Spending free time in Debrecen

This blog post is part of a series of several posts aiming to give advice to those who are planning on studying abroad at Debrecen University in the near future. You can find an overview of all pots here.

Debrecen offers numerous opportunities to spend your spare time. Many pubs, bars, cafés, restaurants and leisure facilities only wait for you to explore them. Make sure to check them out. After 100 days spent in Debrecen, those are my personal favorites:

Debrecen activities for free time fun

Having fun with ESN Debrecen

This blog post is part of a series of several posts aiming to give advice to those who are planning on studying abroad at Debrecen University in the near future. You can find an overview of all pots here.

ESN Debrecen is doing a great job to make international students feel welcomed and at home, to keep them busy, to give them chances to interact with their fellow students, and last but not least to make countless new friends and memories. That is why you should not miss to become part of that great community and to join its activities.

  • Like ESN Debrecen on Facebook.
  • Become member of the numerous Facebook group for current international students studying in Debrecen.
  • Check your E-Mails regularly.
  • Get in touch with your buddy. Every international student is matched with one ore more Hungarian students about a month or two prior to his/ her arrival to Debrecen. They will help him/ her to find his/her way around, to settle, sign up for classes and show them the best bars and cafés.
  • Get an ESN-Card an receive discounts in many shops/ bars.
  • Buy a Hungarian SIM Card from the ESN members to keep in touch with your new friends.
  • Last but not least:

Join the ESN Activities

Living in a dormitory at Debrecen University

This blog post is part of a series of several posts aiming to give advice to those who are planning on studying abroad at Debrecen University in the near future. You can find an overview of all pots here.

If you applied for or already got accepted to study in Debrecen, you might wonder how you will be accommodated in case you chose to stay I a dorm. Several dormitories are available to live in. You will most likely be admitted to the dormitory that is the closest to the campus you will be studying on. You can find out which one that will be here. As you can read on the university’s website, the dorms and rooms differ a bit from each other. To give you an impression about it, whatsoever, I will now give you some information about the Kossuth Lajos Dormitory on the university’s main campus.

Each room is equipped with

  • 1 Bed + bed sheets + bedspread p.P.
  • 1 or 2 Drawers beneath the bed
  • 1 Cupboard p.P.
  • 1 Desk and book shelve p.P.
  • 1 Long shelve p.P.
  • 1 Desk light p.P.
  • 1 Internet cable p.P.
  • 1 Big hanger to dry clothes on

The shared kitchens on each floor  are equipped with:

  • Water boiler
  • 2 ovens with cooking plates
  • 1 sandwich maker
  • 2 microwaves

The kitchens are getting cleaned once a day.

Things to bring/buy living in a shared dorm at Debrecen University

  • Cleaning Wipes (my room was quite dusty when I arrived)
  • Plate
  • Fork, knife, spoons
  • Cup
  • Mug (if you bring your own mug you pay 10% less for every hot drink in many coffee shops)
  • Cooking pot
  • Cooking pan
  • Kitchen towels
  • Other kitchen supplies you need (can opener, trowel, spatula, …)
  • Ear plugs (you can hear gatherings in rooms nearby and outside quite well)*
  • Eye mask (rooms don’t always have curtains)*
  • Comfy shoes to wear at the dormitory
  • Washing detergent, anti-discoloring-wipes (since you can only wash twice a month you will most likely wash “a colorful machine”)
  • Basic cleaning utensils (bucket, mob, cleaning soap,…)

*I never needed those, though. I found loudness and brightness to be bearable.

Further useful information

  • The bed sheets are changed and the bathroom is being cleaned every other week.
  • Washing machines are located in most of the dormitories’ basements and can be used for free twice a month. They work fully automatically, that means you don’t need to add washing detergent.
  • In addition to your room key, you get an electronic check card you always need to check in and out at the dormitory.
  • Each person can bring up to three persons to his/her room. They need to register at the reception and leave their ID as a refund.
  • If visitors do not leave before midnight, they need to pay 1000 Ft (3,30 €).
  • That means if you wish to have friends stay overnight, it costs 1000 Ft. per Person.
  • You can buy many things you might need during your stay in Debrecen second hand on Facebook pages like Sales between Students.
  • You can buy nearly everything one could think of in order supply a household (kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, groceries) quite cheap at the Goods Market or One Euro Market (Csapó Utca 6/ left hand side between Kossuth tér and Forum)

Finding your way around in Debrecen 

This blog post is part of a series of several posts aiming to give advice to those who are planning on studying abroad at Debrecen University in the near future. You can find an overview of all pots here.

