Born and raised in Guatemala, Luis is a 28-year-old guy who has a registered relationship with a Hungarian. The 30th of June was their first anniversary. Let’s meet Luis!
How was your life before moving to Budapest?
For the past few years I have been traveling due to studies and work. The first international experience I had was in Barcelona. I lived there for a year, as I was studying Human Resources Management. After Barcelona I participated in an internship program and I was selected for an opportunity in Budapest and I stayed in this lovely city for a year as well.
After Budapest, I participated again in the same internship program and I was selected for an internship opportunity in Panamá and lived there for a year. I came back to Budapest in April last year and this time I am staying for an indefinite period of time.
Could you tell us a bit about your hometown?
I am originally from Guatemala. I used to live in the capital, Guatemala City with my family. Guatemala is located in Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Honduras and Belize and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico. The weather in Guatemala is usually very nice. Between 20 degrees and 30, so it is always a good option to go to the beach with the family or friends at any time of the year.
What are your favorite things about living here?
What I like about living in Budapest is the international atmosphere. I have had the chance to meet and work with colleagues from different nationalities. I also like the different cultural activities, so there is always something to do on weekends and I never get bored.
Another positive aspect about living in Budapest is that due to its geographic location it is easy to travel to other cities like Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague to name a few.
I also like that there is no need to own a car in order to move around the city or even to visit the countryside, as the public transportation works very well. Although many people complain about it, I think it is very good compared to many other cities I have lived in, including my hometown. I also enjoy visiting the amazing castles and other historic places, because you can learn a lot about Hungarian history and culture through them.
Have you had any cultural shock?
I think the biggest challenge for a foreigner when visiting Hungary for the first time is the language barrier. Although Hungarian is a beautiful language, it is very complex and not easy to learn. I have lived in Budapest for some time now and so far, my level of Hungarian is very basic. I am still not able to have a casual conversation with a local person. Luckily I work at a multinational company and I am able to work in my native language.
What do you think is the main difference from your home country?
There are a lot of differences, but just to name a few, I would start by saying that the weather is very different. In Guatemala there are only two seasons: summer and winter. The latter means constant rain, but the temperature remains very pleasant, around 20-something degrees.
Last year in Budapest, going to work during winter time was a challenging period for me, as I had never experienced such extreme temperatures (they were extreme, at least for me). Being outside with temperatures of around -8 degrees was unimaginable for me. Despite that, the scenerey was really beautiful.
Another big and positive difference is that I feel safer here. In Guatemala you cannot go out alone to a party at 11pm and go home the next morning without risking your valuables or even your life. Whereas, in Budapest, I have never felt that I was in danger.
What do you think of the gay life in Budapest? Do you take part in it?
I think the gay life in Budapest is more open, I mean there is legislation for same sex couples. There is also the Pride and there are clubs/pubs specifically for gay people. In Guatemala, the civil code unfortunately does not cover same sex couples.
Last year my partner Attila and I participated in the Kézfogó Flashmob, which was an event to inspire coming out and to promote the advocacy of LGBTQ rights on the 17th of May, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
What do you think of Hungarian men?
I think Hungarian men are gorgeous. After all, I have a registered relationship with my Hungarian partner and the 30th of June will be our first anniversary!
What do you miss the most from home?
I miss my family and friends, perhaps the good weather, however, it is getting warmer here which I really like. My family is looking forward to meet Attila, they support us 100%. We are planning to go to Guatemala by the end of this year.
Any message you would like to share with the newcomers who are just arriving to Budapest?
Budapest is an amazing city, there is always something fun and interesting to do. There are a lot of festivals and parties. I think Budapest is a good option to settle down as there are many job opportunities and a lot of multinational companies that appreciate diversity.