Spotlight: Hanna – Instant love for Amsterdam, but in future she wants to return to Hungary. #37

Hanna (23) was born in Budapest, Hungary and comes from a traditional Jewish family. She studied International Relations and now returned to Amsterdam for a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the VU.

Hanna was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. As a daughter of two Jewish parents, Judaism was really a part of her upbringing. They always celebrated shabbat and they joined her grandfather’s celebrations of the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Seder night and so on.

As a child, she attended an international kinder garden, a Hungarian primary school, but then for high school went to Lauder Jewish School, where her Jewish social life basically started.

Instant love for Amsterdam
When studying for her Bachelor in International Relations, Hanna came to Amsterdam for an exchange program at VU University last year, and immediately fell in love with Amsterdam. “I felt like home in Amsterdam and Jewish life was a big part of it. I went to almost all of the Chabad on Campus-events and made a lot of friends here. I also became really close with Esty, the kids, and of course Yanki too. I was abroad, but not really,” Hanna explains.

“In Hungary, it’s not appropriate to talk about being Jewish with random people.”

Open about Jewish roots
“What I like most about Amsterdam is how open I can be about being Jewish. In Hungary, it’s not appropriate, not common to talk about being Jewish with random people. At university, I haven’t told anyone about it. But in Amsterdam, I tell everyone on Friday that I will be celebrating Shabbat at night.” Hanna loves the multicultural environment in The Netherlands. All her friends are from different countries and different cultures. “When my family came over, my mother said that how in Hungary, everyone looks the same, dresses the same. But here, everyone expresses themselves how they are, people are very colorful.”

So, when starting her Masters degree in Business Administration this season, Hanna decided to come back. “The hardest part of living here for me is biking. I really don’t like biking,” Hanna says. “But I would recommend coming to Amsterdam when you are young and want to explore something. It’s a place that you can easily call your home, make new friends and try new stuff”.

Return to family in Hungary
“In Hungary, we see that many young people move abroad for a while to try out new things. They travel for a while, but then move back to Hungary.” And that is also how she sees her own future. “I want to see myself in Amsterdam for now, maybe get some more experience somewhere else, but on the long term, we have to see what the future brings. I find it difficult to imagine living in a different country from my family.”


Chabad on Campus is a young and diverse community. In this section, we spotlights each week another fun and interesting person. Check our other spotlights!

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