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Travel & Teach - Hungary


If you are Hungary bound with your TEFL qualification, you are about to meet a Central European country with a turbulent yet fascinating recent history.

Since joining the EU there has been a healthy demand for English and better work prospects for the EFL teacher.

However, few schools advertise on the net and so expect to go, and send CVs in person and follow up. There is a thriving language school market and so networking is a good idea and there are now a few Facebook groups for English teachers, local blogs and even a company that will find students for you: Learn English Budapest.

A degree is helpful and a TESOL certificate is expected by most. Salaries are good by local standards but don't expect to save much.  Conditions of work and salary are often described as ‘basic’ but eating out, transport and the various cultural experiences on offer are cheap. Your biggest concern will be finding somewhere to live. Good, inexpensive accommodation is scarce and you can expect up to a third of your salary to go on rent.

Hungarian students are likely to be highly motivated. But if Hungary is your chosen destination, bring extra clothing; the eastern European winters are notoriously cold.

TEFL tips for teaching English in Hungary:

* choose the 150-hour TESOL Level 4 online >> for Europe
* consider adding a 30-hour Business TESOL >> as this specialism is very much in demand
* dress for business and present a professional CV/resume >>
* don't come in the summer; it's quiet. The best time for finding work is September/October and also January
* read the comments from our Global English graduates teaching English in Hungary

Useful Contacts

We love Budapest: advice on getting started teaching English in Hungary 

British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/

British Council in Hungary: http://www.britishcouncil.org/hungary.htm     

Hungarian Embassy UK: http://hungary.embassyhomepage.com/

Hungarian Embassy USA: http://washington.kormany.hu/consular

Hungarian National Tourist Office: www.hungary.com

Central European Teaching Program (CETP): http://www.cetp.info/index.htm

Global English students are working all over the world with their accredited TESOL certificates. Find out
how TESOL training from Global English has made a difference to their lives:


Lorraine Wickham

I visited various schools as part of a study visit and was offered the job at a private business school. For anyone considering the possibility, most Hungarian schools are very poorly resourced. Teachers are very poorly paid, approximately 10% of our salary (UK state school). I was offered a flat, although I am still trying to persuade my hosts that gas checks and health insurance are not luxury items but legal requirements over here. So far, it looks like a bleak prospect, but the educational standards are high, students are strongly motivated and the challenge to learn some Hungarian is tough enough to be forgiven if the phrasebook terms are all that is ever learnt. To be honest, they agreed to release me early at the end of May to allow for further job hunting next year and valuable examination work.

It’s not an option for the faint-hearted, but as my host Head of Department says,
“We will appreciate you” and that is something which goes a long way after teaching in an English system for 20 years.

Michael Newton

For the last five weeks I have been in a state Gimnasium (grammar-school ) in N.E Hungary, teaching (for the most part) English conversation to more than 2OO students aged up to 19 but including some very lively 12-13year olds. (16 contact lessons a week, with groups of 15-2O). The course with Global English has proved invaluable in stimulating the imagination and providing a solid basis in the understanding of English grammar to draw on!

Conditions here are very good, though Hungarian is providing a huge barrier, and I do have the back-ups of fluent French and German. Teachers here have all just enjoyed a 5O% pay-rise and in addition I receive a very pleasant flat with all expenses met; subsidized school-lunches and half-price rail-travel. I have something like 4OO pounds sterling a month to live on and save for fares home and holidays, though prices are generally much lower here than in the U.K. I may renew my contract next year.

Mary Rose
Mary Rose

Mary Rose is the director of the Central European Teaching Program, an organization that places teachers in approximately 80 schools throughout Hungary. She says:

In 2002, at age 58, I went to teach through CETP and eventually ended up taking over the program ….and I decided to actively recruit teachers who already had a lot of living under their belts.

Hungary doesn’t have equal opportunity employment laws. Directors can flatly state, therefore, that they want someone fresh out of college, that they would never consider a male teacher, or that an applicant of Indian heritage may not be readily-accepted in their region of the country.

Still, the majority of schools take older teachers, some with initial reservations that either dissipate or grow depending on the teacher. One caveat: good hearing is essential to being an ESL teacher.

Currently 10 teachers of retirement age are teaching through CETP in Hungary. So please don’t let your age deter you from following your desire to teach abroad. Although you may not be accepted at every school, just the right director will say yes to you and your dreams.

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Travel and Teach

Check with your local Hungarian embassy or consulate to identify if you need a visa to enter the country. Although Hungary is now in the EU, there is still some paperwork to complete. Having said that, if you are from outside the EU, in general it is seen as easier to work in Eastern rather than Western Europe and you will see many teachers from the US, Canada, N.Z etc.  Keep in mind that it can be very difficult to change from a tourist visa to a working visa once in the country. If Hungary is your destination, see more here on Visa and working regulations for Hungary.

It is strongly recommended that you take:

* the 150-hour TESOL Level 4 online >> for Europe
* the 30-hour Business TESOL >> for Hungary as Business English is definitely on the rise in the private sector

However, a desire to teach may be all you need to arrange work informally in the country. If you have a degree then your job prospects are significantly enhanced and a TESOL certificate will certainly help. Do be careful though because there is a great variety in the standard of teaching. Interestingly, this is one country where you may have more success teaching in the State Sector, as one of our graduates, Michael Newton, found out. You can read his advice on this in the Student Comments section.  Also it is a country where there is still a strong desire for American English and there are several US teachers here already. If you are American and looking for the ‘off the beaten track’ Europe experience, then check out the Central European Teaching Program (CETP) (Details in Useful Contacts).

Expect to earn up to 4000 Forints per month (approx £9 p/hr) in schools and about 4- 5000 Forints per hour privately.  In the state sector, native teachers often share classes with Hungarian English teachers.

You will not find many language laboratories in Hungary – travellers to Hungary comment that ‘state of the ark’ equipment is more the norm in many schools, so be prepared to take your own resources with you. It is possible to supplement any earnings with freelance work although your success in this area will depend on the length of your stay, your confidence and your negotiating skills.

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Key Comparison data
Courses Level 1 Level 1 + Young Learners Level 1 + business Level 1 plus 1-2-1 Level 2 Level 2 + Young Learners Level 2 + business Level 2 + 1-2-1 Teaching business English Teaching English to Young Learners Teaching English 1-2-1 Grammar course Weekend face-face
Price £195.00 £295.00 £295.00 £295.00 £315.00 £395.00 £395.00 £395.00 £140.00 £140.00 £140.00 £50.00 £170-£190
Duration (hours) 70 100 100 100 150 180 180 180 30 30 30 20 20 or 28
Time limit (months) 6 6 6 6 18 18 18 18 6 6 6 6 n/a
Modules 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2 2 2 1 n/a
Content General English General English + Young Learners General English + Business General English + 1-2-1 General English General English + Young Learners General English + Business General English + 1-2-1 Business Young Learners One to One Grammar General


Yes . ACTDEC Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes.20 or 28 hour
Course book provided No Yes Yes No* No Yes Yes No* Yes Yes No* No No
View live teaching excerpts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No. n/a
all courses can be started at any time, have personal tutor support and a 14 day money back guarantee
* includes 1 years subscription to materials provider 'handouts online'