Located in the heart of Central Europe, Hungary is a beautiful country with many things to offer. Budapest is the capital and largest city, which boasts a number of old medieval castles, cultural events and all around good vibes. Generally speaking, Hungarian people are very welcoming and they really like to have fun. The best part about living in Hungary that everything is much cheaper than most countries in the EU. The currency is called the Forint and you can a great bang for your buck. Hungary is a wonderful place to take a gap year; there’s always something new to explore!
If you’re thinking about taking a gap year in Hungary, then you’re in for a real treat. There are tons of options that you can consider, each with a guarantee of a life-changing experience. The following are some of the most common reasons why people chose to take a gap year in Hungary.
Hungary is a huge draw for all backpackers and travelers alike. It’s just a short train ride from Bratislava, Prague, Vienna and Munich. Perhaps the biggest draw is the affordability. Hungary isn’t on the expensive Euro currency, so prices are drastically cheaper (food, nightlife, taxis etc.) Despite Budapest being the main attraction to visit in Hungary, there are also lots of cool neighboring towns/villages that are worth seeing for a more authentic Hungarian experience.
Because so many backpackers come through, you’ll never have a problem finding a hostel or a cheap place to stay around the country. Learning about the history, exploring the colorful neighborhoods, and being amazing by the medieval castles are just a few reasons why you’ll never want to leave Hungary.
While Hungary isn’t the most popular place to teach English, there are plenty of opportunities. Aside from Budapest, there are many other cities with a demand for English teachers. Unfortunately, just being a native English speaker with a college degree usually isn’t enough to get a teaching job. You must have some sort of proof that you can teach, such as a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Certificate or previous work teaching English abroad.
It’s quite hard to find a recruiter online for a teaching gig, so your best bet is to know someone or find a job when you’ve already arrived in the country. Average monthly salaries are typically around $1000 USD/month for a 20 hour work week, sometimes including free rent. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s plenty of money to live freely in Hungary because everything is very cheap. A huge benefit to teaching in Hungary is that you can explore around Central/Eastern Europe on the weekends and vacations! English Teaching Salaries in Hungary.
The Hungarian economy has been rapidly growing due to the foreign investments coming from other countries. Therefore, Hungary is becoming increasingly popular destination for internships. The Budapest area offers a variety of opportunities that can meet any of your professional goals. Whether you want to be a business man, a teacher or work for a non-profit, there are many openings to find the right job for you. Reap the benefits of low corporate taxes, strong labor investments and monetary freedoms by getting an internship in Hungary.
Planning Your Trip
There are many ways in which you can prepare for your gap year in Hungary. While the language might appear to be difficult, it will be worthwhile to learn a few words so you can communicate and show your respect. At the very least, learn the words for “Hello, how are you, please, thank you, goodbye.” Secondly, Hungary has a rich and diverse culture, and has been ruled by several different Kingdoms throughout brutal wars. Do some research to educate yourself about the history, culture, and lifestyle so nothing will come as a shock to you.
Cost of Living in Hungary
Compared to almost every Western/Central European country, living in Hungary is extremely affordable. Of course, Budapest is going to be much more expensive than any outside city, but everything is still inexpensive. You can enjoy buying food, beverages, beer, and souvenirs without feeling like your lighting money on fire. However, the cost of living isn’t as nice when it comes to shopping for clothes and buying accessories, so make sure to do all of that before you arrive. As long as you avoid the tourist restaurants and shopping places, and you can comfortably live on $20-30/day (not including rent). Cost of Living in Hungary.
Culture and Etiquette in Hungary
Hungarians are quite homogenous people. They don’t intrude on your personal space and they are almost always respectful. When people first meet each other, it is customary to shake hands. If you are good friends, then it’s common to kiss each other on both cheeks. Don’t be afraid or timid, just be yourself and you’ll be respected. Hungarians are very social (with one another) and they like to drink. Frequently, Hungarians will grab a beer at a bar with their friends, and have a fun night on the town. Try to make some local friends! The food in Hungary is amazing- with lots of meat and potatoes. Their national dish is Goulash, which a hearty meat stew with vegetables and paprika.
Health and Safety in France
Hungary is pretty safe from violent crime, but property crime is a problem. In recent years, there have been lots of houses being robbed, cars stolen and people getting pick pocketed. That being said, your personal health and safety will be safe, as long as your don’t do anything dumb (like walking down a dark alley by yourself).
As far as food and vaccinations go, Hungary is a harmless place. All food is eatable and you can even drink the tap water. You do not need to get any shots or vaccinations prior to your trip to Hungary.
Contributed by Drew Goldberg
Gap Year Programs in Hungary
Other Gap Year Programs in Central Europe
Not enough options in Hungary? Check out these Gap Year programs in Central Europe!