Central European Teaching Program in Hungary
84% Rating
(27 Reviews)

Central European Teaching Program in Hungary

The Central European Teaching Program represents a significant presence in Hungary. CETP has been placing conversational English teachers in Central and European Europe since 1990. Our volunteers are responsible for enhancing student's oral fluency through conversation practice, classroom drills, games, audio-visual instruction and listening comprehension, as well as through working closely with native teachers to emphasize important grammar concepts. High school teachers may be asked to help prepare students for stringent national language exams as well.

Locations
Europe » Hungary
Length
6-12 Months
Salary / Benefits
All CETP teachers receive the same pay as the native teachers in their schools. With the current rate of exchange, this averages to USD 500 per month. All pay is in Hungarian forint. Each school set up a bank account for the CETP teacher from which he or she can make cash withdrawals (checking accounts are still a foreign concept in Hungary.
Currency
USD
Other Locations
Budapest, Pecs, Debrecen, Szeged, Tata, Rural Areas

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    80%
  • Support
    83%
  • Fun
    77%
  • Facilities
    77%
  • Safety
    90%

Program Reviews (27)

Default avatar
Melody
Female
62 years old
Freeville

Wonderful experience in a less than easy bureaucratic system

10/10

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.

Default avatar
C
Male
36 years old
Slovakia
York University

An honest review of CETP...

7/10

I was with CETP in 2013 for 6 months. I experienced both good and bad.

Here is my honest review...

Fees/Salary/Housing:

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.

Support:

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.

Intangibles:

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.

Overall:

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.

Default avatar
Kathryn
Female
Luxembourg
Ohio State University

The perfect program if you want to teach in Europe

10/10

I taught in Hungary for three years with CETP. I highly recommend this program if you are looking for a teaching job in Europe. Although the price of the program seemed high at first, I can say it was worth it because of the support I received from the program. I arrived in Hungary after the orientation and was picked up by the hungarian director of the program and driven to my flat where my contact teacher was waiting for me with food and water. For three years I had a place to live and was given support in and out of the classroom. Any time I had a problem I always had the necessary avenues available to me to solve the problem. I had help with the permit process, which can be cumbersome in Europe. I am so thankful for my time teaching in Hungary and I highly recommend this program to others who would like an opportunity to work and live in Europe.

Default avatar
Kate
Female
32 years old
United States
Saint Michael's College

Highly Recommended!

10/10

Teaching abroad in Hungary through CETP is one of the best decisions I have made for both my professional and personal development. From the beginning, Mary Rose and Hajni were extremely supportive and offered assistance both before and during my stay in Hungary. I will always remember the first Skype conversation I had with Mary where I instantly became interested in pursuing this rare opportunity because of her great enthusiasm for the program as well as for the country of Hungary itself. Her descriptions of the community she entered long ago as an English teacher in Hungary inspired me to take the leap out of my comfort zone and into the world of international education.
As a certified, working elementary school teacher in the United States, I voiced my interest early on in developing myself professionally during my time in Hungary. Mary was quick to discuss the current openings available in the program and was able to identify the program that would work best for me. I worked for a program called “The Foundation” in Budapest, which is a program specifically for teachers who are certified. As I began to put together my paperwork, Mary continued to be extremely supportive, answering questions as they arose. I could email or call Mary anytime during the process and found that she was extremely efficient and helpful in her responses.
Mary also put me in contact with Jennifer, a teacher already teaching in Budapest through CETP. Jennifer provided valuable advice and I knew immediately that I could ask her anything about her experience or about CETP and would receive honest information in return. Jennifer’s familiarity with the CETP process, the city of Budapest, and the challenges of living in a foreign country was impressive and gave me a better understanding of the adventure I had chosen for myself. Her personable demeanor and sense of humor instantly eased the anxiety I had about picking up my comfortable life and moving to another country, which I knew next to nothing about.
Arriving in Budapest felt almost like an out-of-body experience. I was jet-lagged, anxious, and had absolutely no idea what to expect for the next 10 months of my life. When I landed Budapest I was greeted at the airport by Mary, Hajni, and a handful of other CETP’ers. While this was the first time I had met Mary and Hajni, their kindness and smiles made me feel as though I had known them for a lifetime. Myself and the other CETP’ers in the group were quickly led to an airport shuttle provided by Mary and Hajni and we were brought to our hostel in downtown Budapest. I can still remember the orientation in Budapest as one of my favorite parts of my experience in Hungary. CETP orientation was filled with information on Hungarian geography, cultural norms, and teaching expectations. Some of the cultural norms that I learned during orientation were essential to my integration into Hungarian culture. For example, I learned from Mary and Hajni that problems MUST be voiced in Hungary. They told us over and over to be vocal about issues that we encounter in order to be helped. Without question, every time I asked for help in Hungary, whether it was an issue I had with my flat or an inquiry about Hungarian health insurance, I was helped.
Orientation was also an unforgettable experience for me because it helped me to make the friends I would spend a great deal of time with while in Hungary. The friends I met through the CETP program became my travel companions and support system during this unique experience. I met some of the people I still consider my best friends today during that week of Orientation.
I taught third grade in a primary school in the heart of Budapest. From the beginning, I was welcomed by both my students and Hungarian colleagues. I worked with a Hungarian co-teacher and taught English through subjects such as Science, Mathematics, Art, and Music. I learned new teaching techniques from my teacher and shared my own strategies with her in order to create a positive learning environment for our students. The students were eager to learn and made coming to work each day very enjoyable. Outside of my 24 in-class hours, I also spent many hours a week planning engaging lessons for my students. The number of hours I spent each week was dependent on the skills and difficulty of the tasks I chose to create or implement.
Hajni’s support during my CETP experience was definitely worth the financial cost of the CETP program. When a group of my friends and I had our rental car broken into on a trip out of the county, Hajni was quick to offer her assistance. Hajni met us promptly upon our return to Budapest and used her Hungarian to ensure that we would not be charged for any damages due to our earlier purchase of zero-liability insurance. Acting as our Hungarian mother, Hanji asked us repeatedly if we were all okay and if there was anything else should could help us with before leaving the rental car facility.
Finally, I cannot express how grateful I am to Hajni for her support and guidance while I dealt with some unexpected health issues during my time in Hungary. The first time I called Hajni voicing a concern I had over my health, she dropped everything she was doing, came to my flat, and took me to see a reputable doctor immediately. The comfort of having a familiar, nurturing figure like Hajni to support me during this process was absolutely worth my investment in the CETP program. I can say with confidence that I cannot imagine my experience in Hungary without the unwavering support of the CETP staff.

