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CETP Details |Teaching Materials |Living Conditions | Red Tape: Visas and Other Documents | Do I have to Speak the Language? | Why Study the Language Before You Go?

CETP Details

Here are the nuts and bolts of how CETP works. Conditions vary slightly according to the policies of the particular host institution in which the volunteer is placed, but they generally are as follows:

  • Contracts are approximately 10 months in duration, usually September through mid-June. The school start date, and the orientation start date, vary from one year to the next, due to changing host country government mandates. However, in general, Hungarian teachers attend orientation in Budapest beginning August 23rd with opening day school ceremony the first Monday in September.
  • We also offer a number of mid-year placements for those desiring a 6 month "January to June" contract. The winter school term begins mid-January with an abbreviated orientation in Budapest a few days before.
  • Teachers accepting a 10 month contract will attend a 5-7 day orientation in Budapest prior to the beginning of the school year. Contracts are renewable by mutual consent between the host institution and the volunteer, and upon payment of a placement extension fee to CETP ($750 for teachers who have taught a full year and $1000 for those who have taught one semester).
  • Teachers will have 22 to 26 class meetings per week.
  • Teachers are paid a salary in local currency according to the same pay scale as native teachers. Salaries are usually sufficient for covering everyday living expenses and in-country travel, especially since accommodations are paid for. Expenses are thus limited to food and travel. However, volunteers will not be able to make regular payments on bills at home from their earnings. Those with difficulty budgeting very tightly, or those with slightly more upscale tastes (wishing to dine out, buy clothes/CDs/apartment furnishings, or travel very frequently), may wish to bring an ATM card with access to a separate savings account back home.
  • CETP teachers are covered under the health care system of the host country, which covers all doctor visits and hospital stays. Prescriptions may have to be paid by the teacher, although the cost is extremely reasonable compared to prices in the US. Many CETP teachers utilize local health care services each year, for a wide range of health issues, and generally find the services range from adequate to above-average. However, all CETP teachers are required to purchase travel insurance coverage prior to arrival in Hungary. US citizens can obtain coverage cheaply by purchasing the STA International Teachers' Card. NOTE: the card must be purchased in the U.S. in order to provide basic sickness and accident travel insurance, overseas emergency evacuation, and repatriation. To learn more, click on www.istc.org.
  • Accommodations for CETP teachers are provided and paid for by the host institution or the government. In all but a few cases, housing is in private, furnished apartments within walking distance or near public transportation to the school. In a few cases, volunteers are housed in dormitories or in former caretaker's flats in the school building itself. While some flats are more comfortable and attractive than others, the school promises only to provide the bare essentials: heat, running water, working stove and fridge, functional bathroom, a bed or futon-style sofa, bedding and towels, and some pots, pans, plates, and silverware. Therefore, some CETP flats appear very Spartan at the start of the school year. The school is required to fix serious problems in the apartment immediately; however, the aesthetics of the apartment are up to you to either learn to live with, or invest your own money in redecorating. Keep in mind that you are being housed in an apartment that is MIDDLE CLASS by local standards, and that millions of Central Europeans consider this type of housing normal and comfortable.


Teaching Materials

“The best part is adapting to a totally new way of life. Every day seemed to produce a new challenge or made me reflect on where my values and customs came from and how they were changing."

--Chris Berenbroick, CETP 95-96

Volunteers must be prepared to develop their own curricula and exercises to a large extent, depending on the host institution. History and civilization teachers are generally provided with textbooks for those subjects by the school. CETP will provide information on useful teaching materials that volunteers may bring with them


Living Conditions

Living standards in Central Europe are lower than what one would find in North America or western Europe. The salaries of CETP teachers are adequate for day-to-day living and also for regional travel. Most staple goods can always be found, though the variety of available products can vary greatly. Cultural activities in Central Europe are widely available and promoted, usually at very low cost. While Central Europeans are known for their boundless hospitality, smaller towns and cities may seem friendlier than bigger cities, as is the case in most of the world.

All applicants should be prepared for a decrease in their standard of living. Living in East Central Europe can also be frustrating, primarily because the North American importance placed on efficiency and timeliness is relatively absent there. Despite these factors, most teachers leave their positions with the predominant impression that this was the most worthwhile experience of their lives.


Red Tape: Visas and Other Documents

CETP provides all documents necessary to receive your work visa after arrival in Hungary.  Either a CETP or school representative will accompany teachers to the immigration office.  The visa is usually processed in about two weeks but bureaucratic  glitches can delay it further.  Since salaries cannot be paid until applicants are legal, it is prudent to bring sufficient funds to cover expenses for up to several weeks ($500-$1000) though nearly all schools will offer an advance in salary if useful.   Because of the international agreement between Hungary and CETP, no visa fees are required.


Do I have to Speak the Language?

"By really getting to know people who are from the immediate region you can find yourself in situations you would never get into if you sort of just showed up someplace as a tourist or a 'world traveler.' Learning the language was the key in many situations."

-- Kevin Van Yserloo, CETP 96-97

Proficiency in the host language is not required, but all participants are strongly encouraged to study it before departure, either through a course or on their own. Any amount of time spent in a foreign culture will be far more enjoyable and rewarding with knowledge of the host language.

We will provide suggested course books and websites for learning Hungarian on your own, though if you have access to a Hungarian speaker, it will greatly enhance your learning. CETP teachers staying for an additional year often study at the Debreceni Nyári Egyetem in Hungary.


Why Study the Language Before You Go?

Although Hungarian is considered to be one of the world’s most difficult languages, after your arrival you will learn enough basics to get by, just by being surrounded by the culture. However, time spent before departure studying Hungarian will make your time there far more enjoyable and rewarding. It pays off in many ways.

  • First impressions. You'll be making first impressions every day in Hungary. You'll want to make the best one possible.
  • They'll notice! Central Europeans are quite generous with praise about your language skills, and you will likely be reminded often how well you speak, even in the early stages when you are still struggling.

It's not the language you studied in high school, and people realize this. Genuine efforts at learning the host language is a sign to everyone you meet--your colleagues, friends, and the shopkeepers in your neighborhood--that you are sincere about absorbing as much as you can about the host culture.

  • It opens doors. Quite simply, knowing a bit of the host language enables you to meet people with whom you otherwise couldn't socialize. If nothing else, living and working overseas is all about opening doors to new people and experiences. Why keep those doors closed?


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