Why did you apply for the trip?
My cousin, Allie Dempsey, was a participant in 2017 and I was researching the opportunity for my own kids when I discovered the inaugural 29+ program. I switched gears quickly and decided I would apply in 2018 and my kids could apply in 2019 if they were interested. I had been intimidated in the past about traveling to Hungary because of the language barrier and I knew immediately this would be a life-changing experience.
What was the best part of the trip?
The best parts of the trip for me were moments when I was able to wander around Budapest soaking up the culture of a world that my grandfather knew so well. It was amazing to see the iconic views (architecture, the Danube, and the beautiful countryside) in real life instead of just pictures.
How did the birthright program change your life?
My Hungarian ancestry was not part of my upbringing. My Grandfather died just before I was born and my family rarely spoke about his Hungarian past. Participating in ReConnect Hungary opened a door to the history and culture of Hungary that I was ready to explore. Now I look for Hungarian connections in books, movies, and people. Since the trip, I’ve met several people where I live who immigrated from Hungary or who have Hungarian roots. I even participated in my first-ever St. Stephens Day celebration on August 20th!
Are you planning to go back to Hungary anytime soon?
I would like to return to Hungary with my sister and/or children soon. I had a wonderful experience and hope to visit again and again throughout my life.