Default avatar
MYB
Male
32 years old
Boston, MA
George Washington University

Response to Review

10/10

I am writing in response to a negative review. In 2012, I was CETP participant and I lived in a small village in the southernmost point of Hungary. It was one of the most rewarding, educational, and enjoyable experiences of my life. While it requires a fee, the services and benefits the program provides are far superior to any other program in the region. Personally, I didn’t realize the bargain I was receiving until a year later when I moved to a new country and tried to attain a visa on my own.

In the summer of 2012, I flew to Europe armed with a TEFL certificate. I spent the summer working at an English language summer camp in Croatia. Afterwards I planned to move to Prague and find work. I had been told by multiple agencies that there were many English jobs in Prague and that the visa process was simple and efficient. I arrived in Prague to find out that both of these were incorrect. State schools were not looking for teachers. Language schools wanted teachers with years of experience. Most of the teachers I met worked as tutors or at day cares. The visa process was also a huge ideal. Most teachers came and applied to be the equivalent of an independent contractor. In order to apply for the visa, applicants needed to sign a lease to a flat, pay large fees, organize their own insurance, medical records, and twice travel to a foreign country to interview at a consulate. Nothing was guaranteed either. After two weeks of searching I was offered a teaching job for two hours a week. I realized things weren’t to meant to be in Prague and it was time to look for other programs. That’s when I found CETP.

I came to Europe because I wanted to give teaching a try. My undergraduate degree was not in Education and in my home state I would have needed to earn a master’s degree in order to apply for a teaching job. The beauty of CETP is that it’s one of the only programs in Europe that guarantee’s a job in a real classroom. Not language school classes that meet at random hours, but a school that brings you into their community. I was fortunate enough to work at boarding school which taught students ranging in age from five to nineteen. This gave me the most complete experience, as I was able to work with all age levels. A year later I applied to work at an elite state school in another EU country where my girlfriend was living. What set me apart from other applicants was my experience teaching in a state school and working with all different ages.

My appreciation for the services CETP provided grew immensely this past year. Last spring I was offered the position at the elite school in a new EU country. However, it was up to me to secure the visa. Without the help of CETP I had to battle through the language barriers, bureaucracy, and changing visa laws on my own. I had to hire an agent, travel to five different countries to acquire paperwork and participate in interviews, and spend hours waiting in lines. It ultimately took nine months for the visa to arrive and the whole process cost about the same as the CETP program fees. Finding housing, insurance, medical services, and other assistance was whole other ordeal.

In terms of the reviewer's claims, it’s clear she had misconceptions of life abroad and probably a false sense of entitlement. For not having to pay a fee I can’t understand her audacity to complain. Granted it’s difficult to work with young children, they’re hyperactive and don’t like to sit still. It’s hard to get them to sit quietly in a circle and listen, especially if it’s in a foreign language they don’t understand. However, the benefit’s of them hearing a second language at their young age is crucial due to the plasticity of their developing brains.

Secondly, she complains that her flat isn’t in the center of Budapest. What she might not realize is that most people don’t live in the touristy areas of their home city but in the surrounding neighborhoods which are more suitable for daily life. Similarly most American’s wouldn’t want to live in Time Square. It’s also clear that she has no idea how hard it is to find an affordable flat in a foreign country where she doesn’t speak the language. From firsthand experience it’s very time consuming and pricey.

Thirdly, few teachers would complain about working eight hours, many are fighting tooth and nail to land as many teaching hours as possible. Hour long commutes are part of many peoples’ workdays whether they are Hungarian or American.

Also, she complains that as a first year teacher she is earning an entry level Hungarian teacher salary. It’s true that some teachers get paid more but that’s because they have at least two years or more of teaching experience. Perhaps she has limited real world work experience but in most professions employees who have more experience get paid more.

During orientation Hajni states very clearly that she will be your Hungarian mother. She 100% backed up this claim. During my stay she would check in with me and make sure everything was going well. If there was ever a problem she would rapidly respond and find an immediate solution. Ultimately she was there to help participants no matter their problem, whether it be medical emergencies, finding themselves lost on a train, or teachers having problems with their school. Being in a foreign country and not being able to speak the language can be scary, ultimately I took solace knowing that she was just a phone call away.

In conclusion, CETP is not a scam but a comprehensive program that provides participants with a unique life and work experience. For a reasonable price participants are guaranteed a real classroom teaching job, visas, insurance, housing, a teacher liaison at their school, and 24-hour emergency assistance. CETP also provides an orientation program to help participants adjust to life in Hungary. List of contact information of fellow participants are provided and they send emails regarding cultural events that are happening. There are many things that are easy to miss when living in a non-English country, for instance daylight savings time, but CETP always keeps you in the loop. Living overseas can at times be a challenge but that’s part of the experience. My time in Hungary was amazing and I would highly recommend the program to anyone interested. While the fee may initially seem expensive, the services provided are well worth every penny.

Default avatar
Deb
Female
57 years old
Hungary
California State University- Sacramento

We are glad we found CETP and made our move to Hungary

10/10

I remember the day I found CETP while searching on the internet a few years ago. I was excited to have found such an opportunity and equally nervous about putting my trust in an organization that up until then I had never even heard of. Before moving my husband, our 8 year old daughter and myself half way across the world I wanted some reassurances that the organization was credible and not just another website on the internet. We researched and moved cautiously. Then, feeling more confident after many positive interactions with the organization over a period of months we decided to take the plunge. We are so happy that we did. Our experience with CETP as well as the school we were assigned to has been wonderful.

I specifically wanted to return to Hungary after living there for nearly two years in the 1990’s. What CETP offered seemed perfect. Neither my husband or I were teachers by profession, so we both got busy earning our TEFL certificates online to qualify. Because I already knew how difficult getting visas and finding living arrangements in Hungary could be for a foreigner I was confident the CETP fee was a very good value. We were thrilled to have found help in securing housing, arranging our visas, arranging our employment, handling the negotiations with an employer and signing us up for Hungarian healthcare. I was surprised that a program such as CETP would allow children, but they were happy to welcome our young daughter. They made a special effort to find an apartment to comfortably accommodate three of us. CETP even met us at the airport late at night and arranged our family’s transportation to our assigned apartment. They provided a week long orientation which helped our newbie-teacher-nervousness subside somewhat. Two evenings during orientation, we were CETP’s guests at two beautiful get-acquainted dinners with the other new teachers. Our experience was wonderful and made it logistically possible for our family to make the transition to Hungary from the USA. I don’t know how we would have accomplished it without them!

Mary Rose, the CETP representative in the USA, was a pleasure to work with and answered our many questions. She also has personal experience teaching English in Hungary and travels to Hungary for the orientation so we got to benefit from her stories of the classroom. Upon arrival in Hungary we met Hajni, who speaks English very well, and she has proven herself to be a miracle worker in many respects. She maintains professionalism, integrity and a delightful optimism while attending to the needs of teachers, schools and the challenges of Hungarian bureaucracy. She is well known and respected in the various immigration and national healthcare offices and can get the job done much faster than we ever could have done on our own. She keeps us informed of changes in Hungarian laws as they affect us or our contracts and helps us as needed. Hajni is also the in-country-person to call with any emergencies which is an invaluable reassurance to have built into a relocation to another country. Our family has had two separate medical emergencies and thankfully Hajni was available to assist us with language translation and support in the hospital. Although we try to be as self-reliant as we can, CETP has gone the extra mile for us when we need help. We are very happy to be in association with CEPT during our stay in Hungary.

The people running CETP very much want teachers to have a good experience. They also very much want the Hungarian schools to have good teachers. They will do all they realistically can to help teachers be successful. ESL teaching in Hungary is a real job in the real world complete with all the world’s usual flaws and complexities. Being adaptable is highly advised! With provided housing and healthcare the salary is enough to live here if you are accustomed to being sensible financially. You will be living at Hungarian standards, likely small spaces. Bring your professionalism and patience, an open mind to cultural differences, a sense of adventure and an unrelenting ability to see the good in all things whether or not they are logical or convenient. These things will serve you well in Hungary. If you remember that you are making a difference here and that the students need you, you just might never want to leave! I am glad we found CETP to see us through these joyful years of our Hungarian adventure!

Default avatar
H.M.W.
Female
42 years old
Hungary
Washington University in Saint Louis

Nothing more than a Pay-for-Placement Scheme

1/10

CETP really is nothing more than a for-profit company that charges teachers to be placed in schools. Those with good placements seem to enjoy their experience. In fact, it was the positive reviews that I read on here that led me to contact the organization last Nov. I was offered what appeared to be a great deal, a very significant discount, if I came immediately for a mid-semester replacement.
I was told I'd be "essentially lead teacher" at a bilingual kindergarten in the Buda hills and would have a centrally located apartment in the city. I was also told I'd have the same standard provisions in their general contract, i.e. Hungarian national teacher's wages/benefits, help getting permits, a bank account, health insurance, etc.
I arrived to discover the job was teaching assistant (nanny) to two Hungarian teachers that speak no English. In fact, no one in my classroom speaks English or cares to learn. Aside from a 15-minute circle time that I had to fight for, English is not spoken in the school. Since day 1, my primary job has been supervising toileting activities (which includes wiping each child after their bm's). The Hungarian teachers that I support say 'good morning' and 'goodbye', but otherwise do not acknowledge my presence.
Additionally, the school is not in Budapest but a village west of the city. Upon arrival, I was told my apartment fell through. After a week in a hotel, I was told the school director looked at more than 2 dozen apartments before finding the place they put me (which, I later discovered just happened to be owned by her husband). I have a 1 hour commute each way, am 45 minutes for the central area of the city, and have to walk more than 1/2 mile just to reach the bus stop. As a Kindergarten employee, I work 8 hour days (so 10 hours including commute).
A week after I arrived, I was told Kindergarten contracts are 6 weeks longer than others and I had to stay until end of July. My resident visa, which didn't arrive until 4 days before my tourist visa was set to expire, ends on my last day (which means I have to leave Hungary immediately). CETP is very vague about salary because teachers in the program receive a range of pay. Over a month ago, I discovered that I'm not even making the minimum national teacher's wage and, in fact, am barely making above Hungarian minimum wage. After initially doing some double-talk to justify my low wage, CETP said I'd start getting paid more...but it didn't actually happen. Moreover, I am paid in cash (so no bank account) and have yet to see any documentation of taxes paid on my behalf.
I could go on, but I've covered the most egregious points. CETP has not been helpful at all. Hajni, the in-country director, has actually lied to me so many times that I've now insisted all communication must be in writing. Twice CETP said I could transfer, only to later change their minds when a potential replacement backed out. Despite charging exorbitant fees to teachers, CETP places the schools' needs first. Oh, and if you want to leave, the schools will try to recoup all the taxes/benefits/rent costs that they claim to have spent.
There are many country-wide EFL programs in Europe (e.g. Spain, France, Georgia) that pay more and don't charge fees to teachers. If you really want Hungary and are willing to take the risk and pay the fee, be sure to speak to a former teacher at your potential placement. If there are none available (as was the case for my school), there's probably a good reason. Don't expect honest answers from CETP. They make a lot of money from this racket, and they have every intention of continuing to do so.

Response from Central European Teaching Program

Response from Central European Teaching Program to Nothing but a Pay for placement scheme

I am the US director of the Central European Teaching Program. I was heart-sick at this review from a woman who we invited to teach without paying any program fee whatsoever because the preschool needed a teacher desperately. She is a highly educated woman and I realize that this was not the ideal placement for her, but it was the only school that remained when she contacted me.
She wished to bring her dog over so the school director hunted high and low to find her an apartment that would accept an animal. She is living in one of the most luxurious districts in Budapest, where even Hungary's past president resides. And yes, it is about an hour commute from the school in a very lovely suburb but this is unfortunately the reality for most who live and work in the city or nearby. The school director's husband does not own the apartment.
She receives the mandated teacher's salary, has received her work and residence permit to be in Hungary legally, to include receiving government medical insurance.
I am most upset at her characterization of our wonderful Hungarian director, who is one of the world's truly kind and caring people.
I am sorry that this reviewer is so unhappy. We did try to replace her twice this spring, but since we were unable to find an immediate replacement for her, we felt an obligation to the school to leave her in place.
We have never been a pay-for-placement scheme. The 4 of us who comprise CETP work hard, make very little, and relish the role we are playing in providing good teachers to Hungary while giving Americans, Canadians, and others the opportunity to live in and love Hungary.

Submitted 04/02/2015

Default avatar
Grace
Female
32 years old
Budapest, Hungary
University of New Hampshire

Highly reccommended

10/10

I have been working in Hungary since August and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about my experience working with CETP. When I first considered applying for the program I was concerned about the seemingly high fee that the program charges. After all, we don't make a lot of money working here. However, the peace of mind and support that comes with teaching with CETP has been invaluable. I have always felt supported and cared for by Mary, Hajni, and Hildie and they have always been available to answer my questions.

The fee includes a week long orientation which was really wonderful. Honestly, I was leery about spending a week in a hostel with a bunch of strangers but I must say I met some wonderful people while I was there, people who have since become great friends. The hostel we stayed in was lovely and we were offered classes in Hungarian language, culture, and teaching methods. We also had plenty of free time to explore the city of Budapest and were treated to two lovely dinners.

If I had to offer one piece of advice to anyone considering applying for the program it would be to be honest with both yourself and CETP about what you want out of your time abroad. The women of CETP are wonderful but they are not mind readers. For instance, I was originally offered placements in either a town or a small city in different areas of Hungary. I talked with Mary about my options and told her that if it was possible I really hoped to be placed in a High School in Budapest. Fortunately, CETP was able to find one and I am so happy that I said something. Think about what it is that you really want. I personally wanted access to urban life. However, I have a close friend in the program who wanted to get away from it all and absolutely loves her placement in a tiny village. Be reasonable but also, you know yourself best, don't accept a placement that you don't think will work for you.

Also be aware that peoples' experiences vary greatly. I have friends who have loved their time here in Hungary and friends who were dissapointed with either their school, living situation, or town.

In my experience, my Hungarian colleagues have been wonderful. They have invited my into their lives and constantly go out of their way to help me with everything from finding a good cup of coffee to translating phone calls. My students too are wonderful and I really enjoy working with them every day.

That being said, it is a lot of work. I teach 22 classes per week and spend a good amount of my free time planning lessons or grading papers. This may vary for elementary school teachers but remember that while you should definitely take advantage of the citites' nightlife and the travel opportunities that you will surely have, you are coming here for a very real job.

Finally, other reviewers have said that we don't make enough money and by Western standards it is absolutely true. I make roughly $550 USD per month after taxes. However, it is the same amount that my Hungarian coworkers make and I also have the benefit of free housing and utilities. The cost of living here is much lower and it is more than enough money to live on. Yes, you need to budget if you want to do any major traveling but I have been out of the country at least once per month and only had a small amount of savings with me when I arrived so it is possible. Also, tutoring opportunities are usually available if you want to supplement your income.

To sum up, I highly suggest working with CETP. They will be happy to answer any questions you have before you even fill out the application and will be with you every step of the way. If you'd like to know more about my experience, please don't hesitate to send me your questions.

How can this program be improved?

I feel that CETP does a good job of accurately representing the placement opportunities to applicants but I suppose more information about what the previous teachers' experiences in a particular school were like would be helpful in allowing applicants to know what they should expect. As I said, every placement is different.

Default avatar
CE
Female
42 years old
Hungary
San Jose State University

A great program

10/10

I spent last year teaching English in Hungary via CETP, and I'm going back. I think that says a lot right there. I'm not a sadist; I would not stick with a program that didn't offer support.

I've made some outstanding friends in this country, both Hungarian and American. There's some getting used to it-- it's not the U.S.A. after all. Expecting it to be anything like America isn't wise.

Best advice?

Be friendly
Go with the flow
Have 1 or 2 people you trust who will listen on bad days and laugh on good ones.

How can this program be improved?

If I could change anything it would be regarding finances. We make a living wage, but it's not much. If you were planning on extravagant travel through Europe or spending a lot on "extras" you'll need another source of income. We do get our room & most of our utilities paid, so it's more than the Hungarians get, but it's still small potatoes compared with other programs, especially those in Asia.

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mrabroad
Male
42 years old
Budapest, Hungary
University of the Fraser Valley

Rewards Worth the Leap

9/10

My family and I have been living abroad in Budapest through a placement with CETP for the past two years. Overall our experiences have been positive and the support of CETP has been invaluable. Naturally there have been some difficulties and challenges along the way, the three most common we and many others have encountered are:

1) Low Salary: Bottom line - don’t come to Hungary if you are looking to make money. The salary native English teachers receive is above what the average Hungarian teacher makes and sufficient for day to day expenses and modest travel. However, it is not enough to fill your pockets before you leave! Do you have to budget carefully? Absolutely! Do you have to give up the creature comforts of home? Definitely some them, but for our family the rewards of humble living have far outweighed any monetary gain.

2) Frustration with Administration: CETP itself does its best with the resources it has but it is often pitted against a system that is both unorganized and unsympathetic. Hungarian administration is very inconsistent to say the least and can indeed be frustrating when you are used to a more ordered way of doing things. If you are open-minded and flexible you’ll do just fine, if not…well, be prepared to be discontent and unhappy.

3) Placement Fee: CETP is a well respected organization here in Hungary. Paying the fee for association alone is well worth it. Our family experienced very little difficulty in wading through the red tape of immigration, however colleagues and friends of ours not with CETP have had nothing but trouble with Hungarian bureaucracy.

The key thing to keep in mind (we cannot stress this enough) do not come to Hungary with the expectation that things will be anything like what you are used to. It is a FOREIGN country! Its people speak a different language, adhere to different cultural traditions/customs and have a completely different mindset based on their collective historical experiences. But isn’t that the beauty of living in another country, experiencing that which is unfamiliar and in doing so learning more about ourselves and the world? You may find yourself longing for the next new discovery or learn that travelling is not your ‘bag’. Whatever you take with you will be worth that first leap into the unknown, with CETP or otherwise.

How can this program be improved?

The accessibility to teacher resources could definitely be improved although I understand CETP and the schools do the best they can with what they have available to them.

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jebmcneil
Male
32 years old
Slovakia
Susquehanna University

An additional response to Sandra Jacobs

10/10

I recently became aware of negative comments left by Ms Jacobs concerning her experience living and working in Oroshaza, Hungary.

I lived in Oroshaza for three years and never experienced anything remotely connected to "neo-nazism". Ms Jacobs lived in the town for just a few months and obviously did not take the time to understand and learn about her surroundings. This is a shame, because she missed out on a great town and an even better school community.

I can only highly recommend living in Hungary and especially in Oroshaza.

How can this program be improved?

I have no personal complaints about the program whatsoever.

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Satisfied
Female
42 years old
Hungary
Western Washington University

CETP - an excellent choice!

