Central European Teaching Program in Hungary

Video and Photos

Szeged, southern university city
Central European Teaching Program in Hungary
Central European Teaching Program in Hungary
Sarvar Castle

About

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.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

85%
based on 38 reviews
  • Benefits 8.4
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 8
  • Facilities 7.7
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 15 of 38
Default avatar
Cathy
5/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Spend your $2500 Elsewhere

For starters, CETP misleads you about where your $2500 application fee goes.
This is part of what is stated in the "Program Details" page of their website,
"WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE TEN-MONTH PLACEMENT FEE, your fee goes toward":
"Full health insurance through host country" - this is incorrect. You pay your own health insurance via deductions from your teaching salary.

"Social events and teacher training classes" - the only teacher training class I got was during orientation, which for me was just a review of strategies I already use as an experienced teacher. Social events?? I think I learned about 2 (by reading the CETP Facebook page) for the entire ten months

"Monthly teachers’ newsletter" - I never saw one.

"Ongoing support from Director in the host country, and from Program Director in US" - I would have to give this one a no. I rarely heard from the Hungarian director, either by email or by phone, although when I needed her for a medical situation I had, she drove me to two of the appointments and we had delightful conversations. I had a specific question about paid time off for holidays/vacation that I emailed Mary (the U.S. Director) about and she didn't think we got any - although at the end of the year I got paid for 12 days of time off I hadn't used during the school year.

In terms of your placement - your experience will depend almost entirely on your contact teacher (the person or persons at your school who help you when you have problems with your apartment or if you need some support at your school). Although my contact teacher told me often that she had been "doing this" for 10 years, she was rarely helpful and actually said to me twice when I needed help, "That is not my job." She took several entire weeks off from school to take her own holidays, (blaming it on her bad knee - but she actually told me for one of those weeks that she was going to Israel), but never let me or the other CETP teacher at my school know. The school was dysfunctional from the top - the headmistress never acknowledged my presence (even when we passed in the hallways, she averted her eyes). I expected to make friends with the teachers like I had when I taught in Honduras and Guatemala, but only one teacher ever invited me to go out with her.

When you read other reviews - BEWARE!! I notice most teachers talk about how wonderful the country is (it IS wonderful) but rarely mention the actual teaching situation. I talked to about 10 teachers during the year and they ALL said the same thing...the behavior of the students is atrocious and disrespectful. I understand that during the first few weeks they might be testing your endurance and your patience, but until the last day of school, my students talked constantly, used English cuss words to get my attention, fought with each other and were often bullies to other students. It is hard to create your own culture (what you will tolerate or not tolerate in the class) because you and the students move classrooms every day and there is the general chaos that comes with taking your students to different rooms each day that aren't really theirs (or yours). In my school, there were no immediate consequences for bad behavior - the student got a black mark in their exercise book, and if, at the end of the year, their "homeroom" teacher decided they had enough black marks, their grade might reflect it. These black marks did nothing to change their behavior and of course, their grades didn't suffer, and they knew it.
My advice - take the $2500 you would have spent on the application and go to Hungary for 2 or 3 months! Hostels, food, trains and bus travel are cheap.

What would you improve about this program?
A cheaper application fee. Also, a chance to talk to former teachers at the school where you are placed. Of the last three teachers to teach at my school in Budapest, all three of them stayed to teach in Hungary, BUT LEFT THE SCHOOL and got placed in a different school. That would have been all the red flags I needed to ask for a different placement.
Response from Central European Teaching Program

I am so sorry that this teacher had such a bad experience. We do try our best, and usually succeed--this year about 60% of our teachers stayed on for an additional year and many continue for more.
I will stand up for our wonderful Hungarian director, Hajni Vancsik, who works so hard to make certain all of our teachers have a good experience. If the year goes by without needing her services, we feel our teachers should count themselves lucky. But as this teacher stated, when she was in serious trouble, Hajni was truly there for her.
I wish we didn't have to ask any program fee, but we get no funding from government or private organizations to support our program, which is surprisingly incredible to run. (In itself, a week-long orientation in Budapest for 50+ teachers costs a great deal.) I promise no one is getting rich, though I wish we were. :-)
We can't always make it right, but we will always do our best.
I would appreciate this teacher contacting me to see if we can make it right for her.
Mary Rose, US Director

