intensive Hungarian language course: be prepared for the challenges of the first couple of days because the course at Babilon school is indeed intensive! Though it includes an orientation tour of the city, the long school hours will take almost all of your days leaving little time for the daily routines of shopping, etc.
During the course you will go with Anna in small groups to the immigration office to pick up your residence permits if you have a D type visa. Otherwise you will apply for the permit.
PRACTICAL ORIENTATIONThere will an important BSM related event during the Babilon course: the practical orientation at 3:00pm on Thursday, February 19th (as mentioned above) to discuss any question emerging till that point. This event will take place at Bethlen tér, the BSM headquarters; Anna will usher you to Bethlen tér from the Babilon School. This is when you will meet all the other students participating in the program for the first time, get an entrance card to the college building, get your local insurance card etc.
(Once again, for those of you who arrive later, the make-up practical orientation will be on February 4th with more events that day -- details will be sent by email and posted later at www.bsmath.hu.)
The BSM program itself will begin with the academic orientation on Monday, February 6th at 8am. Classes start at 10:15am the same day. There will also be a Welcome party the previous Friday afternoon (February 4th, 5pm, at Bethlen ter 2).
In the meantime please feel free to send all of your inquiries to Dezso (email@example.com), Agnes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Anna at email@example.com as well (though Anna might not be able to answer the academic questions). From the beginning of the semester we will meet regularly.
RESIDENCY PERMITSBy Hungarian law, all visiting students must register at the Immigration Office in Budapest. Those who arrive without a visa, must apply for a residency permit, those arriving with a D type visa will simply pick it up. Please be prepred that either way this is a bureaucratic nuisance (you may have to wait in line etc), but our office is doing all they can e.g. by arrange for group appointments, preparing all papers for you. Those who attend the Babilon language school will be accompanied by Anna to the Immigration Office in small groups to register your local address (and apply for/ pick up the residence permit). Those who arrive later will be handled in February.
Remember, you are required to obtain your residence permit within a month of your arrival. You will have to do the paperwork and spend time in government offices in Budapest to obtain your residence permit. As outlined above, we will help you through this process and take you to the Immigration office in due time. However, we will require your thorough cooperation.
Please note that you will be required to pay 18000 HUF when you apply for the permit in the form of "okmánybélyeg" (fiscal stamps) that you will have to buy in advance at the post office. (Visa holders do not have to pay this fee, since you already did that when you applied for your visa.)
HOUSING We do our best to find you housing as requested. However, since the demand is changing from semester to semester, it might happen that you are placed into an apartment not exactly matching your request. If you are not satisfied with the accommodation or don't get along with your roommate(s), let us (actually, Anna) know ASAP within a week of your arrival — she may be able to find you alternative lodging. However, you may be asked to be patient for a few days until Anna will find you another place to live. Due to our earlier experience, let us emphasize: we can solve your housing problems only if we know about them. So please, in case of having any problem, visit or contact the BSM office and let the directors handle the problem. Please, be aware, that although BSM is an intermediary between you and your landlord, you have to agree and sign the Lease Contract with your landlord. We put a blank contract in English and Hungarian, which you can use, in the welcoming information package. Be sure you read and understand it before you sign it. Please do not pay any rent until the contract is signed (but sign a contract as soon as possible). Since during the last couple of semesters there were several debates between landlords and students in cases students changed apartments we encourage the use of the following policy (and informed the landlords about this):
During the first week of your arrival, you are free to change apartments by simply leaving the first week's rent behind (plus paying the used utility fees, of course) plus any other fees, which are due. If you change apartments later, the policy set in the contract is to be followed (usually you will lose your deposit as well). Therefore, please be sure that the contract has details about this case. In case the apartments are occupied by several students, everybody who exchanges their present apartment for a different one will forfeit their money (again, usually the remainder of the month's rent plus perhaps a security deposit, if one was paid).
More on HousingSince the housing arrangement has become a crucial issue during the last few semesters, we would like to share some information with you about the housing situation here in Budapest, in addition to what is written above.
