Sunday, July 1, 2012

Conclusion and Thank You's:

The Magnificent Seven did such a great job with their posts, that since the initial 'Hello' there was no need for me to blog much. 
They really said it all: whether it was about the social entrepreneurs who volunteered their time to come and talk to our group, or the memorable sites we visited in and around Budapest, or the cultural, culinary, and linguistic ventures they undertook in the past five weeks - you can find it all in the notes they've written, and beautiful pics they posted throughout the program. 

Reading these stories I hope that you agree we had a successful and fun summer. They took advantage of all the opportunities the program and this country provided. It might have been a bit overwhelming from time to time (which tram goes where at what time?), but that did not slow them down, and they embraced the best (meeting new people, working with talented leaders, trying local stuff: food, thermal baths, the nightlife), and did not complain about the challenges (the heat, the rain, the early mornings, the side effects of delicious, but heavy meals) - just like one would expect from a group of true Ramblin' Wrecks.

In the 7 weeks of the program we visited 12 social enterprises, heard from 19 social entrepreneurs , and together our students contributed more than 220 hours to their internships. They worked on projects and tasks that helped our partners (United Way Hungary, Courage Camps, CEEweb, Center for Independent Journalism, XKK Media, and HAND)  better serve their mission, and in the process they learned about the challenges and opportunities the social sector is facing, and the importance of sustainability, creativity, ethics, and leadership in delivering innovative solutions to the world's most pressing social issues.

So all that is left is to thank the wonderful people and organizations (mentioned throughout our blog pages) for being part of our journey - in Atlanta and in Hungary. My colleague, Bob Thomas and I are deeply grateful for their invaluable support and contributions to our students' understanding of the global challenges that require their leadership and for providing an inspiring example for them to follow.
We are looking forward to continuing the relationship and this journey next summer.


At the old Roma cave houses that were transformed into artists' workshop

High fiving Harley drivers near Lake Balaton

In front of the Royal Palace in Godollo

The Monastery of Tihany
Yours truly: Dori and Bob

Friday, June 29, 2012

HAND Internship

Hey guys! This is Roshni again. Here's a little about the organization I worked with in Hungary.

My internship with HAND started late June 2012.
HAND is officially known as Hungarian Association of NGOs for development and Humanitarian Aid

It helps organizations in the nonprofit sector by providing management services such as training, research visits and and contacting donors. It also acts as a mediator for easier flow of information between the NGOs and the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During this time, I met a lot of awesome people. Timea Gideon, my manager helped me understand how the organization operates and what it's main functions were. I also met the President of HAND, Mr. Laszlo who was very passionate about the organization and it's work.

On the second week after meeting Timea, I got to work on my first assignment, their Newsletter. It was fun compiling and summarizing news about various policies and government regulations in Hungary related to nonprofit organizations.

It was also challenging at times since I didn't understand Hungarian. Some websites I had to research on were completely in Hungarian, so Google translator was of great help. I was happy to work with Kati who was also interning with HAND..... even though it was only through emails :) She fixed the Hungarian part of the newsletter and I sent her all my work in English. She also worked around my overwhelming travel schedule, I would like to say thank you Kati!

With the little time I was involved with HAND and my stay in Budapest, I'm very pleased to have learned about the Hungarian history and culture and most importantly it's people . This experience has taught me a lot and given me several valuable lessons.  

