My First Day in Budapest!

When my trainee buddy dropped me off at my apartment, they told me that his colleague was going to come and pick me up to take me to work and that he would be here at 9:30am. I tried to stay awake as long as possible so that I could sleep a full night, but it just wasn’t possible. Despite sleeping at 11, I was up again at 2am. Attempts at sleeping just didn’t pan out till almost 4, when the sun was starting to rise.

There was some miscommunication between the AIESEC office and the SELTI office. The AIESECers thought I was suppose to be at SELTI at 10:00, but when I arrived, they were not expecting me till close to 1:00. Instead I went off with the Incoming Exchange Coordinator (VP ICX for you AIESECers) to exchange my money, get a sim card for my phone and to set up a bank account. He took me to the AIESEC office to sign my internship forms.

In a way it was nice to get everything set up and done on the first day. Apparently this is a first for a SELTI intern, usually the papers get signed much later and rarely when the intern arrives.

We had some time to kill before the bank could finalize my account. So we went to the Great Market Hall or the Central Market Hall. Its the place all tourist go to. The market has three levels. On the ground floor, you have the general market filled with fruits and veggies. There were meat shops, and cheese shops, and even shops dedicated to spices and Paprika! The top level is primarily dominated by stalls after stalls of touristy items and all the cliche Hungarian gifts you would ever want.

In the basement, you have a regular supermarket as well as some miscellaneous shops that have nothing to do with food. If I were to compare this market to one at home, I would say similar to Granville Island Public Market. I’m sure most of the items for sale are pretty expensive, but I haven’t gone to any other markets so I can’t really compare. I was still with the ICX Coordinator, so I didn’t want to make him wait as I took photos, so the only decent one I have is the one above. But later, I’ll go back myself and explore the place thoroughly.

I bought a month bus pass as well. It cost 3850 FT which, at the rate that I exchanged my Canadian dollar is about $20 CAD. So cheap!

Afterwards, I headed back to SELTI where I was welcomed by Ryan, the CEO and Sneha, the current COO and who I will be replacing. They gave me a quick rundown of the position and a basic overview of the company history, the company currently and where they would like to be headed in the next year or so. The work environment seems really great.  Pretty flexible and relaxed and more driven by performance than just clocking hours. Very similar in AIESEC in that way. You don’t need to be in the office till 10 at the latest. They’ve planned two training and strategic weekends. The last weekend of June I will be going up to the lake here in Hungary. They have a cabin apparently. We’ll be doing a turnover and training weekend. Two of the members of management are being replaced and they’re adding one more position to the team. Then in mid July, we’ll be going to Prague for a strategic planning weekend. Can’t wait to see more of the country!

I’m told that the work culture here is very different. It is pretty relaxed apparently. Almost no one wears a suit. The only time you see someone in a suit is if they’re in some sort of customer service position such as at a bank.

My first responsibilities will be looking into recruitment. I will be attending interviews on Wednesday for a new Head Teacher and then starting next week will start recruiting new teachers for the September term. Usually they have about a 50/50 divide with teachers coming from AIESEC and teachers coming from other postings on TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) sites. It all sounds pretty interesting and I’m pretty excited to get started and learning more about the industry!