The perfect balance of relaxation and challenge awaits those who venture to Hungary. After a long, but rewarding, day learning all there is to know about TEFL, soak away your troubles in a rejuvenating thermal bath or settle into a cozy cafe while enjoying cakes and pastries. Before you get too comfy, though, try your hand at learning the magyar language. It’s a doozy for English speakers, but will pay off if you make an effort to speak it. You’ll come to know the Hungarian people’s expressive and straightforward way during TEFL courses in Hungary, and begin to feel confident exploring traditional villages and the castle-scaped countryside.
With a foot in both Eastern and Western Europe, Hungary has maintained its old-world style in a way that’s easily accessible. As tourism is picking up, so is the demand for English teachers, creating the ideal environment to earn your TEFL certificate and actually be able to find English teaching jobs in Hungary when you’re through.
Divided by the Danube River into two cities: Buda and Pest, Budapest as a whole blends both the medieval and modern. Architecture and history-lovers will be come alive in historic Buda. Castle Hill is a blast from the distant past with medieval houses, churches, and monuments still intact (pretty cool considering that the city has been twice rebuilt!). Once you’ve had your history lesson, simply walk across the Széchenyi Chain Bridge to the more modern Pest. There, take a ride on the oldest subway line in mainland Europe to the Széchenyi Spa Baths at the northern end of City Park. This year-round thermal bath is one of the largest in Budapest and is a cultural hub where both men and women catch up on gossip. You might also witness games of chess being played on floating chessboards.
Budapest may be the heart of the action and where the majority of TEFL programs in Hungary are based, but take a look beyond the capital to some of Hungary’s smaller cities or villages too, where you can more easily connect with locals and become a real part of the community.
Hungary’s second-largest city, Debrecen sits just west of the Hortobágy National Park and is optimal for nature lovers. Being Hungary and all, you’ll also find hot thermal baths, beautifully maintained architecture, and festivals and community gatherings for all to enjoy. The Flower Carnival in mid-August is one such example as millions of blooms grace the city.
If city life is not your thing, you can also find TEFL programs and teaching jobs in the rural areas of Hungary. Studying and teaching in a village or rural setting allows you to spend your time befriending the locals and living as the magyar people do (and less time speaking English).
TEFL Programs in Hungary
Earning TEFL certification in Hungary not only provides you with a chance to teach English abroad, it also allows you to immerse yourself in a new environment, see a different way of life, and realize your potential. Hungarians take education seriously, and therefore have a high standard for ESL teachers. This also means that TEFL certification is generally required to get an ESL job in Hungary, so if your goal is to teach English in Hungary, you’ll are on the right track.
One major bonus of taking TEFL courses in Hungary is the flexibility it affords. You can find TEFL courses in Hungary that last anywhere from four to twelve weeks, full-time or part-time, and with customizable add-ons to suit your interests, such as specialized programs for teaching English for business or tourism professionals as well as to children. While earning TEFL certification in Hungary you’ll also develop a network of fellow TEFL-enthusiasts, with a mostly in-person class format.
With many TEFL programs in Hungary, there is also a variety of total course hours required for certification. It’s worth noting that generally the minimum number of hours accepted globally is 120, of which at least ten should be hands-on, practical teaching. Most TEFL programs in Hungary will meet this standard, but keep this in mind as you research programs. If your practical teaching component is with local students, that will give you a leg up when you look for a TEFL job in Hungary too. Also, finding a TEFL program in Hungary that will go the distance to help you find a job will especially benefit those who have no prior teaching experience.
Costs & Affordability
Hungary is not a place to get rich teaching English abroad, but it’s an affordable destination to complete TEFL certification abroad. Most English teachers can survive on a typical salary in Hungary, with a little leftover to travel on the weekends. For folks exchanging U.S. Dollars or Euros, the exchange rate will be favorable, and compared to other European hot spots, Hungary is a bargain.
TEFL courses in Hungary run anywhere from $1300 to $2000 for a four-week, 120-hour program. This price also will typically include airport transfer upon arrival, some sort of orientation or welcome program, and of course, TEFL instruction. Along with the instruction, course materials are also generally included, and some programs offer bonuses too, like unlimited internet access at the school or free language lessons.
Round-trip airfare, personal expenses for meals, visa costs, and upfront expenses, like apartment deposits, are generally not included. Plan ahead for these expenses, which can add up quickly. The good news is that once you arrive in Hungary, you’ll find a lower cost of living, especially in smaller towns or rural areas.
Public transportation is super-cheap throughout the country. If you’re hungary for a tasty meal (hardy-har!), in Budapest, lunch will cost you under ten bucks, and outside the tourist centers, you can fill your stomach for under five dollars. For an even better deal and total authenticity, check out Hungarian kolbice (street food). You can find a meal for as little as a dollar.
If you need a little extra help funding your TEFL program in Huungary, consider fundraising to get you there.
Accommodation & Visas
Whether you are staying in Hungary just your TEFL program or far beyond, enjoy life as a local by living in an apartment. Walk down the street to the cornerstore market and get to know your neighbors. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be invited over for a sip of pálinka and a traditional Hungarian dinner of goulash. Every family seems to have their own delicious version of the meaty stew.
Housing in Hungary’s cities is made up of a combination of modern apartments and old block towers left over from the days of communism. Don’t be scared off by the drab exteriors; many flats have been renovated on the inside and are updated and comfortable. In rural areas, accommodations may not be as up-to-date, but are usually lower in price.
As part of the Schengen zone, citizens of the EU, U.S., Canada, and Australia can travel freely in Hungary, as well as in other Schengen countries, for up to 90 days within a 180 day period. Be sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your intended return date. If you have an EU passport, you can stay and work without a visa. For non-EU passport holders, your employer will typically provide you with the necessary paperwork to obtain a work visa. One caution: it can be tricky to switch from a tourist visa to a work visa in country, so depending on your home country, don’t be surprised if a trip home is required.
Be sure to check out GoAbroad’s Hungarian Embassy Directory for current visa application requirements.
Benefits & Challenges
Completing TEFL certification in Hungary will allow you to experience the beauty of old-world Europe in a country that highly values education. Although there’s plenty to see in Hungary itself, it’s also ideally situated for exploring both Eastern and Western Europe.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of living in Hungary is mastering the complicated and unique Hungarian language. It’s a formidable opponent for English speakers. In fact, English is closer to Russian and Sinhala (a Sri Lankan language) than Hungarian. The pronunciation is different from English, and it’s easy to get tripped up by the unusual sounds and scary-long words like viszontlátásra (goodbye). Despite the tough go at learning the language, on the upside, you’ll be able to relate to your students. Knowing what it’s like trying to learn a new language will make you a more compassionate TEFL teacher.
More good news: the Hungarian education system places high value on English. School children must learn English in order to attend university. Not only do many young people speak English, but it’s also a welcoming environment for English teachers. Therefore, need for teachers is high, and your students will be top notch.
In Hungary, the past is still alive, and the future is bright. From folk dancing and ancient architecture to newly-constructed parks and museums, Hungarians embrace their history while welcoming renewal. Completing TEFL certification in Hungary will allow you to see what it’s all about while discovering your capabilities, unlocking your potential, and helping others. Can’t beat that!