Hungary is an Eastern Europe gem attracting culture, history and culinary enthusiasts. Part of the former Soviet Union, Hungary experienced some hardships but now has a growing economy. Through the East-meets-West cosmopolitan capital of Budapest and the bucolic countryside, internships in Hungary provide students with an unforgettable -- and fruitful -- experience.
With high rates of foreign investment, several global companies in the financial, automotive, electronics and biotechnology sectors thrive across Hungary. While working in a new environment, students will not only develop the necessary skills to dive headfirst into their future careers, but also the ability to work in a culturally-diverse workplace.
Hungary has received $98 billion in Foreign Direct Investment since 1989, the majority funneling to automotive, software development and life sciences industries, according to the U.S. Department of State. Suffice to say, there are numerous opportunities for interns of all sectors, though most students seek placements in business, medical, or IT fields.
Business students focusing on accounting, finance, operations, administration and human resources will find many opportunities in Hungary. While most of these internships are located in the Budapest, there may also be a chance to live in the countryside.
Pre-medical and nursing students have the opportunity to shadow and provide healthcare services in a variety of settings, including different sectors in either small clinics or larger hospitals. By working alongside doctors and medical professionals, students see how the field functions outside their home countries.
Global companies don’t just need accountants and project managers -- they also depend on the information technology experts to function. Students will be mentored and trained in their focus in an international environment, perfect for proving cross-cultural skills to a future employer.
Planning Your Internship
Best Time to Get an Internship in Hungary
Students will find opportunities year round, but most companies offer the bulk of their internships during the summer. Landlocked with a variety of climatic zones influencing weather, Hungary tends to be most pleasant in summer, when average temperatures range 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unlike other parts of Europe, Hungary is an affordable destination for housing. Some internships arrange for shared housing with other interns, but if not, there are several websites you can use to find an apartment. Some students might even opt to stay in a hostel or Airbnb for the duration of their internship in Hungary.
Cost of Living
Though you may be on a budget, you’ll still be able to experience some of Hungary’s most celebrated activities, such as baths and tea houses.
According to Numbeo and Expatisan, apartment prices range from $200-1,000 depending on the area in which you choose to live. Groceries run relatively cheap compared to other European countries and even the U.S., with milk and bread running around $1.50 each. Public transportation is affordable (usually around $30/month), and a meal out is typically $12 or less.
Americans with internships less than three months can enter Hungary under a 90-day tourist visa. If your internship duration is longer, it’s likely your internship provider (or if you secure an internship directly with the company) will sponsor your internship visa for the duration of your stay.
Be sure to greet with a handshake and look people in the eye. Always arrive on time and be sure to look your best -- Hungarians tend prefer formal business attire in the workplace. The Hungarian style of direct negotiations might feel rough for North Americans. When making important decisions, it’s best to be face-to-face as opposed to over the phone or email. Business, like other aspects of life, is relationship based, and though it might take time to build them, nurturing social ties will prove strategic as well as fulfilling. Open communication and solving problems in one sitting is important.
Health & Safety
Though Hungary is a safe and easy destination for most travelers, you shouldn’t ignore certain precautions. All travelers should come with routine vaccinations and additionally the hepatitis series and rabies, should you want to be extra cautious.
Tap water is safe to drink in Hungary, and street food is generally okay to consume. Just be sure to exercise the same caution you would in any other destination. The U.S. Department of State advises to be aware of potential terrorist threats and for minatory groups -- including LGBTQ and Jewish individuals -- to avoid public confrontation with ethnic nationalist groups.