I was with CETP in 2013 for 6 months. I experienced both good and bad.
Here is my honest review...
The placement fee that CETP charges is high. There's no question about that. What you earn as a teacher does not offset the administrative fees. If you plan to enroll in the program, make sure you have some savings already, which will make your life infinitely easier.
The salary you're given is basically only enough to cover basic necessities, but Hungary is quite cheap especially in the countryside, which is where I was living. You can expect to eat well. I was dining out every night in restaurants as the food was incredibly cheap and delicious.
From what I understand, even full-time teachers employed by the state aren't earning that much more than foreigners. I knew many local Hungarian teachers who were holding down 2-3 jobs on top of teaching full-time, which is quite sad, but that's the situation.
Housing was sufficient and is covered by CETP. I lived in an old communist block-style building. There were some growing pains especially in the beginning with regards to malfunctioning appliances and intermittent power outtages, but a quick phone call to my in-school contact and the situation was fixed.
Unfortunately my flat was right next to a disco, which kept me up all night on weekends. Eventually I got used to the noises, but for the first month or so it was quite trying.
In my opinion, this is what you are paying CETP for, and it's worth it.
The visa process in Europe for a non-European is ridiculously over-complicated. If not sponsored by a company already, non-EU citizens end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars just to secure a visa/work/residence permit, which CETP provides as part of the placement fee.
I have already experienced what it's like trying to get a work/residence permit on my own in Slovakia, and it was a brutal experience with me ending up in jail, so believe me when I say that paying CETP to do this for you is well worth it.
All of my communication with CETP went smoothly and I was helped out whenever I needed anything.
Hajni (CETP's in-country director) is very pleasant and accommodating. She visited me when I was having some trouble with my teaching placement and she was able to find a solution that worked out for everyone involved.
Hungarians in general are extremely generous and welcoming. At no point did I not feel welcome and in fact I was somewhat of a 'celebrity'. I was even asked to stay longer, but I knew it was time to move on.
I think most teachers will agree with me that teaching English in Hungary is a rewarding experience. Your attitude dictates everything. I had my good days and bad days, but in the end I came out a better person for it.
I appreciate what CETP did for me, which was show me the door to Europe. CETP didn't give me my dream placement, but they showed me how I could get it, and now I am living my dream life in a different European country.
Living in Hungary is both sad and beautiful at the same time. What CETP does is give you a taste of what life is like in a different country (and a somewhat impoverished one at that). Some people will love it, but others won't. If you come with an open mind and a few extra dollars, you will be much better off.
In my short time with CETP, I was exposed to life in a new place. It was my first time living abroad and I gained invaluable experience.
I made some life-long connections while in Hungary and I left with a heavy heart.
Would I recommend CETP?
You bet! Just don't expect the world from them, and temper your expectations, especially when it comes to choosing where you want to work.
If you truly love teaching and want to gain international teaching experience, this just might be the program for you.
Or if you just want to experience living in a new country and have some extra cash to burn, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If you're like me and just want to move to Europe, I don't think there's a better opportunity anywhere else at the moment, unless you are willing to lay the groundwork yourself and secure a teaching job and visa on your own.