10/10

I am very glad I found CETP. I have an excellent placement at a high quality secondary school in southern Hungary. I spend only 20 - 30 hours working per week and enjoy living in a very comfortable flat right across the street from the school.

I moved to Hungary with my family (my husband and my 3-year-old daughter), so we have been very grateful for all the support CETP provides. As we prepared to move, the staff were very communicative and connected us with previous teachers who answered all of our questions and provided priceless daily-life details. It was so nice to have friendly faces waiting for us when we arrived at the airport, and we learned so much during the week-long orientation they provided.

The CETP in-country director is just a phone call away and is always happy to help. She has been a valuable resource for me and also for my school, who relies on CETP to help them navigate visa and paperwork issues.

We love Hungary and we love CETP, which is why we're signing up for another year. I encourage people with families to consider CETP, as we have found their placements to have flexibility and accommodations that were difficult to find elsewhere.

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cstaffa
Female
42 years old
Minneapolis

Szeretlek Magyarorszag... after some patience and flexibility

9/10

I took on this challenge after being burned out by American public schools sooner than I had anticipated. I was interested in Hungary as it had a rich history, interesting culture, and good location within Europe.

Upon arrival, there was a week long orientation that got us situated to the culture, a bit of the language, and the expectations of us within the program. Admittedly, it was fast as we were all embarking to our individual towns at the end of the week, but it was a "dive in head first" kind of thing. I worked hard to soak up as much information I could to prepare myself for my experience.

Once I got to my new town, it was about flexibility, patience and understanding. Everything was new to me overnight, but the system in the country had been operating that way for decades. So, was my arrival the most important thing on everyones mind? No, and that was okay. Life moves a bit slower, and it was good for me to take the challenges as they came, learn from them, blog about them and share them with as many people as possible.

I was placed at a prestigious Gimnazium in my town, and the students were focused and education oriented. My colleagues did their best to get me up to speed as quickly as they could, while juggling their responsibilities in the classroom as well. I learned so much about the Hungarian school system and the importance of education while at this school!

I joined the local church choir and went on trips with them, they became my second family. I took on private students and still receive letters and communication from them three years later.

Sure, I struggled at times- but remaining flexible and patient was the only way to be successful. Things are not always going to go your way, but as a 'foreigner' in a new land, it was my job to accept these challenges and learn to adapt.

Since returning to the United States, I have joined a local group of Hungarians to continue the language I learned while there. I have also returned to Hungary three times to see milestones in my students' schooling, their coming of age ceremony and graduations.

I hope to continue telling others about the wonderful culture, traditions and experiences I took in while in Hungary. In fact, I'm having a Hungarian dinner party next week. Would you like to come?

How can this program be improved?

As I said before, the 'system' has been in place for decades there. Unfortunately, as a foreigner, it took me a while to get into the system so my pay was delayed initially. They warned of this, but it still was a struggle at first.

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theroofisonfire
Female
32 years old
Budapest, Hungary (formerly from TX)
Howard Payne University

CETP is wonderful and ignore those bad posts

8/10

I love Hungary, and am so grateful that CETP is such an efficient way to get here and explore this beautiful way of life. If you are coming to make money, turn around and go to Korea. But, in spite of the small paycheck, I love it here. Hungary is great for those open to new experiences. I lived here for two years without CETP, and moved back to the States. When I decided to come back, CETP was an obvious choice by how efficiently they placed me, how well they communicated with me, and worked with me.
CETP can only do so much, and ppl are getting on this website and complaining. What do you want from them??? They arrange a flat for you to live in, with utilities paid. That, if you add up the price, would turn out to be SOOO much more than you pay them in program fees. It is a win win. Our Hungarian colleagues are living in flats much tinier, with grandparents and siblings because the salary is so small they can't afford a flat and utilities on their own. Go on, go without CETP and get a teacher's job here on your own , and get your own flat and don't use CETP. After utilities (which can be up to 300$ a month), and monthly rent (around 200-400$ per month), let me know how that 500$ teaching per month salary is working out for you. (and before CETP i lived here and my school paid for the flat and I paid utilities, and I was almost broke, with about 200$ disposable income per month. My CETP friends were traveling and I had to stay home, cause I had no money). And let me know how fun it is to go to immigration and take care of paperwork without an organization backing you.
Now, for those of us who have been blessed to partner with CETP (i went back to America, and came back to Hungary with CETP), we get a, albeit low in US standards salary, but plenty to live on here. You have pretty much no bills, health care is free, and utilites, rent, and maybe your transportation pass are paid for. I think it's a great set up if you want to come to Hungary! You can explore this beautiful city, travel, and make international friends and enjoy doing things with them!
But if you are coming because you want a perfect experience, just according to everything you think is right, then don't come. You have to be flexible, open minded, and open to other cultures, not judging constantly that "this is wrong" or "we do it this way". I feel bad for Americans who come here and have a selfish mindset, demanding their American way. You are in another country, and you adapt to their way of life. If you want to be in America, stay in America. If you want to discover a beautiful, deep, unique culture of beautiful people who will enrich your lives, your world view and touch your heart, then come to Hungary! It's wonderful, beautiful, and the children are absolutely fabulous. They are so precious, and my life has been changed by being here. For people who asked to be placed in Budapest and were told there weren't any options, and then saw others get placed in Budapest, did you ask the directors, or did you just assume they were being deceitful??? I know that schools in Hungary can be last minute and bad communicators (sorry, that is true, get used to it), and after I asked the directors about it, they told me that those openings did not come available until August, after they had placed people in small towns, and turned down applicants, and they were very upset too, but were trying to place people last minute.
CETP works with you, and is always responsive to emails, contact. You can't ask for a better program when going overseas... You always have a director who works tirelessly to make sure everyone is happy, and they are so so so flexible, and always answer the phone no matter what your problem is. To be unhappy with them must mean that you are so rigid that no one can please you. My roommate and I met through CETP, and teach together, and we are so different but both love it here. This is my third year in Hungary and I think I'll be here much longer!

How can this program be improved?

nothing. its not perfect, but it's perfect for what I was looking for.

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JPM
Female
57 years old
Debrecen, Hungary
George Mason University

Entry into Hungary w/ CETP

10/10

I have just signed up for another year with CETP, having had a very good experience with them. Their process for application made the transition to an overseas position much easier than doing it yourself (which I have done before). The week long orientation in Budapest was very helpful with a very inspiring teacher of Hungarian culture and teaching tips. Then door-to-door transport to the new assignment. They provided a basic telephone (I didn't have to hassle with this), instructions, helpful contact sheets, information cards, a FB page to talk to other teachers and ALWAYS someone available to call if you get confused about something -- 24/7. Plus they also organize cultural and travel events for the teachers. The position they matched me with is perfect for me and my co-workers are so kind and helpful. I don't regret for one minute going overseas with CETP.

