Upon Arrival

arrival process

An AIT representative will meet you upon arrival if we know the time, date, and location of your arrival (airport or rail station). Therefore it’s very important that you let us know your arrival information well in advance, making sure you also add your carrier, flight number and departure city which makes it easier for us to find your arrival terminal. Once you arrive to the airport hall, look for the "AIT Budapest” sign! Someone from AIT staff will be there waiting for you.

If anything unforeseen happens in your travel plans, or if your flight arrives earlier or you are lost in the airport terminal and can’t find AIT staff, you can call our cell phone numbers that will be available all throughout the time of the semester: +36 20 268 5097 (Dorka) or +36 20 231 4916 (Barbara). If your luggage gets lost during your flight and the carrier asks you for your address in Budapest where to deliver it later, the best option is to give the address of the AIT Office (AIT-Budapest, 1031 Budapest, Záhony u. 7.) because they are delivered during the daytime when you probably won’t be at home to receive it.

The AIT representative will take you to your apartment in Budapest, will meet with you and your landlord to help you finalize the lease agreements, and we will provide you with an orientation of your neighborhood.

money matters

Some important things to make money matters easier and safer:
Bring a bank card (MasterCard, Maestro or Visa). It gets the best exchange rate. Check with your home bank about charges for withdrawal abroad. ATM machines can be found everywhere. Most supermarkets and shops accept MasterCard and Visa.

You can bring some American cash as well. Do NOT change money in the US, as the exchange rate is much better at Hungarian banks and exchange counters. The little exchange booths in the center of the city usually offer better rates than banks. Do NOT change money on the street!

Traveler’s checks are not generally accepted in Hungary so we recommend you prefer your bank card.

To be able to calculate the approximate living costs in Budapest for a month we recommend you have a look at Direct Student Costs or you can also check out this website: http://travel.booklocker.com/2007/09/29/470/.

public transport and cabs

Public transportation (bus, tram, trolleybus and the subway system) is well organized in Budapest. You can reach every part of the city also during the night, thanks to the great night bus system.

Fares (within Budapest):
Single ticket: 350 HUF (approx. $1.75)
Monthly student pass: 3850 HUF (approx. $20)

For more information and the map of the public transport system of Budapest see this website: http://www.bkk.hu/en/main-page/news/.

Taking a cab is always safe with major cab companies. Avoid cabs not displaying the logo of a known company.
The rates of taxis are regulated, and the base fare when you enter a cab is 450HUF. The fee per kilometer is 280HUF.
There is no longer a flat fee going to and from the airport, so your fare will depend on the meter. If you would like to call to arrange a ride, you can specifically ask for an English-speaking driver.
These companies are reliable:
TAXI4 (+36 1 444 4444) – You can ask for an English-speaking driver.
City Taxi (+36 1 211 1111) – The name of the company is printed on the side of the cabs.

cell phones

We highly recommend you get a Hungarian cell number as soon as you arrive to Budapest. The simplest solution is to purchase only a SIM-card if you have an unlocked cell phone, but you can also buy a phone if needed. There are three mobile companies in Hungary: Vodafone, Telenor, and T-Mobile; you can buy a SIM card in any of their shops. You only need your passport to purchase a SIM-card and an unlocked phone.

food and drinks

On the AIT campus you will find 3 cafeterias and 4 snack bars with a great offering of warm food, snacks and drinks. A huge supermarket called Auchan is a few minute walk from campus. Each student apartment has an equipped kitchen so you can also cook at home.

direct student costs

Estimated Direct Student Cost in Budapest (for 1 and 4 months of stay in US Currency):

  1 month
(min. – max.)
4 months
(min. – max.)
Rent (in apartments arranged by AIT) $375 - $750 $960 - $2,280
Utilities (gas, electricity, water, etc.) $60 - $150 $240 - $600
Optional DSL, mobile phone costs $40 - $70 $160 - $280
Meals (eating out liberally) $420 - $560 $1,680 - $2,240
Public transportation ($20 monthly student pass) $20 $80
Mandatory health insurance (min. 6 months, payable once) $150 $150
Residence permit fee (payable once) - $ 90
Entertainment and others $130 - $230 $520 - $920
Total direct students cost for the given period: $1205 - $1940 $3,890 - $6650


Please note that travel costs to Budapest and back to the US are not included in these estimated costs, nor are the expenses of travels inside Hungary and Europe.

AIT’s partner, the Babilon Language School, offers an intensive two–week long language course, which takes place just prior to the start of the AIT semester program. The fee of this “Survival Hungarian Course” is approximately $400 (US Currency, but payable in cash in Hungarian Forints after arrival). Also, bear in mind if you’re attending the two-week intensive Hungarian language course, you should add an extra half-month cost to the above estimated figures.

survival guide to download

You can download our Survival Guide with important addresses, emergency phone numbers, and useful information from here.