Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Godollo and Balaton


My name is Kayla Stokes. I am a senior business administration student graduating next summer. I chose to attend to this study abroad program because I felt it would be an amazing and life altering experience. This is my first time traveling outside of the United States. Luckily, my new found friends have made this transition easy. Since arriving in Budapest, there has been so many opportunities allotted to me.  I have always been interested in one day opening my own nonprofit and this program is allowing to me see the operational component of what it actually takes to have a successful organization.

On Saturday, we made the hour and half  drive to Lake Balaton for a relaxing day in the sun. It is often called the "Hungarian Sea".  The average water temperature during the summer is 25°C. The water that day, unfortunately, was rather cold. Therefore, not many of us chose to go for a swim. The beach was not the typical beach I expected to see, the shore was actually rocky. Though we did not spend the entire day by the water, entertainment was everywhere. Luckily for us, that day, hundreds of bikers paraded through the streets, high fiving us as they drove by.

Sunday, we finally had a full day of personal rest and relaxation. So I decided to explore the city alone and attempt to finish souvenir shopping. After hours of diligently walking Váci utca, I stumbled across a cool looking coffee shop and decided to stop in for a frappe. It was delicious.

Monday, the group had a very busy day. We traveled Gödöllő to tour a palace as well as 
visit two very different organizations. The Sissi Castle is the second largest castle in Hungary. For years it was home beautiful Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth. 
After 1945, the Soviet Army took control of the  building, but did not properly take care of it.  Fortunately, the castle has been recently restored and renovated.  

Next, we visited the Regina Foundation. This organization was established in 2005 with the hopes of empowering women returning to the workforce after maternity leave. It attempts to provide women with sustainable employment alternatives while assisting in the development of their personal lives. I learned that it is extremely difficult for women in Hungary to find employment before and after having a child. There are no laws at time to prevent this type of discrimination from happening neither. This agency is advocating for women rights in the labor market.

Finally. we meet Matthew Haynes at the Open Garden to discuss living a natural life. Open Garden is a non-governmental organization dedicated to discovering a  practical solution to organically producing food. Organic farming is essential to maintain and improve soil fertility and biodiversity conservation. The farm uses crop rotation, fertilization and green manure to create longevity for the soil. Ninety percent of what is grown on the land is intended for sale.

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