ReConnect Hungary provides a total Hungarian experience, balancing exposure to history, culture and current-day trends, and innovations all in the context of a fun, informative and inspiring visit to Hungary.
Your ReConnect Hungary journey will start at home. Once you have been selected to participate in the program, you will be asked to complete an Online Orientation Course. During the course, you'll get a multi-media introduction to Hungarian accomplishments, history, culture and language. There will be required reading material consisting of a recommended travel book, language primer (list of 100 basic words and phrases), fictional works, and a biography of a famous Hungarian. Throughout your orientation, you will be asked to submit short written commentaries on the material presented and interface with your fellow participants.
Through ReConnect Hungary's website and Facebook page, you will get the opportunity to connect to your fellow sojourners before the trip kicks off with a meet-up and overnight in New York City. There, you'll be welcomed by the program's Ambassador, Allison Pataki, and her father, former New York State Governor George Pataki, ReConnect Hungary's Patron.
Your program coordinator will meet you at Liszt Ferenc Budapest International Airport and accompany you throughout the two-week journey in Hungary. This young expert, versed in all things Hungarian and based in Hungary, will give you the buzz on the latest trends, places and people.
This is not your run-of-the-mill sightseeing program.
We'll start out in the capital, Budapest, where you'll get unparalleled opportunities to hear from and question leading experts on top issues in today's Hungary, such as thriving economic sectors, minority policies, advances in science, foreign policy and the environment. You'll meet young Hungarians in government and Parliament, get the inside scoop from ex-pats, and hear first-hand from the leaders of successful, innovative companies.
You'll discover Budapest through a treasure hunt and 20th-century history by visiting the one-of-a-kind Hospital in the Rock, a secret nuclear bunker recently unearthed. While in the capital, you'll get to go to various "ruin pubs," the hip, retro nightspots that dot the city and feature up-and-coming artists. You'll experience living folk culture and art: dancing at the uniquely Hungarian phenomenon, a "táncház" (folk dance house with live music), making traditional Hungarian crafts at a workshop in Szentendre, hearing a band on the A 38 boat docked on the Danube, and seeing what the young artisans and designers in the newly-formed Flatlab are up to.
There is so much to see in the country, but we've carefully selected a few "must see" locations and sights.
In our tour van, we'll visit Eger (a Baroque town where women fought off the invading Ottomans in the 16th century). There, and in the famed Tokaj Wine Region (a UNESCO Historic Cultural landscape), selected vintners will share with you the successes and challenges of Hungarian winemakers today. Hungary is a leading GMO-free country. At Hortobágy National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll explore this Eco-Region up close. One in every three Hungarians lives outside of Hungary. So, from the stunning Danube Bend, we'll pop over to Slovakia for a taste of that Hungarian community's unique culture and to see what young Hungarians there are doing to maintain their identity and traditions.
Relaxation and fun will be had at places such as Europe's largest thermal complex, the Széchényi Baths, an authentic outdoor Turkish bath replete with water chess, or bobsledding (yes, you read that right) in picturesque Visegrád. You'll also have some free time to relax, explore or visit the village/town where your family came from, if you wish. Your farewell send off will be something truly spectacular, but we've decided to keep it a secret (at least for now).
Your journey to rediscovering your Hungarian self continues when you return to the U.S.. You'll be asked to mentor a future participant (it's only fair and fun). Then you'll be able to stay involved through ReConnect Hungary Alumni Group meet-ups and events, FUNdraising for the program, joining a Hungarian-American organization, taking part in ReConnect+ (another surprise, for now) and, of course, returning to Hungary or one of the surrounding countries where Hungarian communities live.