ESL Teaching Guide - Hungary

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Janna Headley - May 2004

Currently teaching in Budapest at a high school/technical school The positive aspects are that some of the students are fun and show good improvement. The negative aspects: some students, esp. the technical students, are lazy, complacent, and stoic.

Wages: ~100,000 HUF (~485.00 USD) per month. Staff support: Coworkers are friendly and helpful. Curriculum: teach according to the high school leaving exam or technical exam that the students must pass in order to graduate. Student motivation: sometimes high, if university studies are desired.

Accommodation and cost/standard of living: Flat and utilities are paid for by the school; all teachers earn about the same and are considered to be public servants because they are paid so poorly.

Amanda Walker - January 2004

I am currently teaching in a secondary school in Hungary through educational organisation SOL ( They, and my school, have helped me to get all the necessary temporary residence permits.

Teaching here is relatively informal, and teaching methods are extremely traditional, so the students really appreciate any lesson that asks them to speak, move around the classroom or think about things! Teaching hours are much shorter than in Britain, and although wages are low, I have free accommodation paid for by my school and I don't pay Hungarian tax (which is 50%). In addition, possibilities for private language teaching are limitless, even in the smallest of towns. The school students are generally motivated, although not as motivated as I expected in all cases. There are three types of secondary schools: grammar, technical and vocational, which students are selected for on the basis of ability. I imagine students in grammar schools are a lot more motivated than my technical school students. Discipline procedures are non-existent, although not generally necessary.

Hungary itself, whilst not the most naturally stunning of countries, is interesting for anyone with a keen sense of history. It is different enough to western Europe to be interesting, but no so different as to be completely alienating. It's proximity to a number of other countries is also in its favour!

Suggested Reading

Lonely Planet Hungary
Culture Shock! Hungary
The Rough Guide to Hungary
Frommer's Budapest & the Best of Hungary
Eyewitness Travel Guide to Budapest - First Stop for Your Second Language Needs
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