Walking Debrecen with a friend

It’s always a pleasure to go for a walk with a friend.

Walking is a good way to get to know the city, have a look at nice buildings and also gives you a daily workout. The walk from the main building and its surrounding area (Faculty of arts, humanities, living sciences, Kossuth dormitory) to the city center takes about 30 minutes. Walking to the Campus Hotel and the nearby swimming pool takes about 15 minutes.

If you don’t feel like walking, you can take the tram. There are two lines. Number 1 (blue) takes you from Egyetem (University) to the city center (Kossuth tér) and back. A single ride costs 400 Ft (1,30 €) per person. A ticket for an entire month costs 3.300 Ft (11 €) for students with a valid international or Debrecen student identity card. It is valid the first of a month until the 5th of the next month and can be bought at the ground floor of the university’s main building.

You want to explore more of Debrecen? Check out some free time activities to conduct in Debrecen. This post will be online from May 20th on.

Arrive and go easy on your nerves in Debrecen

… and save some money I didn’t

This blog post is part of a series of several posts aiming to give advice to those who are planning on studying abroad (at Debrecen University) in the near future. An overview of all the posts can be found here

The mistakes you make a what you learn from, right? Let me just save you some trouble and share the mistakes I made during my first few days in Hungary and Debrecen. You’re welcome! And: have fun adding your own mishaps to this list.

Arrival: chose your means of transport wisely

This first one actually wasn’t a mishap but some good advice my friend Christina who studies in Debrecen before I did gave me.

Tram at Kossuth tér in Debrecen, Hungary

Tram at Kossuth tér in Debrecen, Hungary

Depending on where your’re starting your journey from, you can take a bus, train or plane to Budapest or Debrecen. Depending on where and when you arrive, you have to know about certain circumstances:

Budapest airport is not anywhere near the city center or near a train station taking you to Debrecen. You first need to catch an airport shuttle to get to Nyugati train station. From there, you can fetch a direct train to Debrecen’s main station (Vasútállomás) and fetch a tram or bus to wherever you are going to live or meet your buddy. If you make use of the student discount of 50 percent off train tickets, all rides together should cost you no more than 4 000 Ft (13 €). Alternatively, you can pre-order a cab. Leo’s cab, for example, will pick you up right at the airport and drop you in front of your new home for 10 000 Ft (33 €). Just send a Whatsapp or SMS to 0036303722439 to pre-order. If you arrive at Debrecen airport, you can take a bus 400 Ft (1,30 €) or a cab for usually not more than 3 000 Ft (10 €) to get home.

Money exchange: the airport exchange rates suck

This is the mishap I’m the angriest at myself about. One of the employees of a bank in Germany had told me not to exchange money before due to the bad exchange rate but simply exchange it at a much better rate at the airport. That’s why I exchanges my entire budget for the first month at the airport. DON’T EVER DO THAT! It cost me about 100 Euro worth of foreign exchange loss.

Why didn’t she check for the exchange rate? You might wonder. Uhm… I was confused and too excited about the whole situation to know the difference between the exchange rates for selling and buying currencies. I read it the wrong way round, got super excited about the REALLY good exchange rate (not!) and gave the friendly lady all of my money. Only after I noticed she looked at me funny I rethought the situation. Unfortunately, it was already too late to get back my Euros at that point. Shit happens, I guess. Plus: I’m pretty sure I will never ever read an exchange rate table the wrong way round again.

My advice: bring a certain amount of Forint (10 or 15 000 Ft) with you from your home country. That money should be enough to take you to your apartment and to get some snacks for the first day. Afterwards, you can simply use any ATM in Debrecen to get Forints at a reasonable exchange rate or use the exchange booth in one of the banks. If you arrive in Debrecen, you will have to bring Forints anyways since there is not exchange booth at Debrecen airport.

University: Get to love Hungary

Hungarian is considered to be one of the hardest languages in the world to learn. (I’m not sure about that one, though – how would you compare Hungarian and Chinese or Russian or …?). You should whatsoever not be undeterred by that notion. Just give it a try.

Hungarian Language Course in Debrecen Hungary

Learning Hungarian actually IS fun.

