Students from all over the world attend D’Youville College. Foreign students at D’Youville come from over 25 countries across the world and make up 18% of the current student body. I sat down with one of them, a student named Balazs (pronounced BAHL-ahsh), who is from Budapest, Hungary.
Balazs came to D’Youville because he won a scholarship from CTP. CTP offers scholarships to several Western New York colleges. He had already earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and chose D’Youville for the International Business master’s program. His favorite thing about D’Youville are his friends and the college’s small size because one can have closer relationships with teachers and peers. He also really likes his on-campus studio apartment in the D’Youville Student Apartment Complex. His least favorite part about D’Youville is the bitter Buffalo weather and lack of competitive water sport athletics at DYC (he loves playing water polo).
Balazs enjoys city living, but he prefers Budapest to Buffalo because it is a much larger city and more developed. He said it is difficult to compare the cities because he does not have a car here and has not discovered everything in Buffalo yet. Balazs is patriotic about his home country and would prefer to live there after college rather than moving to the United States. His favorite thing about the United States is the food. His favorite American restaurant is Olive Garden (he thinks they have great salad).
Balazs has a girlfriend back home who he has been dating for two years. The couple makes the long distance relationship work by skyping every day. Balazs also mentioned that he thinks both people must trust each other deeply in order for any relationship to work. He misses her a lot but he claims he can handle it. He said if the people who had to wait for each other during the World Wars could do it, then so can they. Balazs cannot wait to see her over winter break. He is especially excited because his girlfriend plans to visit him at the end of April.
Balazs talks to his parents and sister about once a week.
Before coming to D’Youville Balazs possessed some stereotypes about Americans. One stereotype was that “Americans don’t care about fashion.” Everybody wears sneakers, running shoes and jeans.” (Note: While he was saying this, I looked down at myself and I was wearing running shoes with jeans.) He also finds it strange how Americans use the phrase “How are you?” as more of a greeting than a question about one’s well-being. When he first arrived he would tell people how he was and people did not seem to care. No one is waiting for the real detailed answer, just the word good. He expected Americans to do this but he did not think this kind of response was as common as it is. He also thought all Americans were fat and always eating very bad quality junk food. He thought Americans just watch TV, ate chips, and drank coke. He also has found that Americans tend to be a bit superficial and are always smiling. It is much more difficult to get to know Americans and who knows what is going on behind that infinite smile? Balazs also stated how many Americans are super engrossed in technology. He said many of us miss out because we are too caught up in the digital world. He did not have much of a stereotype for the American accent because he watched a lot of American movies before coming here. Balazs also commented on how everything in America is much bigger and that we waste a lot of things like food and gas. However, he admires how Americans tend to follow the rules very strictly and how hard-working people seem to be at their jobs.
The things that Balazs misses most about home are his girlfriend, his water polo teammates, and the Hungarian food. He misses his mom’s food, Turkish food, and Chinese food. The Chinese food in Hungary is very good. His favorite dish are Turkish Gyros. It is a wrap with chicken and vegetables. Lamb and beef can also be used in the wraps. He also misses the Hungarian wines because they have a higher alcohol content and a slightly different taste, but he thinks the American wines from California are really good.
For Thanksgiving he went to one of his teacher’s houses in Cleveland with many of the other international students for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Balazs was really excited about the roast turkey because he had never had it before.
Balazs says that he gets a lot more attention from American girls than back home because of his accent. They tell him “You’re so cute.” He told me how last semester he went to a bar and a very pretty bartender bought him a beer. He also mentioned how much easier it is for him to make American girls laugh. Balazs concluded that he thinks it would be much easier to meet an American girl than a Hungarian girl.
Besides water polo some of Balazs’ hobbies include running, biking, and reading. However, during school he does not have much time for reading. Balazs used to participate in triathlons and play soccer before he had a knee injury. He also likes to do ballroom dancing with his girlfriend and enjoys working out with his friends. In addition Balazs used to box, but he stopped because it was too hard on his body. Balazs enjoys skiing but does not like snowboarding because he falls a lot and finds it annoying. He tried wakeboarding this summer and really liked it, but it made his biceps really sore.
Balazs enjoys funky music like Earth, Wind, and Fire, Phil Collins, Kool and Gang, and Bryan Adams. He does not care for Hungarian music. Balazs used to play the drums so he has a great appreciation for music. During our conversation I discovered his hidden talent for beatboxing.
Balazs’ favorite class at D’Youville is Multinational Corporate Finance with Dr. Sylvia Starnawska because she has a lot of experience and shares her stories with the class.
Would you like to connect with international students at D’Youville? Check out the official D’Youville International Student Facebook group!