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Dear BSM student,

It is our pleasure to welcome you among the students of the 2013 Spring Semester of the BSM program. We, the Budapest director, the professors and the staff have great expectations of working with you!

We ask you to read this letter carefully, including the last part containing information about the courses of the new semester and the additional message about the housing arrangements.

CONTACT 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 (0630 4743924 from Hungary, answered by Anna, i.e. Ms. Anna Fóti, our student coordinator, who you will meet upon your arrival or soon after that). 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 Anna, who will be available during the Babilon course as well to assist your needs. Later you will meet me, Dezső Miklós, the Budapest director and/or Prof. Ágnes Szilárd, the associate director, on the the 17th of January -- in case you participate in the language program -- or on the 1st of February, the opening and first teaching day of the semester.

In case you are lost at the arrival for some reason (delayed, or missed plane, etc.), please call the BSM (mobile) hotline 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: afoti@mcdaniel.hu or office@bsmath.hu (equivalent to the earlier bsm@mcdaniel.hu address) or dezso@renyi.hu or szilard@renyi.hu. 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 Anna on the mobile phone 0630-4743924 within Hungary or +3630-4743924 from outside of Hungary.

VISA. Based on the experience of the previous semesters we have put together a link at the local WEB page of the program addressing the visa issues. Please read it at http://www.bsmath.hu/visa.html carefully.

Summarizing the information you
1. should do nothing right now if you are a citizen of a Schengen country (if you do not know what it means, probably you are not). In this case, however, be sure you will enter the Schengen region with your Schengen passport.
2. should do nothing if you are a US, Canadian, South Korean, Brazilian or Japanese citizen and plan to arrive for the program (or the language school) just shortly before the start (of the language school or the program). In this case your residence permit will be obtained after your arrival and the Budapest staff will assist you.
3. otherwise should most probably apply for a long stay (so-called D type) visa/pre approved residence permit combo at a consulate of Hungary. However, I believe all of you in this position were already contacted by me and have already applied for visa. Should we not exchanged email messages earlier, you should contact the BSM office in Budapest ASAP.

Please note that those arriving with D type visa SHOULD NOT LEAVE Hungary before they get their residence permit. If you leave prior that, most probably you will not be reentered into Hungary, should you need a visa, or, in case you may enter without a visa, you risk that you will have to apply again for a residence permit (pay the fee again, collect all documents again, etc.)

Once you have your residence permit, you can freely travel inside the Schengen region (most of the EU countries, minus Romania, Bulgaria and the British Islands, but including Switzerland and Norway), you will not need a visa to enter those countries or return to Hungary. However, if you are not an American citizen, for other European countries, like Romania, Croatia or Turkey, England, you might need a visa.

For those who will arrive to Budapest without a visa: Hungarian authorities does not require a prepaid return ticket to issue a residence permit. (See "Departure" below for a cover letter to airlines about this.)


Earlier semesters we used to have sporadic problems with the airlines who kind of demanded (in very few cases) return tickets or visas from some of the prospective students claiming that if you stay longer than 3 months in Hungary you need that (they are/were not right). In order to avoid inconveniences, download this letter to be shown to the airline officers in case of doubt.

ARRIVAL Please send us by email your exact arrival schedule (airline, flight number, city arriving from, exact date - make sure to add one day to your departure date since your flight across the Atlantic will be overnight) so we can pick you up at the airport. Most of you have shared with this info with us already, we have just a few missing cases. In case of last minute changes, please send all relevant information ASAP to budapestsemesters@gmail.com, shimota@stolaf.edu, afoti@mcdaniel.hu and office@bsmath.hu.

In the arrival hall, look for the BSM signs. A student helper 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 from the station the emergency number but in no case leave the station/airport before successfully contacting us.

If your luggage gets lost and the carrier ask for your address in Budapest where to deliver it when it arrives, please give them the BSM address: College International, BSM, 1071 Budapest, Bethlen Gábor tér 2. We have a 24-hour reception there, they will pick up and save it for you.

Residency Permits By Hungarian law, all visiting students must register at the Immigration Office in Budapest. Even those who arrive without a visa, must apply for a residency permit as well. 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. On January 30th, Wednesday all of those who attend the Babilon language school will be guided by Anna to the Immigration Office to register your local address (and apply for or pick up the residence permit). Those who arrive later will be handled individually, on one of the first Wednesdays of February.

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. We will help you through this process and take you to the Immigration office at due time, as outlined above. However, we will require your thorough cooperation.

Please note that you will be required to pay about 18000 HUF cash for the permit. You also need proper insurance to receive a permit.

See the "visa" section for more info on residence permits.

Those who come in mid-January and take the intensive Hungarian language course: be prepared for the challenges 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 little time for the daily routines of shopping, etc. The Babilon course begins on Wednesday, the 16th of January and ends on the 1st of February, Friday. On the 30th of January, Wednesday, there will be no Babilon classes. Those who have arrived earlier will go with Anna to the immigration office to pick up their residence permits if they have the D type visa or apply for the permit otherwise (therefore, no classes at Babilon that day).

There will be two BSM related events during the Babilon course, a pre-orientation (getting together) meeting on the afternoon of the 17th of January (when you will meet Agi Szilard). The BSM program itself will begin with the orientation 1st of February, Friday afternoon, following the Babilon course.
Download the Babilon Course Schedule here

ORIENTARION There will be a preliminary meeting with all of those attending the language school on the 17th of January, Thursday, early afternoon. This event will take place at Bethlen tér, the BSM headquarters; Anna will usher you to Bethlen tér from the Babilon School. At the orientation you will meet all the other students participating in the program and may ask questions as well, get your entrance card to the BSM college building, etc.

Otherwise, normally you would meet the officers of the program on the opening ceremony in February. However, please feel free to send all of your inquiries to me, Ági and/or Anna at office@bsmath.hu as well (though Anna might not be able to answer the academic questions).

From the beginning of the semester we will meet regularly.

HOUSING We do our best to find your 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 because change might be 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 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). By Hungarian law, all visiting students must register at the designated local authority (and from this semester on, those who arrive without a visa, apply for the residency permit as well, which also requires a local home address). 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. Again, on the 30th of January, Wednesday all of those who attend the language school will be guided by Marian to the Immigration Office to register your local address (and apply for or pick up the residence permit), while the other cases will be handled individually, most of them on the first Wednesday of the program.

More on Housing

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 ask you to act independently only if you are absolutely sure about your options. Please note that if you choose independent housing we may 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 than 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 months 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:

Finally let me 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. However, the monthly rent does not cover the full renovation of the apartments after each semester, so you 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.

INSURANCE Let us 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 your insurance is valid in Hungary and find out what type of costs and up to what extend are met by it. A proper, valid insurance policy, covering at least up to 30000 euros your expenses will also be required for the residency permit (in case you arrive without a residence permit/visa). A basic, local health insurance will be provided by the college here, in Budapest, (i.e. it is included in your tuition), allowing access to a reliable, English language health service offered by Semmelweis University, the medical university of Budapest. Let me emphasize here that it is "a parallel insurance", i.e. it does not replace your home insurance, especially, as it does not cover you outside of Budapest, during travel, arrival, neither evacuation to the US!

See the full terms of the local insurance here.

Learning disability and mental health counseling based on some inquiries and questions from you and experiences from the past semesters we would like to share information regarding learning disabilities special conditions and/or accommodations at BSM and our mental health counseling service.

  1. BSM does not have a local learning disabilities office or officer in charge and we do not judge your conditions. However, we can provide the same extra (usually testing) accommodations what you are entitled to at your home college, assuming you provide a reliable proof of those conditions (a signed letter brought from your learning disabilities office or advisor or an email sent by an appropriate officer from your school to me will usually do). Let me emphasize here the time constraint: the earlier we learn these conditions the better we can prepare for them.
  2. Mental Health Problem Counseling Services at BSM:
    We believe that a student.s mental health is just as important as his/her physical well-being. Adjusting to the demands of academic challenges and a new urban environment can be stressful, especially if you already have mental health problems. It is very important to let us know about any of these type of problems as soon as possible! Be aware that getting the service or medicine you are used to in the US might be difficult in Hungary.

    Talking with a professional counselor can help you find ways to manage academic pressures, personal problems, and cultural adjustments. The College provides a counselor, who will be available on campus three hours a week. He has experience in multiple countries working with college students of diverse backgrounds, and welcomes students who would like to discuss any of the issues mentioned above. All meetings and appointments are strictly confidential. For those seeking long-term counseling outside the campus setting, the College also retains the services of Ms. Em.ke Tapolyai, an experienced clinical and pastoral psychologist, who has provided numerous services for us for several years. Ms. Tapolyai customarily meets students at her private practice. Fees are determined after the initial meeting according to the student.s ability to pay. Again, all appointments are strictly confidential.

MISCELLANOUS Please note 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 (or during our Babilon course preliminary meeting). 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. 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. 2. In case you still want to bring them, 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, however, only sold for HUF (Hungarian forints).
  3. 3. 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!
  4. 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. Your apartments should have internet connection as well and calling via skype or other internet based connection should be the cheapest way.
  5. 5. Be warned that many of the smaller shops close relatively early (6 PM) and are often closed on Sundays. However, even in the downtown area there are big supermarkets and malls open late evening and/or the weekend (there might be changes during next year, all shops might close for Sunday).

INTERNET You all will have Internet access and may use your home e-mail address if you wish at the computer lab of College International, our umbrella institution. You can use your laptop all over the building via WiFi. However, if you wish to use a local e-mail address, let me know it and by your arrival a local e-mail account (firstinitialandlastname@mcdaniel.hu) will be set up. 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 (printed or copied) preloaded on the card 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 INFORMATION A printed version of this welcome letter with a Student Handbook will be distributed to you upon or a bit after your arrival, while the Academic program will be delivered to the Babilon course (those, who will arrive only by the beginning of the semester, will receive their Academic program upon the arrival as well.) In the Academic Program you will find information about the requirements, courses, and program of the semester.

However, the first version of the schedule of classes will be available on-line and distributed in print only a few days before the beginning of the academic semester.

ACADEMIC ISSUES 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 3 (or, due to the exceptionally large number of participants, even 4) 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 not 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 there is 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. 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 "NA" (non-attending) grade for the course.

See the list of planned courses here.
Let me emphasize that the list of the courses 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 canceled later. I'd like to ask you to pre-register (indicate the courses you may like to take) in an e-mail sent to szilard@renyi.hu at your earliest convenience, but not later than the 20th of January.

This semester we expect the now usual high number of students. For the beginner courses, in case of high interest, some of them, like introductory combinatorics, number theory, topology, etc., might be offered in two separate sessions. A relatively new course Statistical Methods will be offered this semester as well.

However, I would like to draw your attention to two brand new "ventures" of the program, Elective Undergraduate Research (more widely known in the US as Directed Undergraduate Research, DUR) course and courses based on the high reputation of Hungarian mathematics teaching and nurturing talented high school students, the courses "Discovery learning for gifted students" and "Classroom Observations in Mathematics" You may learn much more about this courses at the local BSM webpage (www.bsmath.hu under the Syllabi of the courses link) or having specific questions write to Prof. Ági Szilárd at szilard@renyi.hu. We would like to know your interest especially in these courses, so please specify them when you preregister
And an even newer course, just starting this semester, BSM first ever inquiry based course, this time on spectral theory. It will be fun, it will be hard, it will challenge you! More details at http://www.bsmath.hu/CURRENT/ISTsyllabus.html.

List of planned courses can already be found with details at http://www.bsmath.hu/CURRENT/schedule_of_classes.html#syllabi however, it will only be finalized by Janury 15th.

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
MPS Mathematical Problem Solving
NU1 Number Theory 1
PRO Probability Theory
SET Set Theory
TOP Introduction to Topology

Advanced math courses

AAL Advanced Algebra
CO2A Combinatorics of Finite Sets
CO2B Extremal Combinatorics
COP Combinatorial Optimization
DIG Differential Geometry
FUN Functional Analysis
GAL Galois Theory
GEO Topics in Geometry
GRT Graph Theory
MAP Mathematical Physics
NUT1 Topics in Analytic Number Theory OR NUT2 Additive Combinatorics
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:

D&B Dynamical Systems and Bifurcations
BIO Combinatorial and computational aspects of bioinformatics
LOG Mathematical Logic
MCG Modern Convex Geometry
STA Statistical Methods

Special math (related) courses (see above)

EUR Elective Undergraduate Research
IST Inquiry based spectral theory
DLG Discovery learning for gifted students
EMH Educating the Mathematically Gifted in Hungary OR
OBM Classroom Observations in Mathematics

Non math courses:

HL1 Beginner Hungarian Language
HL2 Intermediate Hungarian Language
HUC Hungarian Art and Culture
HIS Holocaust and Memory
FILM Film Analysis - Great Masters of European Films
OPH Old World and New World Political Philosophy

The syllabi of the above courses are already available and the Academic program will shortly be available at local WEB site www.bsmath.hu. Please note that from last semester on due to environmental consideration we have stopped distributing printed version of the syllabi and the academic program.

CALENDAR Please note that the opening of the program (orientation session) will take place at our Bethlen ter headquarter on the 1st of February at 3: 30 pm and the participation of each of you is absolutely essential. There will also be a welcome party on the afternoon of February 1th from 5p.m. You will meet most of the professors on the party.

The (brief) calendar of the semester is as follows:

Spring 2013 Opening Program

February 1 (Fr), 3:30 PM Orientation session, Room 102, Bethlen Gábor tér 2.
February 1 (Fr), 5:00 PM Welcome Party, Room 224 (may change), Bethlen Gábor tér 2.
February 4 (Mo), 10:00 AM   classes begin, 2nd floor, Bethlen Gábor tér 2.

Academic Calendar

First day of classes February 4 (Mo)
Feedback session February 21 (Th) 4 pm
Registration deadline February 21 (Th) 10 am
Last day of classes May 17 (Fr)
Final exams May 21-23 (Tu-Th)
Transcripts (drafts) handed out May 24 (Fr)
Official holidays (no classes): March 15 (Fr), April 1 (Mo), May 1 (We), May 20 (Mo)
Spring break March 23 (Sa) - April 1 (Mo)

Comment: be careful, this semester the first day of the final week, Whit Monday is a national holiday in Hungary, offices closed, so the finals will be offered from Tuesday to Thursday and the farewell party will be one day later than usual, on Friday.


Last, 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 I naturally would like to avoid in the future.

Looking forward to seeing you in Budapest

Dezső Miklós

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