Kate Grossmann studied abroad in Hungary through the uniquely rigorous Budapest Semester in Mathematics program, which introduced her to a new culture and showed her what it means to seriously pursue math.
BSM offers a range of both pure and applied mathematics courses as well as research opportunities and non-math electives in music, culture, philosophy and language. I was given the freedom to choose the substance and weight of my course load and to challenge myself at my own level.
My professors were chosen from a nearby research university and could speak much more eloquently in their second or third language than I can in my first. The program was very rigorous academically, and although I had less free time to travel or see the sights than most Oxy students in other countries, I cannot overstate how much the experience pushed me to grow as both a student and a person.
To enroll in BSM is to choose to spend a significant amount of time devoted to math and only math, and that inherent affinity prompted many rich and inspiring friendships.
Hungary is a nation of kind, tough people with an increasingly concentrated government and nearly no independent news networks. I was introduced to the country precisely as it undergoes great and troubling political change, and watching that change unfold gave me a newfound appreciation for our history and even our current political climate in the U.S.
Within this greater cultural environment, I also got to live in an immersive mathematical community for the first time in my life. To enroll in BSM is to choose to spend a significant amount of time devoted to math and only math, and that inherent affinity prompted many rich and inspiring friendships. I met some of the brightest and kindest people I've ever known. They pushed me to be better, showed me what a love for math really looks like and even taught me to actually enjoy collaborative work.
While it's (rightly) cliché to say that my study abroad experience changed me, I can assert without hesitation that my time at BSM will inform my eventual career and the remainder of my educational journey. I went in wondering whether I could find fulfillment in math, and I left very certain that I can.