Dear BSM students,

It is our pleasure to welcome you among a very special group of American students: this is our group for the 2006 Fall Semester of the BSM program. The staff has great expectations of working with you!

I ask all of you to read the letter carefully, including the last part containing info about the courses of the new semester and the additional message about the housing arrangements.

In case you are already en route to Budapest, the information of the first couple of paragraphs below might be outdated, still the rest of the letter contains important information, please read it carefully till the end.

Be sure you carry the Hungarian student visa when you come. We are aware that some of you had problems getting back your passports from the consulates - hopefully all problems are solved by now. Please note that the Hungarian office cannot really help in solving these problems in the US. E.g., if you have problem calling the consulates, we will definitely have even more calling from overseas and from a very different time zone. All problems should be addressed to the American office who will forward the cases needs our attention to Budapest.

If your luggage gets lost during the flight and the carrier ask for your address in Budapest where to deliver it later/next day the best is to give the address of BSM (College International BSM, 1071 Budapest, Bethlen Gábor tér 2.) because you still do not know yours and here we have a 24-hour reception. When you arrive in the airport hall (or at the train station), look for the "BSM" sign! An escort will be waiting for you and will see you to your Budapest home even if your flight arrives late at night or on weekends. Don't forget to notify our office and/or Bonnie Humke's office about your arrival time, carrier, flight number, etc. in advance. If any unforeseen change happens in your travel plans please let us know immediately. Due to the recent security alerts all over the US and UK airports some measures may be introduced at Budapest as well, but so far we know about no serious changes, especially for the arriving passengers.

Our phone numbers are: (361) 413 3038 (BSM office), or (361) 413 3003 (College International central office), fax: (361) 413 3030, while the BSM (mobile) hotline is (3630) 4743924. In case you are lost at the arrival for some reason (delayed, or missed plane, etc.), please call this last number and we will arrange a pick (up from the station) for you. You may send your message to Budapest through email to the following addresses: (equivalent to the earlier address) or 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 the arrival) you may call our student coordinator (Miss Eszter Cseke) on the mobile phone 30-4743-924 with a prefix 06 within Hungary or a prefix 0036 from outside of Hungary.

Please note that most probably the first person you will meet from the staff (apart, in some cases, the student helper meeting you upon your arrival) will be Eszter or Hedi, the student coordinators, who will be available during the Babilon courses as well to assist your needs. Normally you will meet me on the opening ceremony in September, but during the next couple of weeks I'll also be available at For those who come in August and take the intensive Hungarian language course: be prepared for the difficulties of the first couple of days because the course at school Babilon is indeed intensive! Though it includes an orientation tour in the city, the long school hours will take almost all of your days leaving hardly any gap for the daily routine of shopping, etc. The Babilon course begins on Monday, the 21st of August.

Some other technical issues (for all): we do our best to find you housing as requested. If you are not satisfied with the accommodation or don't get along with your roommate(s), let us know ASAP because change is possible! However, you may be asked to be patient for a few days until our student coordinators will find you another place to live. Due to our earlier experience, let me stress: 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 coordinator 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 understood 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 month of your arrival, you are free to change apartments by simply leaving the first month'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 loose 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).
By Hungarian law, all visiting students must register at the designated local authority. This is a bureaucratic nuisance, but our office is going to arrange the appointment for you during the first weeks of your stay in Budapest.
Let me draw your attention to the importance of having an appropriate health insure policy during your stay in Hungary. Before you leave, please call your home insurance company and make sure you insurance is valid in Hungary and what type of costs and up to what extend are met by it. An alternative (or, as we would suggest, a parallel) solution is to buy the local insurance sold by our home institution, College International, which for about 25 USD per month will offer you treatment in a relatively good local hospital.

Please note as well that the building of BSM is equipped with security entrances and you will be able to enter the building only by your chip card given to you on the orientation session. You will have to pay 3000 HUF deposit, which will be returned prior your departure upon returning the chip card. The list of the name of the forthcoming BSM students will be deposited to the entrance desk of the building, so in case you have to or want to visit the BSM building before the official beginning of the semester, you will be allowed to the building.

Some advice from our students of previous semesters regarding money things:
  1. 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.
  2. Traveler's checks of USD 50 work best for traveling, and it is a good idea to have varying denominations. The textbooks or reading materials for the BSM courses are preferably sold for HUF (Hungarian forints), but USD (cash or traveler's checks) are also accepted. However, in this case normally we do not have change.
  3. Bring some American cash. 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!
  4. 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 - sometimes calling abroad from them is also relatively cheap - especially in case of the voice over IP solution. It's free to receive calls on your cell-phone.
  5. The bags at some grocery stores are not free, do not grab one unless you are prepared to pay the charge (about 20-50 Forints=10-20 cents).
  6. Be warned that many of the smaller shops close relatively early (6 PM) and are often closed on Sundays.

You all will have Internet access and may use your home e-mail address if you wish at the computer lab of College International. Recently we have set up a room for connections of laptops as well. However, if you wish to use a local e-mail address, let me know it and by your arrival so a local e-mail account ( will be set up.

More and more of the BSM students are keen about an immediate INTERNET access in their apartment. In case you have a laptop with a modem and your apartment will have a land phone line, you may use the Hungarian Telecom's Open Internet service. Simple call 06,51622622 via the modem and use the user name t-com and password t-com (identical). From 7am till midnight it will cost 5 HUF/minute, while during the night 3HUF/minute (recently 1 USD is around 200 HUF).

A printed version of this welcome letter with some additional information and survival package will be given to you as well upon or a bit after your arrival, while the Academic program will be delivered to the Babilon course. In the Academic Program you will find information about the requirements, courses, program of the semester; however, the first version of the schedule of classes will be distributed only on or around the orientation session. Those, who will arrive only by the beginning of the semester, will receive their Academic program upon the arrival as well.

In case you are a non-US citizen and you will need to apply for a return visa to the US while you are in Budapest please let Eszter know about this issue as soon as possible since the bureaucratic procedures might take long time.

Finally I'd like to inform you about our course offers and ask your assistance in preparing the schedule of the courses. Since we will have most of the time 2 or 3 classes parallel to each other, in order to avoid (as much as possible) conflicts of classes I need to know in advance what courses you plan to take. The semester starts with a trial period of three weeks, when you can sit in as many classes as you wish. Only after this you must register for the courses you really want to study; therefore your pre-registration will only inform me about the approximate number of students in the courses and the possible conflicts of classes I should try to avoid when preparing the schedule but will no carry obligation. On the other hand, if you mark 6-8 math classes you might take, it will have little help for me. In case you are not decided - but only in that case - try to weight at least the courses (weight 1 meaning you surely want to take the course, any smaller trying to indicate the chance you'll take the course).

Please note that in effect from last year we introduce an extra tuition fee (payable at the Budapest office) for the 6th and further math courses you would take. That is, your paid tuition covers as much as 5 math courses and the OFFERED non math courses and for any further math course a non-refundable tuition of 350USD should be paid by the registration time (i.e., by the end of the third week). In case anybody would like to drop a course later, it can be done by submitting a written request (form will be provided) signed by the instructor of the course to the Budapest BSM office. Failure of doing it will result a "U" (unsatisfactory) grade for the course.

Let me emphasize that the list of the courses below is not obligatory for us either. In case of having low interest in a course or due to any other reason they might not be offered or may be cancelled later. Altogether, I'd like to ask you to pre-register (indicate the courses you may like to take) either on a sheet of paper given to Eszter if you are already in Budapest (please indicate your name on the sheet) or in an e-mail sent to ( ASAP, but not later than the 20th of January.

List of courses

Introductory level math courses

(meaning they do not require more prerequisites then the usual introductory calculus and algebra classes, but some may still be very demanding)
AL1 Introduction to Abstract Algebra
ANT Topics in Analysis
CLX Complex Analysis
C&P Conjecture and Proof
CO1 Combinatorics 1
NU1 Number Theory 1
PRO Probability Theory
SET Set Theory
TOP Introduction to Topology

Advanced math courses

AAL Advanced Algebra
CMA Commutative Algebra
CO2 Combinatorics 2
DIG Differential Geometry
FUN Functional Analysis
GAL Galois Theory
GEO Topics in Geometry
GTT Graph Theory
NUT Topics in Number Theory
RFM Real Functions and Measures
THC Theory of Computing

Additional math courses

The following math courses will be introduced (maybe as reading courses) in case of interest:

BIO Stochastic Models in Bioinformatics
D&B Dynamics and Bifurcations (Differential Equations)
LOG Mathematical Logic
MAP Mathematical Physics

Non math courses:

HL1 Beginner Hungarian Language
HL2 Intermediate Hungarian Language
HIS The Making of Modern Central Europe
HUC Hungarian Art and Culture
HAM Historical Aspects of Physics and Mathematics
FILM Film Analysis - Great Masters of European Films
OPH Old World and New World Political Philosophy

On your pre-registration you may indicate any other topics (within mathematics) you wish to learn - in case of many similar requests I will do my best to design an appropriate course for you. Sometimes Introduction to Abstract Algebra is requested by a considerable number of students, in which case I try to launch it, though in general we assume our students had already it.
The syllabi of the above courses and the Academic program will be given to you soon, and both will available on this site.

Please note that the opening of the program (orientation session followed by the welcome party) will take place at our Bethlen ter headquarter on the the 8th of September, Friday from 3 p.m. and the participation of each of you is absolutely essential. Please do not plan any other activity for this time.

Looking forward to seeing you in Budapest

Dezső Miklós

Back to top or Back to main page


Dear BSM students,

Since 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 in the welcome letter above. It is really important for you to know what to expect before you arrive.

All BSM students spend around four months in the country. It is nowhere easy to find reasonable accommodation for such a short period and unfortunately BSM has no dormitory facilities. Most probably you would not be able to find places with such conditions. 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 more clever way, but it rarely worked, normally only caused extra trouble for both of us. Therefore, I asked you to act independently only if you are absolutely sure about your possibilities. In that case we might not be able to help you later.

The Budapest office maintains a list of apartments with landlords who are willing to rent out them for short term. The price of these apartments (per person) is calculated under the conditions given, and therefore a bit higher then the normal Budapest market price. But please understand, short term renting is more expensive everywhere in the world. And, in most of the cases, BSM landlords have their apartments empty for a month in the winter and 3 month during the summer, when we have no BSM students in the city. Therefore, they are paid rent only for 8 months per year.

According to the normal procedure you will be assigned (and guided to) and apartment upon your arrival, as close to your wish described in the housing matching form as possible. The procedure after that is described in the welcome letter above

In general, please note the following comments: Back to top or Back to main page