The university offers a great language course for foreign exchange students. You will learn the basics of Hungarian grammar and be able to have short conversations with your Hungarian friends, the dormitory receptionists or the cashiers in only 10 weeks (two sessions of 90 minutes each/ week). The course is a lot of fun for the language is taught to you rather playfully.

Debrecen University also offers two classes on Hungarian culture: “Introduction to Hungarian Culture” and “Hungarian Culture through Film”. In those courses, you will learn more about the country’s history, culture and famous people. Not only does it give you a great understanding of that place you currently call your home but also will you gain some random knowledge to show off with at a later point in your life.

The Hungarian language course is worth 4 ECTS. “Introduction to Hungarian Culture” and “Hungarian Culture through Film” are worth 3 ECT each.

University: know your Neptun code

Many universities have online administration systems nowadays. Debrecen University works with a system called Neptun. It works with a personal account you log in to with a combination of letters and numbers. Learn it by heart!

Literally everything connected with your studies at Debrecen University needs to be settled by stating your number. You pay your dormitory fee by transferring the money to your Neptun account. You get your student ID only after stating your Neptun code. You can search and sign up for classes only via Neptun. You learn about any important news regarding your studies via Neptun mail. Shall I go on? As harsh as it may sound: you’re pretty much unable to be a proper student without your Neptun Code. Just take a note with your phone or learn the code by heart – it is going to save you a lot of extra running around offices I did because I thought I would never need my Neptun Code for that.

Food: bring your own box

Honey Ribs: Hungarian food in Debrecen, Hungary

This was a  way too big potion of honey ribs.

It’s not really a mishap either but rather some advice to save you money and some resources right away. The size of an average dish in most restaurants in Debrecen (and Hungary in general) tends to be way too big for my rather small appetite. 

The good news: many locals can’t finish them either. That’s why it’s quite popular to take the leftovers home. You can buy onetime use plastic boxes in most cafeterias and restaurants. What I like about: not only is the food not be thrown away but also are people encouraged to bring their reusable containers in order to save resources and money. Happily, many do so.

If you don’t want to take home your leftovers, you often also have the chance to order half-portions right away. They usually cost 70 percent of the regular price.


Let me know how you liked this post. Which advice did you like best? What were your funniest or unpleasant first-time-in-a-new-place-mistakes? Let me know in the comments section below.

Loving Debrecen in eight easy steps

Studying abroad in a foreign country can be quite overwhelming at times: a different currency, a foreign language, a new surrounding and what seems like way too many information to keep track of during the first few days. This short guide aims at helping you to make it through the first few days safe and sound and without too much confusion. If you need some quick advice, you can come back to this page and look up the information needed. 

The list below states the topics of posts that will be postet until the end of May. I will update the links as the posts are uploaded. If you don’t want to miss any updates, follow me on facebook! 

However, I’m sure you won’t need it for too long. In little but no time, you will have made many friends, hooked up with your buddy and found your personal favorite spots and things to do in Debrecen.


15-03-20_ungarn_szeged_iiris24_resizedAfter having spent a total of exactly 100 days in Debrecen, I have learned to love this city. Not only did I manage to find my way around and to make out the nicest spots for whichever activity but also have I become part of a great (exchange) student community, learned a lot on numerous levels and most of all about myself. To conclude this series of posts on my experiences in Debrecen, I would like to share my thought on studying abroad with you:

Studying abroad is an experience producing relationships and memories that can last a lifetime.You might struggle to keep in touch with your friends back home. You re-evaluate your interpersonal relationships on numerous levels. You build new friendships. Some of those might last a lifetime. You learn a new language. You learn to find your way around in a formerly unknown surrounding. You get a chance to grow academically. More importantly, you grow personally. You might face some obstacles – and will most certainly overcome them. And most of all, you will (hopefully) learn to enjoy every moment of your life, remember the importance of appreciation and to treasure the memories and friendships you make for they might last a lifetime.

Quote of the day (#7): We only have today

Wow, time flies (who would’ve guessed…). It seems like yesterday that I arrived in Debrecen. I’ve had a great time, traveled a lot, learned even more, and most importantly met many amazing people. However, it’s not time to say goodbye yet. Two more weeks remain for me to make more memories. Only fourteen more days remain before I will head back home to Germany with a summer full of new adventures ahead of me. Be that as it may, be departure is still a long way off. That is why for now I am enjoying my time in Debrecen, treasuring every moment.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa