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

No comments:

Post a Comment