Your birthright trip

This is not your run-of-the-mill sightseeing program. There is so much to see in the country, but we’ve selected a few “must see” sights.

Reconnect Hungary provides a totally immersive 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 take the Essentials of Hungary: A Primer and Introduction Online Course moderated by a program assistant in our New York office. The course provides a multimedia introduction to basic Hungarian facts, accomplishments, history, culture and language. Throughout the course, you will explore several current-day topics in small groups.

Through Reconnect Hungary’s Facebook page and Alumni Facebook Group, you will get the opportunity to connect with your fellow sojourners, and the trip will kick off with a meet-up in New York City.

Your program coordinators will meet you at Liszt Ferenc Budapest International Airport and your peer guides will accompany you throughout the two-week journey in Hungary. These young experts based in Hungary and versed in all things Hungarian, will give you the latest on popular trends, places and people.

We will start out in the capital, Budapest, where you will get unparalleled opportunities to interact with 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 will 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 will discover Budapest and 20th-century history through a treasure hunt by visiting the one-of-a-kind Hospital in the Rock, a secret nuclear bunker recently unearthed. You will also visit various “ruin pubs” (the hip, retro nightspots that dot the city and feature up-and-coming artists). You will experience living folk culture and art: by dancing at the uniquely Hungarian phenomenon, the “táncház” (folk dance house with live music), by making traditional Hungarian crafts in a workshop at an open-air museum, and by seeing what young innovators in the Design Terminál are up to.

You will have an inter-cultural day that includes basic language instruction.

In our tour bus, we will visit Lake Balaton and focus on a region in the countryside. We may also visit a Diaspora Hungarian community just over the border in Serbia, Slovakia or Ukraine to see how young Hungarians outside Hungary are maintaining their identity and traditions.

Relaxation and fun will be had at one of Hungary’s world famous thermal baths. Budapest is home to Europe’s largest thermal complex, one of which is the Széchenyi Baths. On the weekend we encourage you to travel to the city or hometown of your ancestors to spend time with living relatives, take photos of gravesites, meet people that knew your familty etc.

Your journey to rediscovering your Hungarian self continues when you return to the U.S. and Canada. You become a Reconnected Participant. Choose an alumni obligation such as take Hungarian language courses, study in Hungary, seek Hungarian citizenship, form an on-campus Hungarian club, and promote Reconnect Hungary in various ways.

A total of three million ethnic Hungarians live as minorities in the seven countries surrounding Hungary. The largest of these communities is in Transylvania, Romania. The extraordinary opportunity for participants to experience Transylvania immediately following the Reconnect Hungary trip is now a permanent offering. The whirlwind immersion uncovers the region’s natural beauty and the historical landmarks and living cultural traditions. Descending into the Salt Mines of Torda, meeting Hungarian decision-makers in Kolozsvár (Cluj), seeing the treasures of the Teleki Téka library in Marosvásárhely (Targu Mures), walking through a Székely gate—those who choose this program do and see just about everything!

A full scholarship opportunity for young adults over 18 to gain valuable work experience at NGOs in one of four Transylvanian cities, mentor university students in English and American culture, and discover the deepest layers of being Hungarian from 3-6 months. Contact us for more information!

Cost of the program

Support from the organizers, donations from generous individuals and corporate sponsors, as well as a grant from the Government of Hungary make it possible to keep the portion paid by participants affordable.

The total costs of the program and services provided to the participants include the birthright trip, a dedicated, bi-continental professional Reconnect Hungary Team, pre-trip preparation, continual Hungarian cultural and educational resources, volunteer coordination and an alumni network.

Roundtrip airfare and taxes between New York and Budapest, all transportation to/from airports in New York and Budapest, all accommodations while in Hungary, three meals a day while in Hungary, guides in Hungary, transportation in our own bus throughout Hungary, all entrance fees to museums and historical sites, the pre-trip online course, orientation and lunch in New York.

Transportation to/from our gateway departure city, New York; passport fees, health/travel/extra baggage insurance, items of a personal nature (gifts, spending money, additional meals).

If you have to cancel after having paid, but up to 120 days before departure, we will retain a $300 administrative fee and refund you $1,800. Cancellations within 120 days prior to departure will result in forfeiture of the entire $2,100 you paid for the program.

Family and friends can give the trip as a birthday, graduation or holiday present. Just click here to sponsor a participant’s trip by filling out the form and making your secure donation. You can also make out your check to “Hungarian Human Rights Foundation” and in the memo add, “Reconnect Hungary 2023”. Please mail it to: Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, 120 East 90th Street #5D, New York, NY 10128.

All fees paid by participants go directly into the program. Donations, individual and corporate sponsors are all welcome and needed! There are also creative ways for you to raise funds for your trip.

Information For Parents

What your child will experience—the exclusive events, access, quality offerings in programs—simply cannot be found in any tourist catalogue.

Program Background and Objectives

Reconnect Hungary – Hungarian Birthright Program is a public-private partnership supported by Hungarian American and Canadian organizations and the Government of Hungary. The special partnership also encompasses, of course, the exceptional young people selected to participate in the program, as well as the generous support of Hungarian-American individual and corporate sponsors who make this journey affordable for your child and your family. Your cooperation in this exciting partnership is vital and appreciated.

The program provides the gift of a peer-group heritage and cultural immersion trip to Hungary for Hungarian-American young adults between the ages of 18 and 28 aimed at fostering their self-discovery. The program is a result of the vision of Allison Pataki, daughter of former New York State Governor George E. Pataki, who grasped the growing need among young Hungarian-Americans, like herself, to be able to rediscover their Hungarian heritage with a view to the future as well. 

The experiences gathered in such a short time—the knowledge and new perspectives gained, the friendships and networks forged—will last your child a lifetime. They will meet the innovators and young leaders of a country at the intersection of a rich culture and colorful history. 

How You Can Help

Your active involvement and generous support are key to Reconnect Hungary’s success. After all, the goal is to enrich the life of your child, deepen family traditions, and nurture community bonds.

Due to the generosity of supporters like you, we are able to offer this life-changing experience for your child for only $2,100 

You can make your child’s dream of visiting your ancestral homeland a reality by providing the Reconnect Hungary experience as the gift for that milestone in their lives: a special birthday, high school or college graduation present, or for getting that first job or promotion.

You can support any other qualified young adult in their journey of self-discovery as well. Please visit the Support the Journey section to learn more and make your contribution today.

Logistics And Safety

Reconnect Hungary is your young adult’s personal experience, but relatives play a key role in the participants’ journey. During the trip, parents, relatives and friends will be able to find updates on the program’s Facebook page about the group’s experiences as they are occurring. The participants will receive contact information for the program organizers in Hungary as well.

Your child’s personal safety will be our top priority. Therefore, we require that s/he obtain travel insurance prior to departure. Also, it is mandatory that your child let us know of any allergies or medical conditions that require regular medication or special attention.

Hungary is no more dangerous than any other European country and Budapest is similarly as safe as any other capital city. [Hungary has not been the target of any terrorist activity and is a close ally of the United States and Canada through many channels, such as NATO and OSCE.] We advise common sense in hiding valuables (camera, smart phone, wallet, and so on) in crowded places and keeping belongings in sight. The bilingual program coordinator, who will accompany the group throughout the stay in Hungary, will always assess the safety of a situation and guide the participants appropriately. Please feel free to contact us directly with any questions before, during or after the trip.

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Application

Find all the info on the application process and pre-trip activities!