Central European Teaching Program

Central European Teaching Program


CETP exists to benefit young people in the formerly socialist countries of Central Europe by providing public schools in the region with native-speaking English teachers.


United States


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I just completed one year in Miskolc, Hungary as an English teacher in two schools. I had such a good time that I am extending to do another year! I would definitely recommend CETP to those interested in teaching in Europe: it is near impossible to get a working visa and support without the help of a program like CETP.

Not only is Hungary a fun place to be, it is also a springboard for some great and cheap travels. I was able to find some dirt cheap flights to other European destinations - and while the local pay in Hungary isn't great, proper budgeting can be a big help.

If you're looking for a laid back lifestyle, enjoy working with kids/teens, and aren't afraid of a challenge - sign up for CETP in Hungary!

How can this program be improved?
The orientation was unorganized.
Yes, I recommend this program
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I taught English in Budapest through CETP this year and had a really great time! Great deal if you’re a non-EU citizen with no prior connections to Hungary, who wants to teach English in Europe and make the most out of your TEFL certificate.

There are many pay-for-placement programs out there, but CETP is not one of those. The program fee of $2500 includes:
- Your housing paid upfront. In Budapest, housing for a year would usually cost more than the total program fee, and you don’t have to do the work yourself signing a lease.
- Your immigration work. This alone is worth it, as going through Hungarian bureaucracy as a non-EU citizen without speaking the language is virtually impossible. You’d probably end up paying hundreds of dollars for a third-party service anyway.
- A week-long orientation
- A Facebook group
- A little community of other teachers
- Support from Hajni, a woman works as your go-to person in Hungary for any issues (medical, personal, and otherwise), and Mary, who is the American director.
- Etc.

CETP itself is an agency that acts as a middleman between you and your school + the Hungarian government, so your experience can vary based on the school you are hired for.

But most people are satisfied and many even come back for multiple years. Just keep your expectations realistic. Some things to note:

- Don’t expect 5-star accommodations
- Understand that the job you get won’t be glamorous or high-paying like teaching in Asia.
- You’ll have to budget if you want to travel.
- You may not have air conditioning or other luxuries.
- CETP isn’t there to care for you, and you do have to be kind of self-reliant and have some grit during your time abroad.
- If you live in Budapest, you will definitely not live in the city center unless you maybe pay extra, but public transportation is very good.
- Cultural tensions may exist, as in some Hungarian co-teachers and colleagues can be difficult to work with.
- With regards to living in Hungary, the culture and attitude is very different from the U.S. and if you’re not mindful, this can be draining. At banks and offices, service is very slow and there is no sense of efficiency. Hungarians can also come off as negative and pessimistic compared to Americans and even Western Europeans (but they’re great once you get to know them!).
- Bring some savings with you.
- Although I was paid right away, a few people from other schools didn't get their first check until November (three months of pay at once). Bring savings or a credit card with a high limit, or ask your school director ahead of time for pay details.

As long as you note these things and have a positive, resilient attitude, you should enjoy yourself. From my experience, the few people who were dissatisfied with the program usually didn’t keep one or more these things in mind, but even of those few, most adapted.

Overall, I’d highly recommend CETP!

How can this program be improved?
- Communication could be a little clearer sometimes
- Maybe throw a few happy hours during the year!
Yes, I recommend this program
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I have had experience teaching abroad in other contexts, and I can say that CETP surpassed all my expectations. They provide support, a network of other teach-abroads, and lots of opportunities to explore the region. They deal with all the annoying administrative stuff and support you when needed. A great program! I only wish that they could still place teachers in Poland & Romania, as I would re-enlist. Thank you!

Yes, I recommend this program
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I had a challenging but very rewarding time with CETP and I recommend it for those who can deal with things that aren't as smooth as home. While the fee is somewhere around $2500 (the first year -- $750 the second and later), given the complicated Hungarian bureaucracy which frequently loses your paperwork or makes mistakes and has to restructure things, it is worth it, especially if you are not fluent in Hungarian. Hajni, the in country program director, helps you IF YOU CALL HER. I was amazed how many people didn't ask for help when she could have made things smoother. She was amazing and drove all over Hungary to help those who needed help.

Another consideration is that, although you are getting the same pay as Hungarian colleagues, you are provided with FREE HOUSING (sometimes wifi or cable or phone are additional - depends on the situation). If you don't smoke or drink away your income, you have enough money. Although I had extra savings, I tried to live on my Hungarian salary and it was enough to visit local or neighboring countries. I made it to Vienna, Prague, Bratislava and Romania. But mainly I attended local festivals and nearby cities and towns.

The wide difference in experience depends on where you are placed. There are some lovely towns and there are some dirty, Soviet era industrial towns. But each location offers something.
In the northeast, it's a hop, skip and jump into the Ukraine and Slovakia. To the east and southeast you can easily visit Romania (and the beautiful Transylvanian mountains and cities) or go to Serbia. The incredible architecture of many of these cities is marvelous is you look beyond the ugliness of railway and bus terminals.

If you demand to teach Budapest, expect the cost of living to be higher and your housing will likely be out in the burbs and require some transportation challenges. If you want to live closer to where the action is, you may have to find a roommate. Or perhaps they will cover part of your housing and you'll have to kick in more because you want to be downtown. Budapest is a wonderful city, but I guarantee the rural and smaller city placements are more rewarding. I was in a town of about 25000, about an hour outside of Budapest. The first year, I clung to Budapest but by the second, I rarely needed to go there because my shopping skills in Hungarian had improved and I had made friends and developed activities with local Hungarians.
I wish I could have stayed longer.

Some schools are well organized and supportive of the native English teachers -- others less so. I am a loud teacher but very quiet once the day is done - almost introverted -- and it was heaven to go home to my own little flat and quietly work on lessons or Skype with family back home. I developed my own social groups - playing board games, bicycling, yoga - often not understanding Hungarian but making my way.

Hungarians are reserved until they trust you and you show respect for their customs, privacy, etc. By the end of the second year, my heart was broken to have to leave. The second year my lessons and cordial relationships with colleagues went so much better. I recommend this program. The biggest problems are those of getting the paperwork done and the perhaps over the top expectations of a few of the participants.

How can this program be improved?
I would ask that in locations where you have more than one school to teach at, that the location of the flat or housing be in a better location. It would be nice to have a designated flat in each location, but at this point it's not possible in all towns and cities.

I also wish that the orientation focused more on dealing with issues based on problems or challenges found in the past. The American CETP teachers who have stayed on are a very important source of information.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

Yes, I recommend this program


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