• NUTS & BOLTS •
Conditions vary slightly according to the policies of the particular host institution in which the volunteer is placed, but they generally are as follows:
- In order to keep the program running smoothly, we require a placement fee for all teachers. For a thorough explanation, visit the Fees page.
- 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.
Red Tape, Visa, 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.
Though getting to know the other volunteers in your country is certainly an important part of the week, orientation is not just ice-breakers and get-to-know-you games. Here’s some of what we do:
- Every morning starts with survival language lessons.
- Workshops on various topics: your role at school, working with your colleagues, what you can expect from your students, effective lesson planning and the grading system you will encounter.
- Practice teaching with local students. Teach a short lesson of your own to a group of
Hungarian or Romanian students, and receive useful and positive feedback from the other CETP teachers.
- Glean useful information on traveling, teaching, and many other topics from returning teachers, some of whom have been with the program for 2, 3, 4 or 5 years.
- Meet your regional contact person.
- Introductory history and culture lessons on your host country and the region.
- Outings to area attractions.
- And best of all…an introduction to the food and drink of your host culture!
Teacher Support: In-Country
We take pride in the fact that we are much more than simply a job placement organization. CETP spends a great deal of time and energy to maintain a presence with the teachers and provide support to them throughout the school year. Teachers receive support on three different levels:
Each school assigns an English teacher to act as a contact person for the guest teacher. This person helps familiarize the guest teacher with the host institution’s rules and policies and also acts as a guide to the town and to day-to-day living in the host country. He or she is your primary source of support in your school and in your town.
An informal network of second- and third-year (and some 5th and 6th year!) CETP teachers act as regional contact people for new teachers. These contact people hold initial get-togethers for all teachers in a given region, then decide on future group activities teachers might like to undertake. Regional contact people may be called upon to discuss teaching strategies, cultural or language difficulties, or general tips on living in the host country.
CETP has a resident director in Hungary available for addressing any contract, scheduling, accommodation or other problems posing serious concern to teachers. These directors also advise schools on scheduling, obtaining legal paperwork for guest teachers, and any other problems schools might encounter. The resident directors act as mediators should any significant dispute arise between teacher and host institution.