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An International Experience Like No Other

The students in the Chemistry Olympiad finished their five-hour theoretical exam yesterday morning and reunited with their mentors last night for a celebratory cruise down the Danube River. The students got their cell phones back, and I have an Internet connection again!

Here are some snapshots from the past couple of days:

Students from all over the world write “Welcome to Hungary” in their native language.

Students from China and Brazil huddle, deep in conversation, during the welcome reception on Sunday.

U.S. students Jenny Ju, Jonathan Lee, Andrew Liu, and Yuxin Xie pose for a photo at a castle in Buda, overlooking the beautiful Parliament building in Pest.

In just two days, the U.S. and Canadian students have become inseparable. Here they are at Hero’s Square.

Now this is what I call a high-achieving class! On Monday night, the students gathered for a lab-safety demonstration and an explosive chemistry show.

Students representing seven continents participated in the demonstration. Wow, you don’t see this every day!

A student from Azerbaijan (left) and students from Spain talk about a shared interest: SOCCER!

Ioannis Botis of Greece (right) gives Mario Lopez Moya of Spain a replica of an ancient Greece charm. Many students have been exchanging gifts from their countries and learning a bit about each other’s culture.

Here I am posing with the Greek and Spanish students. They are so incredibly nice!

A Hungarian student guide teaches U.S. students Yuxin Xie and Jenny Lu how to say a few phrases in Hungarian.

The U.S. students spend Monday sightseeing in Tihany, a small picturesque village three hours outside Budapest.

The Hungarians love Turo Rudi, which is chocolate filled with sweet cottage cheese. It sounds strange, but it is really good! You see vending machines for Turo Rudi everywhere.

U.S. student Andrew Liu tries Turo Rudi and says it’s good!

Yuxin Xie and Jenny Lu try goulash at a traditional Hungarian restaurant on Monday night.

Here is another photo of the goulash. It was delicious!

The ratio of men to women at the Chemistry Olympiad is about 4 to 1. Here, there is a long line for the men’s bathroom and no line for the women’s bathroom!

A group of students prepare to take their practical exam on Tuesday morning.

Asian students from China, the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Malaysia pose for a photo.

Students from Denmark learn how to make corn-husk dolls during a morning of traditional Hungarian games and arts and crafts on Wednesday morning.

Rasmus Faber of Denmark shows off his corn-husk doll.

Aren’t they cute?

Jasper Landman of the Netherlands puts the finishing touches on this team’s painting of Lake Balaton (the Hungarian Sea).

Students from Kuwait talk about their country with a Hungarian student guide.

Yuri Timchenko of Russia participates in the World Cup soccer competition on Wednesday afternoon.

Students from Pakistan do some home cooking in the dormitory’s kitchen. They say they miss Pakistani food.

Here, one of the Pakistani students is cooking Karhai, a spicy chicken stew.

It looks delicious!

A fire alarm went off around 10 PM on Wednesday night, and students spilled out of their dorm rooms, some in just their pajamas. Gunnsteinn Finnsson of Iceland apparently packed everything into his suitcase, including this gas mask. Well, it’s good to be prepared!

After their five hour theoretical exam on Thursday, students reunited with their mentors for a cruise down the Danube River. I’ve never seen so many happy faces!


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  • Jul 22nd 200803:07
    by Bálint Gilicze

    Good to see your work! I hope you enjoyed your stay. Keep in touch!

  • Jul 22nd 200817:07
    by Linda Wang

    Hi Balint,

    Thank you so much! I had an awesome time in Budapest and am missing everyone already! It was fun being able to chat with a fellow photographer. Your photos are amazing!

    Keep in touch!

  • Jul 23rd 200812:07
    by Fiona

    Hey Linda, this is Fiona from Singapore. Regarding the photo of the Asian students, I was wondering if you have the photo including the Singaporeans? We joined the shot after that photo was taken, and I’m trying to find the photo. Thanks alot. :)

  • Jul 23rd 200816:07
    by Linda Wang

    Hi Fiona,

    Thanks so much for writing! I am so sorry I don’t have the larger group photo because a bunch of people gave me their cameras to take a photo and by the time I got back to my camera the group was starting to split up. It was a wonderful moment though, Asians from so many countries all trying to get into the photo. I know the organizers will be sending everyone a directory of the students and mentors so you might try to contact some others who were in the photo and see if they have a copy. If I had been able to take that photo, I definitely would have posted it. Drat, missed opportunity!

    Take care,


  • Jul 25th 200809:07
    by Jhe-Hao

    Hi, I’m Jhe-Hao from Taiwan. Finally I’ve found your reports.
    I’m so excited to read these, but I’ll read these later for that I’m tired know.(I got off the airplane several hours ago.)
    See up. : )

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