Teach English in Hungary- the following comments are from English teachers who have taught, or currently teach English in Hungary.
I am teaching English in Hungary. I finished the CELTA course in August here in Budapest at International House and by the second half of September I started work. I cannot take on any more students I am fully booked! I have various classes to give the range is from a 6 year old boy to a group of bankers who need business English. It is still rather scary but I am getting the much needed teaching experience.
If you’re thinking of doing the CELTA, then Budapest is THE place to do it. It was quite intensive, but very rewarding, and it certainly equipped me for life as an EFL teacher. The staff and other teachers at IH Budapest were friendly and helpful, and the trainers were excellent. They have a lot of experience and knowledge, and were very supportive. The school is a short tram ride form the city centre, so when you have a spare moment, you can get out there and explore one of the most exciting cities in the new Europe.
There is plenty of work in Hungary for an EFL teacher. Degree and CELTA are usually not necessary. Being a native speaker is enough. Schools do not usually advertise, so it is better to mail your CV around. Working conditions are not always the best and nor are the salaries, but you will get a lot of private work once you are settled in. Hungarians want to pass an exam rather than learn a language, so most of your time you will be teaching study skills and practising pass papers.
Hungary is not the ideal place to teach English at present due to the economy. The number of students in language schools is drastically declining and schools are closing down. Working conditions are far from ideal. Most schools only hire on a freelance basis.
Budapest is a beautiful city, and a great place to live and teach English – but, like anywhere, it’s best to get to know the locals to truly feel at home, and help overcome the culture shock which inevitably sets in after the initial “honeymoon” period… Also, because foreigners moving here often do not undertake learning Hungarian, they have to rely on advice from other foreigners to figure out the ins and outs. If you do your homework well, you can find good language schools to work with, but some of them are not reliable in paying, disorganized, or not too fair, like sending you to travel hours to companies at the end of the world without extra compensation. If you have any questions about working in Budapest, please feel free to contact me: email@example.com
I did 7 years in Nyiregyhaza (north east Hungary). Perhaps not always the most financially rewarding of experiences, but a great place to live. As has been mentioned, most Hungarians regard learning as being able to pass exams. This is not always (or even usually) the same as speaking the language. As a result, you will hear the phrase ‘I need grammar’ a lot. Formal qualifications are not really a requirement outside of state schools, as being a native speaker is enough to get you work in the language schools and with private students. In terms of pay, Hungary has its ups and downs, but when I left in 2010, the economy was really on the skids, and students were hard to find. When it all gets better, I will be back there like a shot.
My general advice to anyone interested in teaching in Hungary; is to show up and pound the pavement. Currently there is work and plenty of it in Budapest and even in the smaller towns. The pay won’t be great, but if you can build up enough hours of teaching either in corporations, schools or with privates then one can live pretty well.
For non-europeans I would strongly suggest considering what your visa options are and to realize that most schools will not provide you with any assistance with this issue. Instead I might suggest that one focus on getting the work and then.. perhaps… looking into the necessary residence permit/visas.
Be prepared for xenophobia and racism. Educate yourself on the current political atmosphere and The Jobbik Party, which has been called “the new voice of the neo-nazis”.
I’m teaching in Hungary now, and at this point, there seem to be plenty of students for qualified teachers. So if you’re thinking about teaching in Budapest– come join us!
I would, however, strongly recommend that you have a degree and a good teaching certification, because it will be much easier to find a job, and you’ll be able to earn more teaching private lessons, too. The two best qualifications are the CELT and the CELTA– Language schools will always hire someone with a CELT or CELTA over someone without a certification or just an online certification. Both courses are offered here in Budapest- you can find info about the CELTA at ih.hu or the CELT at katedra.hu. The CELTA is the most famous one, but the CELT is actually exactly the same thing…just a bit cheaper. You can also choose a CELT course where you meet just 3 times a week for 6 weeks instead of every day, which gives you the opportunity to explore the city on your days off, or even start teaching some lessons. Plus, if you do one of those courses here in Budapest, the school where you take it will almost always hire you afterwards if you pass. So it’s basically a guaranteed job!
If you’re already certified, the best time to find work is probably September/October. It’s harder to find work in the summer, unless you land something temporary at a camp or with a specific summer program. But to be honest there are probably better opportunities for those in other countries.
Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for more advice.