Default avatar
Veronica
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CETP Review

The CETP program is an excellent route for people who are interested in living abroad. It is such a convenient way to live and work in Europe as they offer great support to American teachers all year round. It was my dream to live and work in Europe for many years but without any financial support besides my own, it seemed impossible to make such a life change. Finally, I found CETP. They were so patient and accommodating during the registration process, and they ensured that I had an apartment secured before I arrived to Hungary. They even let me bring my cat! Which was actually the most important thing for me. The program also made my arrival as stress free as possible. I was picked up at the airport by very kind CETP reps and taken to a nice hostel in Budapest. I arrived late in the afternoon and the village I was placed in was a long drive, so I stayed at a hostel for the night which CETP paid for. The hostel was very clean, the staff were so nice and accommodating, and my cat was also welcomed. We had a very comfortable private room. The next morning, another CETP rep, Lali, picked me up and drove me to my new home in Nyírpazony, about 2 hours away from Budapest. He was also very nice and we had a nice conversation during the long drive. He showed me my new apartment, introduced me to everyone at the school, and made sure I had everything I needed. A teacher at my school was assigned as my contact person and she took care of all my visa and health insurance paperwork, and also helped me with anything else I needed (like apartment related repairs and communication with the school headmaster). Such a transition couldn’t have been any easier thanks to the support of CETP. Now I’m living my dream and traveling all over Europe. I feel so secure to know that I have the support of so many kind people from my school, my new neighborhood, and most of all, the CETP community.

Default avatar
Diana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Heading into my third year--and looking forward to more!

I have only good things to say about CETP. I applied at a flexible time in my life: I had left my previous teaching position (in NYC) to write a book, which was now halfway done. I had just visited Hungary and was eager to spend more time there. I read about this program, wrote to Mary Rose, the director, and heard back from her the same day. She asked whether I would be interested in teaching at a high school in Szolnok. I looked it up, read about it, and responded: Yes! As it turns out, I could not have made a better choice. It's a wonderful school, and I quickly became part of its daily life. I not only teach English but offer a philosophy elective and am involved with music and drama. I bike to school along the Zagyva river; ducks, egrets, storks, and (in the colder weather) swans are part of my daily commute. The school is intellectually demanding and artistically rich; it has poets, songwriters, musicians, actors, directors, photographers, painters, athletes, and more.

CETP made this possible. The organization helps with the paperwork and placement; Hajni even picked me up at the airport and drove me to Szolnok when I arrived. They are also on hand to help with bureaucratic problems. Fortunately I did not run into any big issues. Like many others, I had to wait a few months for my first paycheck, residence permit, etc., but once I was all set up, all I had to do was renew the paperwork each year. I am used to the process now.

I am not involved in CETP social activities, beyond having dinner with American colleagues in Szolnok now and then--but they are open to me. The support--both social and logistical--is there if you want and need it, and if you don't, that's fine.

Some people ask: "Why should I pay the renewal fee to CETP each year? Why not just continue in my position, without CETP?" These are legitimate questions, but they involve some serious considerations. The terms of the contract more than compensate for the CETP fee. The school district pays for your apartment and utilities; in addition, if you need help with the residence permit and other official cards/papers, there's a contact person assigned to you at the school. Someone who chose to continue without CETP would have to be able to handle the paperwork independently and might have to deal with a change in the terms of the contract. If you speak Hungarian with reasonable fluency, intend to apply for permanent residence, and are willing to pay for your own place, then this might be a reasonable option. I might consider it after this coming year or the following--but know that it involves a tradeoff.