If you wish to learn more about the organization, please visit

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Internship at CEEweb, Hungary

Hey there! It's me Tanay here again!
So let me tell you guys about my internship. Over the summer in Budapest I worked with CEEweb (Central and Eastern European Working Group for the Enhancement of Biodiversity). I think I was assigned CEEweb due to my interests in environmental conservation, and due to some of my past experiences in this field. It was a great experience working with CEEweb.
Some of the main things that I worked on included- Reading articles on and learning about green infrastructure, environmental policies in the EU, landscape fragmentation and land use in Europe.
Then I got involved with the Green-Go fest- and annual festival organized by CEEweb for promotion of biodiversity conservation. I created posters for a short film contest (within the Green-Go Fest) in English and also in Hungarian. I created and proposed a new project management chart to CEEweb. The chart would help them solve managerial issues related to long term projects. It would help the organization track the progress of each task related to every project. Based on what we learned in class and from other speakers, I even presented some marketing tips to CEEweb.
While working there was also a lot to learn from my internship. I learned about how working in Europe differs from working in the United States- especially when you communicate with people who speak another language. I also learned a lot about the environmental policies in Europe and about how NGOs are making efforts to reduce the carbon footprint. I thoroughly enjoyed working at CEEweb and only wished that I could work with them for a longer period.

The last month has been extremely enjoyable and productive at the same time. Being called the "official photographer" of the program was a great honor. Every day was just amazing. I am glad I spent a month in Budapest, and I am sure I would definitely return to this city at some point in the future.

 The poster that I made for the Green-Go Short Film Contest (English version)

Internship Report:Bátor Tábor

Hi! LaCourtney's here!

Bátor Tábor, translated as Camp of Courage or Courage Camp, is a non-profit organization based in Hungary whose mission is to help ill children to become happy and healthy again. 

I was granted the opportunity to work with this organization at it's headquarters located in Budapest. During my four weeks here, I was assigned the follwing tasks:

  • Data Entry
  • Revision of English Annual Report
  • U.S funding Resources Research
  • General Administrative Duties

Working with Bátor Tábor was definitely a wonderful experience. Over the course of this program, one concept that I have constantly been reminded of is the importance of strategy. The interesting thing is, I got the opportunity to witness how this organization's multiple operations come together to execute their strategy. I personally got to experience the difficulties these organizations face when researching financial resources.I admire the hard work and dedication that these organizations have to support their social causes.

I believe that Bátor Tábor possesses a high experienced and motivated staff. This is one organization where the mission is truly the motivation factor. I have no doubt that this organization will continue to thrive in the future. Unfortunately, I was not able to spend more time working with this organization. I think it would have been interesting to stick around until the end of a session.

Interning with an NGO while simultaneously studying the Hungarian social sector has been an invaluable experience. The amount of knowledge you gain from this program outweighs any knowledge you gain in a traditional classroom or workplace.

Thank you all for the support, and it was my pleasure to share this experience with you all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Internship Report - XKK

XKK is an organization that works in several different areas. As a relatively young organization, its more specific goals are still being refined, but overall XKK works towards fair media representation, education advocacy, and Roma integration. 

Hungarian Countryside
Working for XKK - as I'm sure was the case for all the program's students - was a unique experience because I got the chance to learn about Hungary through problem solving and interaction, rather than through secondary sources. Figuring out what practices could and should be applied in Hungarian society has been an ongoing lesson, but certainly an informative one! My contact at XKK was very helpful in teaching me which solutions could work and which were not relevant here, as well as helping me gain a deeper understanding of the problems they are trying to address. 

My tasks started out as one list and over the course of the program, morphed into something completely different. In the end, my responsibilities were primarily to come up with ideas for an anti-prejudice campaign, to research successful parent network models, to create a database of NGOs with relevant causes or potential funding interest, and to identify what factors make an anti-prejudice effort successful. 

Interning in Hungary was a very valuable experience and I highly recommend it to anyone considering the program! It has been an excellent, hands-on way to learn about the region's culture, politics, NGO sector, and business environment.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Internship Report: United Way Hungary

Szia, this is Nicole!

Hi this is Kayla! Over the past few weeks we’ve been working together on developing a new website for UWH.

I came to work for UW this summer because I spent last summer working for them in Atlanta, I was interested to see how a different UW operated under the same mission statement in a different country.

I came to work with UW because of my interest in childrens development and my desire to better their outlook on the future.

