When I was in Budapest for our 10-year MBA reunion, a classmate had organized a tour of the brand-new CEU campus. As you enter on Nador utca 15, you’re greeted by this quote from George Soros.
The entire new campus so beautiful, functional and full of well-designed details, it kind of makes you want to go back to university again.
There are little study areas with computer screens around every corner.
Even the benches on the roof have power outlets, so you can sit there with your laptop and get work done. Though I doubt, people would want to work there, when the can instead enjoy the sun and a view of all of Budapest’s architectural highlights.
I graduated from Central European University (CEU) in 2007, so for the ten-year reunion, I added a 36 hour visit to the city at the end of my Vienna trip.
A lot has improved in the city. Gone are the Soviet-era buses and metros cars on the M2 metro line I took to class every day.
Instead trains and stations have been upgraded and squares such Kossuth tér and Deák Ferenc tér are looking great.
Outside the city center, however, it’s a different story. Városliget (above) is well maintained, full of people and no place to sit down. Népliget (below) is full of benches nobody wants to sit on and looks like it had been untouched since the 1980s.
Same along Kerepesi út where the CEU dormitory is. Sure, they installed some new benches there, but overall the area was almost unchanged since I had last seen it 10 years ago.
And the M3 metro line still features its original trains, signage and depressing color scheme.