Back to the important things: Hungary can be a great place to teach, if you are well matched with a school. (And if the match isn't right, you can apply for a transfer the following year.) There's a lot of room for initiative: offering new courses, leading extracurricular activities, introducing new materials in your lessons, collaborating with colleagues, and so on. The country is beautiful and full of cultural life; it's easy to travel by bike and train, so you can visit other towns and cities on weekends (and even sometimes during the week). Other countries are easy go reach as well; this wasn't called "Central Europe" for nothing.

As for the Hungarian language: what better way to learn it than to live and teach here? Inow speak Hungarian with my colleagues at least half of the time, and I read in Hungarian as much as I can. Hungarian literature is magnificent and alive; every week, there are literary events of some kind here in Szolnok, and writers regularly visit our school.

As for the people: most of the Hungarians I have met are both kind and up front. They can be critical--criticism is part of daily life--but there's also a general goodwill and a great sense of humor. That said, you'll find the whole range of human nature here; it just expresses itself somewhat differently from in the U.S.

I heartily recommend CETP. It's great not only for the teachers, but for the students and schools. We probably underestimate how much good it does (in terms of bringing different cultures together, giving students opportunities to learn from native speakers of English, giving Americans a chance to learn about Hungary, etc.). So if you're interested, apply!

Default avatar
Colin
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Overall, worth it.

My aim here is to leave a detailed, factual, in-depth review of CETP, so that you can make an informed decision.

Your first question is likely about the steep fee. It's $2500 for all Budapest placements, all high school placements regardless of location, and $1900 for primary school placements outside of Budapest. So, is it worth it? What does this fee get you? The main things:

-A place to live. You will not pay rent. You will not pay most bills (some people have to pay for their own internet). If you look at $2500/$1900 as 10-12 months of rent/bills, then it is worth it as that is very cheap. Most teachers will get their own flat, but some people in CETP were housed with a Hungarian teacher, or on the school grounds. Keep in mind that CETP has no say-so over this. CETP does not choose your lodging, and most of the time they know very little about where you will be living. It's up to your school.

-Hajni. Hajni is your Hungarian Mom. She will help you with anything you need - problems with your school, doctor's visits, immigration questions, etc. She is wonderful and really wants the best for the teachers in the program, but you must call her and stress that whatever you need is very important.

-Paperwork. Understandably, you must send CETP a whole host of paperwork required by the Hungarian government. They then hand this off to your school, and your school will take care of all your paperwork - visa, healthcare, tax, etc. This is a big sell for CETP as this would be nearly impossible for someone who did not speak Hungarian. CETP will not do the actual submitting/filing etc, your school will do this. CETP will only be involved if you need to report to CETP that your school is not doing what they should be doing.

-Orientation. The orientation is really a blast. You'll meet most of the other teachers, have some events, learn a little bit about Hungary, and of course go out at night and have some fun.

Random musings:

The most important thing to know about this program is that CETP will match you with a school and ensure that your school provides you with what they are contractually obligated to provide to you. However, with that said, your experience will largely depend on the school. You'll only deal with CETP later if there is a problem between you and your school.

The actual teaching portion of this adventure will vary wildly from school to school. Some teachers will earn more than others. Some will be the only English teacher at the school and be responsible for the entire English curriculum, while other teachers will simply be assistants in a class taught by a Hungarian. Some teachers will see all of their students each day, while others may have 25 separate classes that only meet once a week. Some teachers will be expected to grade, write tests, and meet parents, while others won't. If you're concerned about exactly what it is you will be doing, make sure to press CETP for some answers to your questions.

You are are assigned a contact-person at your school. This is a co-worker (or possibly boss) who will be your "link" to your new world. This is also the person who will assist you with your paperwork, and who is supposed to help you with things you may need during your stay in Hungary. Some are wonderful. Some are not.

