English students soak up the culture in Budapest
On Solent’s English degrees, learning doesn't just take place in the lecture theatre. Sometimes it takes place in Venice … or Paris … or Marrakesh … or Istanbul ...
And the adventure continued this year for staff and students from the English programme. Next stop on the annual 'Alternative Grand Tour' this summer was Literary Budapest. Students stayed in the fabulous Maverick Lodge Hostel in the Jewish Ghetto area of this stunning city, just steps away from the beautiful Dohány Street Synagogue and the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
From a trip down the beautiful blue Danube on a riverboat, complete with traditional Hungarian orchestra, to a visit to the historic Gellért Baths (rather like swimming in a cathedral), staff and students soaked up the myriad cultural experiences this fantastic city has to offer.
The students also explored Hungarian national folk and literary traditions at the Ethnographic Museum, and participated in a bilingual poetry reading in Hungarian of By The Danube, a work by Attila Jozsef, one of Hungary’s national poets, on the steps of the Danube. To further their knowledge of the social and political history of Hungary, the students visited the House of Terror, where they learned more about the dual occupation of Hungary (by the Nazis and the Soviets) and how the tough Hungarian spirit triumphed. This was followed by venturing deep underground to the Hospital in the Rock Museum, where during 1944 and 1945 casualties of the Siege of Budapest, both civilians and soldiers, were treated side by side.
Finally the the local second-hand clothing boutiques were scoured for something special to wear for a grand evening out. This was the highlight of the trip: a night at the Hungarian State Opera House to see a folkloric version of the ballet Swan Lake. For many of our students, this was their first experience of ballet, and for some, it proved life-changing.
Previous adventures have been to Venice, Paris, Istanbul and Marrakesh. In Spring 2018 students will have the opportunity to explore Literary Granada in Andalucia. Here, they'll increase understanding of the cultural heritage of writers such as Frederico Garcia Lorca, and visit the amazing Alhambra palace and follow the Washington Irving trail. They'll also get to experience tapas Andalucian-style and the Flamenco tradition. Olé!