Visiting a Refugee Camp

One of the AIESEC interns here worked at a refugee camp / re-integration centre located in a village 30 minutes by train outside of Budapest. I was baffled by the idea that there were refuge camps in Hungary. Where were these people from? What were they running from? The idea of a refuge camp completely confused me. I wouldn’t even know what to expect.

The AIESEC intern was leaving Budapest shortly and wanted to show us a little of the camp and have a final dinner. We needed prior approval to enter the camp, providing our legal names and we needed ID to enter the camp. The camp is gated, with chain linked fences lining the perimeter. For some reason, the guards at the gatehouse didn’t receive the list of names and it seemed like we weren’t going to be able to enter. Finally we managed to get in and we saw a bit of the camp.

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From those that met, it appeared that they were originally from Iraq. There was someone there that was from a country in Eastern Europe as well, but I don’t remember the country anymore.

There were so many stray cats too! They were tiny and made me miss mine.

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The kids were adorable. They kept on running around and towards the end of the night, they all bought the girls flowers.

I wish there would have been more opportunity to hear more about what life is like and how people came to be there. It was a very quick glimpse. From Googling, I have discovered, that the camp is actually a re-integration centre, a place that individuals who have been granted refugee status can stay for up to a year to prepare for full integration into Hungarian society. You can read more about it here.