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 (, Agnes Szilard, associate director ( and Anna Foti, director of student services (
  • You can use our emails — Dezso Miklos, director (, Agnes Szilard, associate director ( and Anna Foti, director of student services ( — any time. Emails are answered promptly to within 48th hours, depending on urgency. If you do not get a reply within 48 hours, do not hesitate to repeat your question.
  • In addition, we have a 24/7 BSM emergency phone number: 0036206285562 (or +36206285562) which is answered by Anna or Orsolya.

    During the Babilon language course, although Babilon is independent from BSM and the pre-semester Hungarian language course is optional, Anna will already be available to assist your needs.

  • 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, that is Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education, is an independent program, we work closely with them.)

If there are any changes or unforeseen events before or during your travel to Hungary, let us know ASAP using these numbers and/or by sending an email to,,

You may or may not have to have a visa in order to enter Hungary. This depends on your citizenship.
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

US, Canadian and other "visa-waiver citizens", if you come to Hungary without a visa, and without a return ticket or with the return part of your ticket more than 90 days away, airline personnel may raise an issue of you having no visa.

In that case this letter may help. It explains (what you already know) referring to relevant legal paragraphs that if you are the citizen of an eligible country (such as the US) you have the right to enter Hungary without a visa and apply for a residency permit there.

This is a copy of the letter that was sent to you in you acceptance packet, and it is included here just in case you misplaced it. Print it and take it with you!

However, if you have not yet done so, read this info page for information on travelling to Hungary to study at BSM, without a visa

Make sure you let us know all your arrival data on time!

In 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:, and 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 also call our 24/7 emergency number at 0036206285562 (or +36206285562).

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.

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.

You will also meet BSM staff for a pre-semester practical orientation. Its time will be announced later. The pre-semester practical orientation is offered two different times: once for those who are taking the Babilon language course, at the beginning of the course and second time, right before the semester, for for those of you who arrive later.
Look for emails and Facebook posts for the exact times and locations.

Just prior to the semester we also hold an academic orientation and a Welcome Party. This is when you can meet most of your professors and all classmates for the first time. Both events take place at BSM headquarters (address: 1071, Budapest, Bethlen Gabor ter 2).

The exact times and locations are/will be posted here, as well as in the google calendar at

Look for emails and Facebook posts for the exact times and locations too.

Those of you who plan on taking the Hungarian language course at Babilon: be prepared for the challenges of the first couple of days because the course at Babilon school is indeed intensive!
See general info on the course here.

If you have any questions about the language course, email to

Note that during the course you will go with Anna in small groups to the immigration office to pick up your residence permits if you have had it pre-approved. Otherwise you will apply for the residency permit. Anna and Orsi will help you with all paperwork!

All BSM 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 arranging 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 go in small groups during the semester.

Remember, by law 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/residency permit at a Hungarian consulate.)

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 in an apartment not exactly matching your request.

You will 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. If you had to find an apartment on your own, you most probably 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 provide housing for you by connecting BSM students with a select group of apartments and landlords in Budapest.

The Budapest office maintains a list of furnished and fully equipped apartments — including linen and towels &mdash, 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. Note that our prices are totally competitive, in fact, mostly cheaper that e.g. Airbnb prices.

Thus, 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:

  • Normally 2 or 3 students share a flat, but everybody gets his/her independent room for this price.
  • We are trying to, but cannot fulfill all wishes!
  • Those who request it will be housed at a family, if possible. However, we have limited amount of families, so not everybody gets to stay with one. You may get an apartmant instead.
  • Public transportation is really good in Budapes. Almost all apartments are within 30 minutes of BSM. However, not all the apartments are close (eg walking distance) 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 living far away from the center.
  • 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 standards that 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) 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.

Having an appropriate health insure policy during your stay in Europe is extremly important. 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 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. The card 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.

We suggest those who have not done so join our Facebook group for the semester - you can get the link from Anna ( or Agnes (

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.

Here is advice from our students of previous semesters regarding finances:

  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. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
You 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 ( 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).

Let us draw your attention to the American Citizen Services of the Budapest Embassy of the United States. Please, visit their WEB site , it contains useful information for American citizens in Budapest. Pay particular attention to the Tourist advisory section . Previous semesters a couple of times we had BSM students scammed in Vaci utca, which we naturally would like to avoid in the future.