Central European Teaching Program in Hungary

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

Questions & Answers


based on 38 reviews
  • Benefits 8.4
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 8
  • Facilities 7.7
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 16 - 30 of 38
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Yes, I recommend this program

Response to Review

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.

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Yes, I recommend this program

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

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!

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No, I don't recommend this program

Nothing more than a Pay-for-Placement Scheme

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

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Yes, I recommend this program

Highly reccommended

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A great program

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.

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

Rewards Worth the Leap

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.

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

An additional response to Sandra Jacobs

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I have no personal complaints about the program whatsoever.
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Yes, I recommend this program

CETP - an excellent choice!

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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Yes, I recommend this program

Szeretlek Magyarorszag... after some patience and flexibility

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?

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

CETP is wonderful and ignore those bad posts

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!

What would you improve about this program?
nothing. its not perfect, but it's perfect for what I was looking for.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Entry into Hungary w/ CETP

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.

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

In Response to Sandra Jacobs

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!

What would you improve about this program?
I can't think of anything off hand. I had no problems with the program.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Central European Teaching Program in Hungary

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.

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

Highly Recommended for the Open-Minded

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.

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

Thumbs up for CETP!

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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!