All BSM students spend around four months in the country. It is nowhere easy to find reasonable accommodation for such a short period — within easy commute to school and with Landlords willing to sign documents letting you register in their apartment, as needed for the Immigration Office . (Unfortunately BSM has no dormitory facilities.) So most probably you would have to spend too much time looking for an appropriate apartment and may not find one in the end. This is why we believe it is our (the Budapest office's) duty to solve the housing question. In some of the cases during the last semesters some BSM students thought they were able to solve their housing in a better way, but it rarely worked, because of the registration requirement — only caused extra trouble for all involved. Therefore, we ask you to act independently only if you are absolutely sure about your opportunities, the legal registration requirement as well. Also,please be aware that we may not be able to help you later, with an uncooperative landlord.
The Budapest office maintains a list of furnished and fully equipped apartments with landlords who are willing to rent them out for short term, and sign all legal documents as required by the Immigration Office. The price of these apartments (per person) is calculated under the conditions given. The fact that "BSM landlords" have their apartments empty between semesters is built in the price as well.
According to normal procedure you will be assigned (and guided to) an apartment upon your arrival, as close to your wish described in the housing matching form as possible.
In general, please note the following comments:
- BSM students pay 100000 HUF per person per month (right now 1USD is appr. 295 HUF, but varied between 240 and 300 HUF during the last two years) for their housing, excluding utilities (water, gas, electricity) and so called common charges of the houses the apartments are in which include cleaning, of the house, garbage disposal etc. Sometimes these charges are included in your mothly rent. There are some exceptions, for example you may pay more at a family stay, but you get food etc.
- Normally 2 or 3 students share a flat, but everybody should get his/her independent room for this price. Those who request it will be housed at a family, if possible.
- We are trying to, but we can't fulfill all wishes! We'll try to find the best apartment for you!
- We have limited amount of families, so not everybody gets to stay with one. You may get an apartmate instead.
- Public transportation is really good in Budapest from almost all apartments you can make it to school in 30 min.
- Please understand that not all the apartments are close to school.
- We have apartments on the Buda side as well, but with good transportation in nice areas. Living on the Buda side does not mean to live far away from the center.
- Changing apartment and roommate is possible, but sometimes really difficult. We have limited amount of apartments, so please try to be flexible.
- Payment conditions depend on the landlords, some collect deposit some not.
- Please always pay the rent on time!
- Let us know if you have any problems with your landlords!
Finally let us ask you to keep your apartment in a good shape during your stay in Budapest and give it back in the same condition you got them. During the last semesters we (almost) completely succeeded in changing the BSM apartments to certain standards, which meet the requirements of the BSM students - such as having internet everywhere. However, the monthly rent does not cover the full renovation of the apartments after each semester, so your cooperation is essential in keeping the apartments in good shape. Moreover, any damage will be deducted from your (local or US) security deposit. It is very difficult to demand high standards from the landlords if the tenants do not obey the standards themselves. So, please, keep the apartments in good shape, clean and tidy condition during your stay.
INSURANCELet us draw your attention to the importance of having an appropriate health insure policy during your stay in Europe. Before you leave, please call your home insurance company and make sure your insurance is valid in Hungary and Europe in general (or wherever you are planning to travel during the semester). Find out what type of costs and up to what extend are met by it. We expect you to have a valid insurance policy, covering at least up to 50000 euros of your health expenses as well as covering evacuation costs. Several US companies offer appropriate insurance for your travel, study abroad needs e.g. Gateway US, IMG, CMI or ISOS.
A suplemental health insurance will be provided by the college here, in Budapest (included in your tuition), allowing access to a reliable, English language health service offered by Semmelweis University, the medical university of Budapest. However, it is a parallel option, but does not replace your home insurance, especially since it does NOT cover you outside of Budapest i.e. during travel, arrival, nor covers evacuation to the US!
See the full terms of the local insurance here.