You will not be paid until 3-4 months after arriving. You will get paid for those 3-4 months eventually, just not right away. CETP suggests that you bring $500-$1000 to live off of before you start getting paid, which is a criminally low estimate. If you only bring $500 to Budapest, you will go broke real quick. $1000 is obviously better, but I would bring at least $2000 to live off of for the first few months. Again, experiences vary wildly here. Your school is responsible for getting your paperwork done, not CETP. Some teachers started to get paid in October, some not until December. Some residency permits end with your contract, some end later. No idea why. CETP will be there to push your school along should you have issues, but, you MUST contact them and stress the importance of whatever is going on.

My biggest criticism of the program is that CETP seems to be a little out of touch with what goes on at each school. They don't know what will be expected of you at the school. They don't know much about each individual living arrangement, and they don't know anything about your hours. Getting answers is very difficult. Whether this is because they don't know, or, they choose not to tell you, I don't know. Either way, this aspect needs improving.

Overall, the program is still worth it, just know that it's not perfect. Hungary is a good central location for exploring Central and Southern Europe. I've made some amazing friends, been on some amazing trips, and all the teachers in CETP are fun, adventurous, and eager to help each other. Just by being at your school you are doing the school a service, as they need a native-speaker teacher in order to meet certain government requirements. It takes a little bit of courage to just jump in with minimal details, but for the majority of people it's a positive experience, me included.

What would you improve about this program?
(Copied from above)

My biggest criticism of the program is that CETP seems to be a little out of touch with what goes on at each school. They don't know what will be expected of you at the school. They don't know much about each individual living arrangement, and they don't know anything about your hours. Getting answers can be very difficult. Whether this is because they don't know, or, they choose not to tell you, I don't know. Either way, this aspect needs improving.
Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Live Your Best Life!

Hello everyone! If you are interested in teaching English abroad, I have just the program for you. It’s called Central European Teaching Program, or CETP. Due to this amazing program, I am living my best life teaching English in Mateszalka, Hungary! I started September 1, 2018, after a week of orientation at a hostel in Budapest. Upon arriving at the airport, I was welcomed by the CETP staff and driven to the hostel, where current English teachers of all ages and backgrounds were waiting to greet me. Each day, we had a schedule of classes and speakers to help prepare us for our new lives in Hungary. It was so interesting to learn about the culture and language. We were each given a phone to use while living in Hungary, with instructions on how to apply money. CETP paid for a welcome dinner at a beautiful restaurant along the river and another at the completion of orientation. It was wonderful. I made fast friends and tons of memories that week.
CETP found out exactly what experience I was looking for and matched me up with my perfect location. There are schools all over the country, but I wanted to dive into the culture of a small town. My Hungarian contact teacher picked me up from the hostel and we drove the 4 hours to my new home. My head was spinning at this point, so I really appreciated CETP taking care of everything. I asked my contact teacher so many questions on the drive, and she was patient, kind, and courteous. I was taken right to the school, and on a tour of the town. It reminded me a lot of Indiana, so I immediately felt right at home. Another benefit of CETP, is that lodging is free for the year. I have a cute little flat that fits all my needs. The CETP staff frequently calls, texts, and emails to make sure everything is running smoothly. All of the paperwork sent to CETP was given to my contact teacher and she made sure I had all the legal documents necessary to live and work in the country. I get paid once a month and it is just enough for me. I have to transfer money home for monthly bills, but I am never struggling. My coworkers are amazing and always make me feel included. The children are the best part. I teach 1st-8th grade, and I love them so much. I try to learn as much Hungarian as possible, and use it regularly. I just signed up to work another year and couldn’t be happier. I highly recommend this program and hope you found this review helpful.
To start, you need a 4 year degree and to be TEFL certified. Do some research, and find out if CETP is for you. There is excellent information about the program online, and many helpful reviews. Next, reach out to Mary Rose, the Director of CETP. She is very kind and will guide you in the right direction. Good luck!

Default avatar
Cvijeta
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best way to experience Europe

There are several reasons why I would recommend CETP: placement in a school, provided accommodation, their vast experience with the visa process and of course the invaluable network of other CETP teachers.