How can this program be improved?

The Hungarian language teacher at the orientation was not very helpful. She went too fast and seemed annoyed to be there. The material tried to cover too much grammar rather than day-to-day phrases and pronouncation. I went away not knowing how to pronouce the double consonants or say the basic greetings. She needs to redesign her class with role plays and small group drills.

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Judie
Female
57 years old
Paris, France
Nova Southeastern University

In Response to Sandra Jacobs

10/10

I am the teacher who replaced Sandra Jacobs in Oroshaza, Hungary. I had such a wonderful experience in the town, at the school and with the CETP staff that I'm taken by surprise by her review.

I was befriended by the mayor's family while there. They were very kind, helped me get around and, when I first arrived even helped me with buying a bicycle as I couldn't yet speak Hungarian. I also taught their son. I saw absolutely no neo-nazi tendencies with the mayor, his family, or in Oroshaza. In fact, it was one of the most tolerant places I have ever lived.

I had a fully furnished apartment a five minute walk from the school. The teacher assigned to be my contact person (I called her my handler :-) helped me with everything. She went with me to the doctor, to open a bank account, taught me enough Hungarian to be able to fend for myself and basically helped with anything I needed. I became so close to her and one of the other teachers that their families all but took me in.

We had a beautiful facility with modern equipment and up-to-date text books. The language department there worked really well together and were supportive of me and I think I was helpful to them. I was able to do a unit with all of the classes on the Gulf Coast where I come from and we had a week of fun!

I fell in love with the food and the people. So much so that my husband and I are planning to visit as soon as we can!

I had a really wonderful year and 1/2 there (I took over for Sandra mid year) and I can't imagine anyone could be afraid of anything in Oroshaza!

How can this program be improved?

I can't think of anything off hand. I had no problems with the program.

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jsj2013
Female
57 years old
Budapest Hungary
Russell Sage College

Central European Teaching Program in Hungary

10/10

I am a retired US public school teacher and I've been teaching in Hungary for 5 months. Earlier in my teaching career I lived in Colombia, Costa Rica, Thailand, and Germany. I was thrilled to be able to add Hungary to this list.

CETP provides a week long orientation upon arrival to prepare teachers for living and working in Hungary. It is well organized and also gives new arrivals a chance to meet each other and form friendships before dispersing around the country. The classes include methodology, language initiation, and a historical perspective. It was also very helpful to hear from teachers who have been here for several years.

CETP does a good job of warning applicants that they will not be living a US or Western European lifestyle in many ways. I live in Budapest and can get anywhere around the city by tram, bus, or subway. The living conditions, of course, vary from one location to another, but CEPT contracts state that schools must help applicants with arrangements for apartments and that the apartments must have washing machines. That is a huge benefit of securing a position through an organization like CETP. Food costs are reasonable and I love the huge markets with fresh fruits, vegetables, butchers, cheese stalls, etc. For those who prefer supermarket shopping, there are several Hungarian chains as well as other European chains. There are also import stores if you have to have Skippy peanut butter, but be prepared to pay a high price. Clothing is also expensive so I would advise applicants to bring what you want with you as your salary will not cover frequent purchases.

Teaching in Hungary presents challenges. I love my school as a whole, my co teachers, and my kids. I have been welcomed from day one. Retired teachers are not very common, so many teachers asked me why I came. My answers are quite different from the young people, who naturally want a chance to experience Europe. I too, enjoy that but I also wanted to work a bilingual school with a different kind of program from the ones I experienced in Latin America. The most challenging part of the school experience is the last minute nature in which decisions are made. Do not come expecting 5 year plans and ready made schedules. Flexibility is essential. My school has specific books and a set curriculum, but the English director was willing to let me "stray a bit" and teach a literature unit. What we don't have much of is leisure reading books, so when I go home for the summer, I will be bringing some back.

I would highly recommend that people take the plunge and come to Hungary. Your money is well spent with CEPT.

How can this program be improved?

Once people are out in the field, it's not always easy to get together. Even though there are numerous teachers in Budapest, I really only see the people in my school. Several times CEPT has tried to organize activities to bring people together. Perhaps if a few dates (perhaps a fall and a spring one) were chosen during orientation, it would be easier for people to commit to reuniting.

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Kayla
Female
24 years old
Orosháza, Hungary
University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign

Highly Recommended for the Open-Minded

10/10

I recently graduated from college and had decided I'd go out on a limb and teach English in a country people don't typically shoot for when teaching ESL. CETP was extremely upfront and honest about the fact that there isn't a ton of money to be made here, but I think there's a lot more to be gained by coming to Hungary than a fat paycheck.

The program directors, Mary and Hajni, have been nothing but kind and supportive throughout the entire process. They answered the endless emails filled with questions, comments, and concerns that I sent, and they often bend over backwards to make sure that we're all fine. Hajni even called regularly for the first few weeks when we were first on our own to make sure that all was well, and each email she sends us always ends with a reminder that she is available to help us 24/7.

Hungary was quite a culture shock for me at first since I'd never previously been to any countries that weren't tropical, but the initial Orientation really helped to put me at ease.

As a whole, I love this place, I love my job, I love my students, and I love my coworkers. I really have to give a lot of credit to Mary and Hajni because the city I was placed in, Orosháza, (which, contrary to a previous post, is not a center for Neo-Nazis--and perhaps I should add that I most definitely do not look European by any stretch of the imagination) could not be more perfect for me. I've formed friendships with people who are similar to me and, at the same time, so different. I went in knowing absolutely nothing about the Hungarian culture/people/language other than what I learned from the crash course at Orientation (from which I retained a shocking amount of useful information), but I'm simply delighted by the entire experience. All in all, I have CETP to thank for that since they work so hard to make the process goes smoothly.

Of course, it's important to understand that it's not for everyone, and there are countless difficulties to face, but I'm fairly certain that's just an unavoidable part of life. That being said, if you are open-minded, if you enjoy a good challenge, or if you are just generally an interesting, ambitious person willing to be influenced by a wonderful and eye-opening experience, then I highly recommend taking the plunge.

How can this program be improved?

One thing that comes to mind is the website... it may seem a bit sketch and perhaps a bit outdated in places (pictures, testimonies, etc.), but I assure you the program is 100% legitimate.