BSM "campus"BSM does not have a campus as such. It is located in a large building surrounded by a courtyard. The building is shared by four independent international programs: "Pre-Med" (preparing students for medical school), McDaniel College (Budapest branch of a US institution), BSM and BSME (Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education).
The building is equipped with security entrances and you will be able to enter the building using your chip card only which will be given to you at the practical orientation. You will have to pay a deposit of 3000 HUF (cash), which will be returned prior your departure upon returning the chip card.
KEEPING IN TOUCH, THINGS TO DOWe suggest those who have not done so join our Fall Facebook group - you can get the link from Anna (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Also: check out our map for "useful stores around BSM" as well as a "Things to do" and "Bucketpest list" from the Spring, 2014 class.
In addition, here is advice from our students of previous semesters regarding finances:
- Bring a bank card (cirrus, MasterCard, Maestro or Visa). It gets the best exchange rate. Check with your home bank about charges for withdrawal abroad. Bankcards are much better than traveler's check, and ATM machines now can be found everywhere.
- Bring some American cash (cash is always handy in case of emergency). Do NOT change money in the US, exchange rate is much better in Hungarian banks and exchange counters. The little official exchange booths in the center of the city, around Babilon offer better rates than banks and normally they don't charge a commission. Do NOT change money on the street!
- It is much cheaper to call Budapest from the US than doing it the other direction. You might also buy pre-paid calling cards, which make international calls really cheap. Most of our earlier students of the recent semesters quickly bought a cell-phone or sim card (a very basic one is about 3000 forints and a sim card is about 2500 forints, half of which can be used for calls). Sometimes calling abroad via a cell phone is also relatively cheap - especially in case of the voice over IP solution. It's free to receive calls on your cell-phone. Your apartments should have internet connection as well and calling via skype or other internet based connection should be the cheapest way.
- Be warned that many of the smaller shops close relatively early (6 PM). However, even in the downtown area there are small shops open late evening and/or the weekend.
INTERNETYou will all have Internet access both at school and at home and may use your home e-mail address. There is WIFI all over the BSM building and you may use the computer lab of College International, owner of the BSM building. If you wish to use a local e-mail address, let us know it and a local e-mail account (email@example.com) will be set up by your arrival. Alternatively, during the first days at Bethlen ter you may visit the computer lab and an account can be set up for you. To use the computer lab, print or copy pages, you will need your entrance card. There will be 100 pages preloaded on the card (to be used for printing or copying) and you can top it up in the appropriate office at Bethlen ter.
All BSM students are keen about an immediate INTERNET access in their apartment. We have made serious efforts and I hope all of the apartments will have fast internet connection, but in that case you will naturally have to pay a bit extra to the rental fee, since only long term internet connection is available in Hungary, and the lump sum fee need to be paid for the period when the apartment is unoccupied, too. In that case, however, the use of the service is free of additional charge and is unlimited, and much faster (most of the cases).
FURTHER INFORMATIONThe www.bsmath.hu website should be your primary source of all academic information, as well as some crucial non-academic info - it is always the most up-to-date.
You will find information about all events, the rules, requirements, courses and program of the semester will be posted on the same website. The first version of the schedule of classes will be posted by the beginning of February.
ACADEMIC ORIENTATIONPlease note that the opening of the program with the academic orientation session will take place at our Bethlen ter headquarter on the 6th of February, Monday at 8am and the participation of each of you is absolutely essential. Classes will start right afterwards at 10:15am (the schedule will be posted by the 4th of February).
US EMBASSY IN BUDAPESTLast, but not least let me mention the American Citizen Services of the Budapest Embassy of the United States. Please, visit their WEB site http://hungary.usembassy.gov/service.html , it contains useful information for American citizens in Budapest. Pay particular attention to the Tourist advisory section http://hungary.usembassy.gov/tourist_advisory.html . Previous semesters a couple of times we had BSM students scammed in Vaci utca, which we naturally would like to avoid in the future.
Dezső Miklós, director, Agnes Szilard, associate director, Anna Fói, Director of Student ServicesBack to top or Back to main page