Our assignment was to re-vamp the UWH website.

Thankfully they already had most things translated into English! So we started by making a new template.

We worked closely with Tamàs Füzesy and Adrienn Koscsò, they were very friendly and extremely open to our suggestions.

My favorite part was selecting the pictures to be displayed in the gallery. It was fascinating to see all the pictures of their previous events because it gave me a good understanding of the organization as a whole.

Working with UWH taught me a lot about the social sector…

I really got to see the challenges they face.

Yes, the culture here is very different from that in Atlanta. There isn’t the same culture of giving which makes it hard for them to fundraise. I think my biggest learnings have been cultural, society here is very different.

One unexpected thing I learned was that working with a partner actually makes learning about the public sector more interesting and made the time at my internship more fun.

Definitely, working with a partner is a totally different dynamic but we had a lot of fun!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our Final Week!

Hello everyone,
My name is Roshni Sharma. Like most students in the Budapest Study Abroad Program, I'm also a Management major concentrating in Human Resources. I love to see new places, get to know different people and capture moments in my pictures. This passion of mine brought me to join this program foremost. Apart from that, my interest in Social Entrepreneurship grew as a soon-to-graduate student hoping to step foot in the business world and make changes for the causes that I believe in. I'm really glad I got on board with the rest of the crew in this program because of the encouragement it has given me and the optimism I have discovered while on this journey.

It seems like just yesterday we arrived at Carolina ut 10, Budapest (our apartment). I remember the excitement when we first crossed the bridge and saw the most breathtaking view of the city parted by the Danube. Four weeks down the road now, I can't believe the programs ends this week and we are all wrapping things to take home or to travel more :) With this amazing experience and a whole lot of incredible memories to take further, I would like to share some of highlights of the end week in Budapest and my personal experiences.

Site Visits

The House of the Parliament – June 20, 2012
At 8:30 AM we all hurried our way to the main door of our apartment to catch the tram to the Parliament house. For days we'd been traveling all around Budapest catching a glimpse of this magnificent work of art. It is one of the most outstanding landmark I have ever seen, sort of like the ones in Disney movies.

The House of Parliament at night
Statues of Hungarian monarchs and military commanders cover the outer walls of the building. The unique interior design includes huge halls, miles of corridors, a high central dome, and numerous rooms mostly decorated in red and gold. We first made our way to the main conference hall where our guest speaker Katalin Ertsey gave us a brief introduction of her work and association with the Hungarian government. She is a member of the parliament and talked about her affiliation with the Green party and the current political situation in the country which was very interesting. The most exciting part was that we were seated in the conference room with microphones in front of us as if we were government officials....very cool!  
You can see a picture of us here ----------------->

Inside the Parliament House

The Holy Crown of Hungary

We also saw the Hungarian crown (aka Holy Crown of Hungary) that was placed in the center of the dome guarded by two soldiers. During World War II it was transferred to the United States to keep it protected and later returned to Hungary by president Jimmy Carter in 1978.

Guest Speaker – Bala Mulloth – June 21, 2012

This day we had the opportunity to sit in Mr. Mulloth's class. I must say for all the learning we did about Social Enterprise in the 3 weeks time and with so much information in our heads, thanks to him, he summed it all up into a 20 minute presentation like a step by step tutorial. 

Mr. Mulloth is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship and innovation management at Central European University (CEU) Business School and is significantly involved in the field of social entrepreneurship. His insights on the changing role of leadership and entrepreneurship was particularly interesting to me. One of the examples of a leader he talked about during the presentation was his former student from NYU who is a leading figure behind the fund raising activity of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. He's not the typical financial planner you'd have in mind. He's a tattoo artist by profession. His passion for social reformation and change brought him to the Occupy movement. I think this says something - As society is changing, so are the definitions of entrepreneurs.
Here are some good reads Bala recommended for all of you interested in business and Entrepreneurship:
"Creative Destruction" by Joseph Schumpeter
Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century” by Timmons & Spinelli

Bátor Tábor Hungary– A Hole in the Wall Campaign : June 25, 2012

Also known as camp with courage, Bátor Tábor aims to create a healthier and happier lifestyle for children with illness. It provides therapeutic recreation programs for children with cancer, diabetes, JRA or haemophilia and for their families.

