Report from Budapest

Posted on March 10th, 2015 by

Eric Hanson, class of 2016, is spending the spring semester of 2015 in Budapest, Hungary in the Budapest Semester in Mathematics program. This is the first (of hopefully many) reports on his adventures abroad.

The Mathematicians’ Choir

budaHills Amidst another day full of math classes, math homework, and Hungarian food, one of my math professors invited me to join a choir of mathematicians run by ELTE, one of BSM’s partner schools. The idea seemed entertaining, and as someone accustomed to spending a large chunk of my free time in musical ensembles, I thought it might be fun to check it out. Upon arrival, it turned out to be exactly as advertised: a few mathematicians-in-training who wanted to take a break from their studies and sing a little bit.

The group definitely wasn’t large, consisting of six to eight Hungarian graduate students and four of us from BSM who had come to check it out. The rehearsal was run (mostly) in English for the benefit of the newcomers, although the music we rehearsed was all in Hungarian. The group is preparing for participation in a mathematicians concert being held in April. Meeting some Hungarian math students and making music with them was fun, but the exciting part came after rehearsal.

After two hours of singing, we were invited to go with them to a Hungarian folk-dancing club. Despite it being Thursday night and all of us having class at 8AM the next day, we decided it would be fun to check it out. After stopping for some gyros, we followed them to a bar in downtown Pest. Inside, a band was singing and playing some very exciting and joyful music, and about forty people were dancing. Immediately, we were thrown into the action. Although we had been promised that there would be some teaching going on, watching other peoples’ feet ended up being our chief form of instruction. Most of the dances involved a few pairs dancing in the middle while everybody else held hands and danced around them in a circle. During my favorite dance, everyone stood in two lines facing each other and repeatedly charged towards each other, screaming what sounded like battle cries.

After dancing until around midnight, we decided it would be best to call it a night, even though our new Hungarian friends thought we should stay out for a while longer. It was an incredibly fun, and incredibly unpredictable experience.



One Comment

  1. Stacie says:

    What a great update – so glad you are enjoying the program!