On the Road

May 26, 2008

By hammersmith

Each summer the Flinn Scholars Program takes an entire class of Scholars to Budapest, Hungary, and neighboring Romania for a three-week seminar on the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe. Here’s a day-by-day account.

Liz Dreeland and Justin Kiggins

Liz Dreeland (’01):

Justin and I have just finished a long day of prep work with Agi and Klaudia. We went over our duties and the itinerary and set up the room for the next few days. Most importantly, we bought the snacks and coffee!

Budapest has changed a lot since I was first here on my Flinn trip in 2002, and even since I lived here in 2005. My impression right now is that the shiny things are shinier–there are a lot of new high-end stores, beautifully renovated buildings, and fancy hotels, and the downtown gets more impressive all the time.

But at the same time, there seems to be more poverty. I’ve definitely seen a lot more homeless people than there used to be, the night scene seems a little sketchier, and the run-down parts of the city are at least as run down as they used to be. Prices are way, way up, which is a problem for us but a major problem for the Hungarians.

But I’ve been here all week and I’m just as in love with Budapest as I have always been, and thrilled to get to share it with another generation of Flinns. I’m really excited about the next few weeks. We’ve got a lot of cool activities planned, and this is always such an amazing trip.

The students arrive in a few hours, when we’ll feed them, brief them, and send them to bed in preparation for a long day tomorrow. I hope they’re as excited as we are and ready to learn a staggering amount about Hungary and Central Eastern Europe. They’ll also learn a lot about themselves, their own culture, and where they come from — I think the part I’m most excited about is watching their journey of self-discovery on this amazing trip!

Photo by Sam Wang (’07)