Attila Molnár, the CEO of Bátor Tábor gave us an insight on the programs initial plans and how it came into existence. It was actually inspired by the actor Paul Newman who started this campaign for kids in the United States. The Bátor Tábor Foundation has been a member of Paul Newman's Association of Hole in the Wall Camps since 2007.

Attila showed us a video of some of the kids in the campaign who have been fighting against their illness for a long time. It is amazing to see the positivity in those kids and the fact that they do not let their limitations come in the way of their everyday lives. One of the kids said that their disability was a reality they needed to accept; something they cannot change but what they can do is focus on things they could do. This was a very inspirational and an equally emotional presentation. I liked the optimism Mr. Molnár had for his campaign. With his past experience in the corporate world and a passion to help children through Social Entrepreneurship, he seems to have a great balance of the two sectors.

The program's operational process and decision making is identical to a for profit organization except the difference is Bátor Tábor isn't looking for financial profit for its share holders. It has various fund raising mechanisms such as organizing charity events, donations from corporations and individuals, international partners, and pro bono activities. It has proved to be a successful program with sufficient funds for its ongoing activities. Last year made it to the list of top ten organizations in Hungary that get donations from the 1% tax deduction.

Here's a video if you want to learn more about Bator Tabor:

Budapest Study Abroad has been a great learning experience. I cannot believe it is the last week of our program. I have met some of the most inspirational people during this trip and their words will resonate with me. To make it even more memorable, our group of 7 students is by far the most diverse creatures I have come across and that definitely added more fun to our after class adventures. Other than that, I’ve gotten to see a lot of Europe, however there is so much more to see and I consider it as a motivation to come back soon! Also, to anyone wondering about the potential for European exploration while you’re studying abroad, I would like to tell you that it is quite simple and well worth it.

View from the boat ride
Here are some of my recommendations if you're visiting Budapest:
Five things you need to experience in Budapest
The boat ride on Danube – a must – Budapest at night is spectacular, the lights add to its beauty
The Opera House – You'll have to try this – our pick was TOSCA
Libyrinth – visit the wine cellars
Szimpla Kert – voted as one of the world's best bars
Szechenyi baths – get into the warm thermal water baths surrounded by picturesque monuments and surrounding

Five things you need to taste
Cold fruit soup – awesome in the summer!
Langos – choose from the many toppings they have
Brachoi – This sauce is addictive!
Palinka – It's amazing and doesn't give you a hangover...they say!
Dr. Gelato – Try their colorful ice-creams

There are many more things to do and visit in Budapest. Check out the other blogs my friends have posted here, they have lots of information and fun facts about all the places we visited.

Finally a quick shout out to The Georgia Tech Faculty who were very caring and supportive throughout the whole program. All the day to day programs they organized such as the educational trips and meetings with guest speakers from different NGOs and social enterprises were incredibly helpful. They have immensely contributed to our learning and growth... hopefully as new innovators :)


Quick advice : For those of you who decide to be a part of the Budapest Study Abroad Program next year (which you should) the most important thing is – to buy a pair of comfortable walking me, it is very important!
And get an umbrella, you cannot trust Budapest weather forecast!

This blog is filled with beautiful pictures of our trip. I wanted to add some of the behind the scene pictures that were funny and memorable.

Outside St. Stephen's Basilica
Best way to travel within cities, HOP ON HOP OFF!

Happy Lunch..Yumm
Musical talents everywhere
Me at the Opera

Traveling outside host country

Bus ride to Eger

Look at them faces