Have you ever thought of Europe as exotic? After you finish a language program in Hungary, exotic may be one of the many words added to your description of Europe. Hungary marches to the beat of its own drum, introducing a tangible eccentricity to Europe with beauty oozing from every aspect of its culture. The language itself is odd, but in a good way; hence, it is sometimes used as throwaway gibberish in films (e.g. Ironman). Attend a language school in Hungary and you’ll be captivated by the dynamics of an overcoming, confident country that has a history almost too complex to comprehend.
Whether you opt to study at a language school in Hungary or prefer university courses or lessons with a private tutor, any location you choose will leave you speechless (and not because you can’t speak the language). Its landlocked status and shared borders have caused Hungary to absorb a diverse array of cultural influences throughout history. Thanks to its auspicious geographical setting, Hungary is a treasure trove of hidden gems, causing students to implement double takes as part of their daily walk to class.
Blessed with an abundance of manmade and natural wonders, there is no shortage of adventure to be had within the city limits of Budapest. Up until 1873, Buda and Pest were two cities on the opposite sides of the river Danube, each one with distinctive characteristics. Buda encompassed the natural beauty of the city, while Pest contained the urban center and the iconic Parliament building. However, don’t leave Budapest without exploring Castle Hill, one of the most magnificent sites in Europe. After language courses in Budapest, students can head out to experience the local nightlife at some of the city’s ruin bars. And then in the morning, they can join locals in “taking the waters” (dubbed the best hangover cure) in one of the many natural thermal hot springs scattered across the city.
Because roughly one-third of Hungarians live in Budapest, most language schools in Hungary are limited to Budapest. But, for the trailblazers and torchbearers always looking to devise a plan to stray off the beaten path, have no fear. Hungary conceals much of its exotic nature in some of its most remote cities. Mark down Debrecen, Miskolc, and Szeged in your travel log as cities where you can spend your weekend off in a more intimate, cultural landscape. These destinations are also a great way to put your new language skills to the test, as locals not living in the city are less likely to speak English.
Language Programs in Hungary
It can be a daunting task to choose a reputable language program in Hungary that suits your needs and wants. Deciding which language school in Hungary really speaks to you is the first step, and then it’s time to dive into course options. Keep in mind that Hungarian is the most common language of study in Hungary, followed by English, German, and Romanian.
Step up your résumé game by choosing language programs in Hungary that entail taking university classes. Top-notch academic experience will enable students to perfect their language skills while staying on track with important courses needed for their degree requirements back home. Consider this as your first option if you are wanting to study German, Romanian, or basically any language that is not Hungarian. Student housing options, like apartments and dormitories, feed international students’ need for community, while their longing for adventure can be fulfilled by weekend excursions with local students.
Private tutoring is a unique way to learn a language in Hungary, and often involves living in your teacher's home. This intensive approach to language immersion is very effective and gives students real insight into the language and lifestyle of Hungarians. Since private tutoring is individualized, lessons can start any time of the year and you’ll be able to choose the length of your program.
Courses offered at language schools in Hungary allow students to learn from highly qualified staff in an atmosphere that fosters a respectful learning environment. Language schools in Hungary encourage students to visit famous attractions and attend many events and cultural activities through the country to maximize their experience. In addition, language schools in Hungary usually organize activities to help students socialize with other international students that are in the same boat.
Costs & Affordability
Hungary has all the Central European charm you could ask for, without the high prices of many other destinations. At first glance, Hungary’s advanced economy signals a high living standard, but because it spent many years behind the Iron Curtain, the cost of living remains significantly less expensive than that of Western Europe. While it is also a member of the European Union, Hungary has chosen to stay on its own currency, the Forint, which exchanges at about 280 HUF to $1.
Language programs in Hungary typically require students to pay a set amount in program fees. What’s included in your language program varies from program to program, but most will cover accommodation, meals, insurance, and a sense of purpose! Visas, vaccinations, and flights are usually left up to each student to arrange.
There are several scholarships available specifically for individuals that want to participate in language programs or attend language schools in Hungary but need to minimize their expenses (who doesn’t though?). Take a minute to peruse GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory to see what scholarships and grants you are eligible for. Also, be sure to check with your language school or program provider so they can point you in the direction of any untapped financial resources you can take advantage of.
Accommodation & Visas
Most language programs in Hungary push the total immersion experience and organize a host family for you to live with during your language studies. It’s no secret that living with locals will challenge you to use your new language skills regularly (and help them stick), and reward you with the opportunity to have a more intimate experience of Hungarian culture. Think of it as free tutoring sessions after class!
No matter where you stay during language study in Hungary, your surroundings will be stunningly beautiful. If you opt to go the university route, a traditional or apartment-style dorm will be your humble abode for the duration of your program. Staying with multiple students during your program and sharing sleeping/dining quarters will nourish your sense of community, as you will not only be sharing your experience, but also will be working toward a common goal.
Most people from Europe, the United States, Canada, or Australia are not required to get a visa to attend language schools in Hungary. Students from these countries are simply required to obtain a registration permit that most universities will help international students acquire. Keep in mind that Hungary’s visa policy varies depending on your home country, so check out GoAbroad's Hungarian Embassy Directory for more information about individual requirements.
Benefits & Challenges
Believe it or not, Hungarians are not very fond of jokes about hungry Hungarians (you’re more clever than that anyway). But, on the plus side, Hungarians are probably pretty hungry because their food is delicious!
Listening 101. Learning a foreign language without leaving the comfort of your home country and culture presents an obstacle of narrowness that can only be hurdled by total immersion. To be completely fluent in a foreign language, you need a total understanding of the culture, society, and even nonverbal communication, instead of just filling up on facts and translations. Communication is a two-way street, and listening is, perhaps, the road less traveled. Reel in your eagerness to practice your new speaking skills and take the time to listen and observe how the natives interact and engage with one another during language courses in Hungary.
Career advantage. With universal unemployment problems, multilingual abilities have become an unquestionable competitive edge over competing applicants. Language abilities tell of a person’s intelligence, flexibility, openness, and decision-making skills. When an interviewer sees that you learned a new language smack-dab in the middle of the culture where it originates, you will undoubtedly set the bar high for all other candidates.
Don’t use English as a crutch. Even though each day may seem like a linguistic eternity, resist the temptation to revert back to your mother tongue when you’re in a pinch. Don’t get fed up, you can work through it when you remind yourself you’re in it for the long run. Pushing through tough situations will produce a whole new learning environment that can’t be replicated in a classroom. Don’t shortchange yourself!
Enigma stigma. One word: megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért. Not all Hungarian vocabulary is this daunting, but many people believe it to be one of the hardest (but most rewarding) languages to learn. Hungarian isn’t in the same language family as the rest of Europe; as a result, its words don’t have the benefit of a Latin or Greek background that make some words in English, French, and Spanish quite recognizable when compared to each other.
Diving head first into a new culture does not guarantee ease and comfort, but it does offer something much better: a chance for growth beyond knowledge that will facilitate mindfulness and humility that cannot be shaken. So, what are you waiting for? Conquer the challenges and reap the benefits of language study in Hungary!