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Emily
Female
32 years old
Szolnok, Hungary
Beloit College

Thumbs up for CETP!

10/10

I've been a teacher with CETP in Hungary for several years and I love working with the program here.

I originally came to Hungary fresh out of college with only a bit of experience living abroad and even less teaching experience. I looked at other programs (mostly ones in Korea and China where I would be making a LOT more money) but I decided to come here instead. I remember reading on the CETP website something like "if you're looking to make money, don't come here" ... and yeah, they were right. I can't say that I've accumulated any vast savings since I've been here, but the salary is definitely enough to live on, and live pretty well - I mean, eating out a lot, making a weekend trip to neighboring countries every couple months, doing a good bit of travelling around within Hungary, etc.

I know the big fee puts off a lot of people, but I think it's money well spent. CETP takes care of your apartment (except in some cases if you insist on being placed in Budapest) and you also receive a fantastic week of orientation at the beginning. More than that, you have the benefit of 24/7 help from Hajni, the CETP Hungary country director. Really, she's like your own personal Hungarian guardian angel, just a phone call away!

The culture shock was a big deal for me the first year I was here. I won't lie, I spent most of September to February wavering between "this is kind of bearable" and "well, it's only a nine-month contract, I guess I can stick it out somehow". What got me through it was the support of Hajni, and of the other CETP teachers. It was so nice to be able to reach out to a group of people who were in the same boat as me, gripe a bit, collect some ideas, and have a fresh go each week.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this program for most people. As long as you have some flexibility, some creativity, and the willingness to ask for help when you need it, you'll love it here!

How can this program be improved?

If I had to make one change to the program, I would have more official get-togethers other than just the orientation at the beginning. I think the teachers do a good job of meeting up with each other anyway, but it would be good to have some CETP-sponsered programs as well!

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Zoe
Female
57 years old
Berlin

Don't work with them!

1/10

I contracted with CETP to work in a pre-school in Prague for 22 hours per week. I was to be using my music and theatre experience in conjunction with teaching English. When I arrived they told me I was to work from 7AM to 6PM 5 days per week and I was responsible for the planning and implementing the entire curriculum for the school. There was no other Czech teacher as promised. They offered no additional pay. Not only did I not have this kind of teaching experience, but I have no medical training and don't speak Czech, so putting me in a position of complete responsibility was absurd - if anything had happened to one of the children I would have been unable to do anything! I thought they were crazy! I was to have a room in the school which turned out to be about 5' x 8', had no closet for my clothes, and there was no private bathroom. The CETP agent there knew about this along and chose not to tell me, assuming that once I was there I would have no choice but to go along with it. When I didn't agree to this, they dropped me at a hotel and refused to speak with me again, leaving me stranded in Prague having spent all my money to get there. They have to this date, 7 months later, refused to compensate me for cancelling my contract and abandoning me. They bully and manipulate to get people to work in these post-communist countries for very little money and promote an oppressive communist ethics. Save yourself the trouble and go somewhere else!

Response from Central European Teaching Program

I am Mary Rose, the director of CETP. Since I have been in charge of our program, we have placed over 700 teachers in Hungary with the majority deciding to stay on for at least an additional year. I am so sorry that Zoe is unhappy, but this woman was demissed from the program at the very start of the school year for unprofessional behavior.

This was our first experience in the Czech Republic and it always takes time to iron out problems when working with new schools. Zoe was to teach 22 hours per week but was requested to stay on the premises (she could be in her room or in the garden) from 7 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday just until the other new teacher could be hired. It is our responsibility to make certain our teachers are treated according to their contract, but in Zoe's case, she was let go even before school started due to her unwillingness to teach art or communicate with the other staff. When the school director discovered that Zoe had lied on her application, she dismissed her immediately. Since Zoe lied on her application, paid us not one dime of our program fee, refused to attend our mandatory orientation in Budapest, and never signed our contract, we feel no obligation to provide her with any compensation. She phoned our attorney to say if we didn't pay her (the many thousands of dollars she is demanding,) she would smear our name all over the web so that we wouldn't get any teachers at all!

I value our little organization and we try always to do right by our teachers. In this case, however, we did nothing wrong other than to trust someone who is untrustworthy.

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Sandra
Female
57 years old
Or
Pennsylvania State University

Deception and lack of support

2/10

I was placed in a school in Oroshaza, a relatively small town that elected a mayor from The Jobbik party, aka, dubbed the voice of the neo-nazis. Other teachers who were informed of the situation notified me. They were given this info by the director in HU. I was not. I sent 5 e-mails to this person requesting an urgent transfer and expressing my concern and factual info re my safety, and at the time, endangerment; no response.

Response from Central European Teaching Program

I am Mary Rose, the American director of CETP. We have had no problems with neo-nazis in Oroshaza or any other communities in Hungary. Our Hungarian director, Hajni Vancsik, went personally to visit Sandra on more than one occasion to try to get to the bottom of her fear.

We never ignore complaints or concerns, and although not always able to fix things beyond our control, we do our very best. Hajni is a wonderful, caring woman who is always there for our teachers in a pinch, be it small--sleeping past one's stop on a train and talking to a conductor who speaks no English, or large--a serious illness that requires a hospital stay.

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dtirrell
Male
24 years old
Pápa Hungary
Rhodes College

CETP

7/10

Teaching in Hungary has some significant difficulties. Hungary is not an extremely wealthy country and there is not a lot of resources or technology available to us a teachers. Some classes I have no textbook and no form of technology at all and I am forced to create and execute effective lessons. Despite this I do really enjoy my teaching jobs and I really enjoy interacting with all of the students. I live in a smaller town so during the week here it can get very boring. I teach in the morning and then in the afternoon there is not really much to do. After finishing planning the lessons I really struggle to find things to pass the time.