Some people are more comfortable than others with jetting off to another country and hoping to land a job offer relatively soon and sort out accommodation and visa paperwork etc. Myself, I am not so adventurous, so I certainly appreciated the peace of mind of being able to sort out where I would be working before even leaving the US. Not to mention knowing that there would be accommodation when I arrived, and that the program is very experienced in securing your work visa, makes CETP an incredible value.

We have also found the program to be very helpful for our situation. More specifically, we wanted to be sure that we would have an apartment large enough for two people; my husband would be joining me in Hungary of course, but only I would be teaching (he works as a programmer remotely). We were provided with a very excellent apartment, and in addition, I know if I ever needed help with anything I could contact Hajni and Mary Rose immediately.

The network of other CETP teachers for tips and advice for all things related to Hungary, teaching and Europe is also fantastic. If you need some ideas for a class project or a lesson plan or even just suggestions on where to go in Europe for your next holiday (and what to do), you have access to a wonderful, responsive and helpful network of teachers. Even if you don't have much teaching experience yet (or are a bit overwhelmed with teaching in a new culture), just ask away, we're here to help :)

Overall, I would say that CETP has been a very positive experience. We have been here since January 2017, and as of now (May 2019) still plan to be in Hungary next year. I've always wanted to teach in Hungary because my grandmother was born here, but honestly from a more practical point of view, I think CETP is the best way to explore Europe. For most people, visiting places like Vienna, Prague, Athens and Salzburg are once-in-a-lifetime experiences they dream of for decades, for you, it'll be something you can knock off on the next 3-4 day weekend :)

What would you improve about this program?
Perhaps some more emphasis on Hungarian classroom management during the orientation, since they have some different cultural norms here (though can certainly be taught some new ones!) :)
Default avatar
Bradley
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Get in and stay...its worth it!

You arent going to find a cheaper way to move to Hungary and find a teaching job. Especially if you dont have a masters degree. Highly reccomend CETP for anyone looking for a step in a unique direction. Hungary is great but isnt perfect, however when issues arise, support is there when you need it... This review says it is suppose to be 750 characters long and I cant think of anything else to say so i will just keep rambling. My specific experience is in Budapest which is a great place for anyone looking for a richly historical place to call home. The history of this place is real crazy. I feel lucky to be here to personally see the results of thousands of years of political, religious, and social success and struggle. The food in Hungary is delicious and I love the somloi and langos. Beware the palinka because you might just black out.

What would you improve about this program?
Express to the particpants the value of the fees. Brag a bit more that CETP is one of the least expensive programs to choose. Show the participants of much this would cost without CETP. :)
Default avatar
Steven
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Priceless experience

After teaching English in South Korea for 5-years, we were excited to try living and working in Central Europe. Hungary is a special place, with its unique history, culture and location smack in Europe's epicenter, surrounded by about a half-dozen countries we had never visited before. From its world-class wine, delicious foods and capital city, Budapest, where we were sited at different high schools, this experience was a grand one. We found the schools to be a bit challenging, as there can be a shortage of resources (think chalk as the main teaching tool) and the educational bureaucracy can try one's patience--but it all makes for a grand experience nonetheless. Mary Rose, Hajni and the other staff members do their best help you navigate the culture here, including providing a solid orientation on the front-end. I will never think of Hungary or Europe quite the same again.

What would you improve about this program?
There is an ongoing dialogue about program fees. Easier on some, harder on others, depending on the school salary you receive, and you own personal means.
female headshot
Ani
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent experience in Hungary thanks to CETP

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!

What would you improve about this program?
The orientation was unorganized.
Default avatar
R
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Loved it! Worth the fee, not a scam in any way.

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!

What would you improve about this program?
- Communication could be a little clearer sometimes
- Maybe throw a few happy hours during the year!
Default avatar
Lydia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic program!

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!

Default avatar
Melody
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful experience in a less than easy bureaucratic system

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An honest review of CETP...

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The perfect program if you want to teach in Europe

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Recommended!

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.

About 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.