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lindy
Female
32 years old
Pàpa, Hungary
Other

not a great organization

5/10

I'm a pretty easy going person, so when at first things weren't shaping up as the program directors told me they would I didn't really complain. We were told it may take a little while to receive our paychecks. I went to Hungary in August and was told that certainly by October I'd be paid. October comes and goes. So does November and December. Finally, in January I got paid, hooray! Some teachers were eligible for advanced pay, but for some reason not all teachers are.
I was lucky in that my apartment has everything I need- but other teachers were not so lucky. Some were living in student dorms and sharing bathrooms and kitchens. I didn't feel like I had much to complain about, because I had a relatively nice place and, thankfully, enough money in savings to eek out over those months until payday. This meant, though, that I could do almost no traveling and stayed in my town a lot.
It wasn't until I wanted to stay on another year (because while I do not like CETP, I really really like my school and my students- they're the best part of the job) that I became really frustrated with the program. I will admit, I missed the deadline due to personal issues, but deadlines have been pretty much a joke in this program. I filled out my application in February to go to Hungary in August and there were people who decided to go a WEEK before orientation who were given placements that I know other people wanted. "No, sorry- you can't go to Budapest it's all full" but for people who decided at the extreme last second, suddenly there's more than enough Budapest placements to go around. And not even at the full price. It seems like to get ahead in this program, you have to hardball them. You don't want to pay the whole fee? Don't. Not everyone does. You want to go to Budapest? Tell them you will not even consider going to Hungary unless you're in Budapest. They will tell you that there are no spots available, but it's not true.
So, I wanted to be placed here in my town again. It seemed reasonable that the new person could be given a different assignment since I already live here, the school wouldn't have to go through all the hooplah of setting up new bank accounts, visas, etc. etc. But for some reason, this is just not possible. I was willing to pay the re-placement fee (yeah, you have to pay again) but there seems to be no flexibility at all. You would think that after as patient and understanding as I've been with them, they could show me the same regard. I've found my own way to continue living in this town, so I'm staying but it's without CETP.
They get you here, they place you, and then you're kind of on your own because they already have your money. I got one or two calls to see how things were going, and I'm lucky that things were ok- but after that there was no follow through. I know others who were in horrible placement situations, and I'm sure CETP is still going to place teachers in those towns. Because once they have your money, they don't really care about your Hungarian experience.
I would certainly find a different way to get to Hungary- others have had good experiences, but I'm sure they would probably say that Hungary itself is the good experience.

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cmh
Female
57 years old
Portland, OR
Other

Not just for 20 somethings.

9/10

My husband and I were placed by CETP at a lovely school in a suburb of Budapest. We are in our 50's and so our experience was different than younger people. The school and the CETP staff were very supportive of us as far as teaching materials and survival in a foreign country. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone with a sense of adventure regardless of their age group.

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frannymae
Female
32 years old
Kecskemét, Hungary
University of Sussex

My CETP experience

10/10

Teaching in Hungary has been a wonderful experience for me. I didn't have experience teaching English before, but now I love it. At first I found it daunting to face a room of kids, some of whom could barely understand me, but I have grown to love the challenge as well as the incredible reward that comes with success in the language learning classroom. I am certain I have become a better teacher, not simply in language instruction, but classroom management, creative thinking, and problem solving.

The country itself has many interesting and beautiful traditions, folk music & dance, and history. Traveling can be an adventure since some places are harder to get to than others, but the network of other CETP teachers is a great pool of potential travel buddies, hosts, and trip advisers.

Orientation is one of the most valuable things CETP provides because it connects you with the other teachers throughout the country. When facing the inevitable "culture shock" moments, it's reassuring to connect with others who understand firsthand.

English speakers are easier to find in the larger cities than in the smaller towns and villages, but I have enjoyed tackling the difficult language and making local friends in the process.

I recommend this program to people who are independent, enjoy a challenge, and are open to new experiences.

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chasqui8
Male
32 years old
Kecskemét, Hungary
University of Washington- Seattle

Adventure Awaits

9/10

Due to its history Hungary is an interested mix of eastern and western Europe. Hungary's society is deeply rooted in its history and traditions.

My daily routine includes teaching anywhere from 4-6 lessons and being on hand to the faculty to help focus lessons and address weak points in the students' performances. This also entails being on hand as a direct source of the English lesson for the teachers to reference.

I love teaching the children and being a resource for my colleagues.

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frisbieproductions
Male
32 years old
Budapest, Hungary
Jarvis Christian College

CETP puts you in the heart of Eastern Europe

9/10

It's a bit daunting, making a move to a new place to do something that you may have little, or in my case, no experience doing! I'd taken my TESOL course, and had done my practice teaching with ESL students, but I was still nervous. However, it's kind of like riding a bike -- except your teaching English!

For me, CETP has been a great experience. While the fee isn't exactly cheap, the fact that housing is included, as well as health insurance, helps offset the cost (at least, it did for me in my rationalizing). The program director here in Hungary has been there for me whenever I had an issue, whether it's being sick or dealing with some paperwork (although calling is definitely more reliable than trying to get a hold of her via email). Also, the bureaucracy of Hungary can be very agonizing at times, but at least when it comes to initial paperwork, CETP and my school have been able to take care of it all so any issues were resolved.

As for teaching itself, I've had such an amazing time at my school that I still haven't left! Teaching at a primary school was frightening to think about, because these kids probably will have little or no English experience whatsoever, so how will I teach them a language when I can't communicate with them in Hungarian? And yet, somehow it works. It's a very rewarding job because at the end of the lesson, getting to hear them use new words that they didn't know 45 minutes before is awesome. One of my biggest problems, even now, is some behavior issues -- mostly talking, and talking in Hungarian more than I'd like. Granted, I work with younger kids, so it can be hard when they can't say complex sentences, but it is still frustrating.

For the most part, my school is pretty equipped with all the materials I need, but I can't say the same for every school. I've heard of other schools not being able to afford books, etc., but it just depends. Even so, I think most teachers here have found a way around any issues and still teach great lessons.

Typically, you'll have a pair teacher or teachers that you work with, and they can help you with lessons or ideas as needed, too. It's been very warm and welcoming at my school, which makes for a much more pleasant teaching experience!

I definitely lucked out with being in Budapest to teach, but I've heard plenty of people have excellent experiences in other cities around Hungary. It's not a big country, so traveling around is also very easy (and not too time consuming!). The food is great, the culture is vibrant, and there's always a festival going on...somewhere! I will warn that it's a very meat and potatoes kind of place, but I know several vegetarians that survive the food here, even at restaurants. Hungarian food is delicious, flavorful...but sometimes a little fatty. Still, I never tire of going out for Hungarian food!

If you're up for an adventure, and have an interest -- especially traveling around Eastern Europe, because it's so easy to get around (and affordable) -- working with CETP, in my opinion, is a good way to do it. The salary you make is enough to enjoy life and travel -- but by no means is it anywhere near what you'd be making in China or Korea, for example. If you're okay with that, then it shouldn't be a problem! There are also plenty of opportunities to find private students to supplement your paycheck!

About The Provider

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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.

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