“When I joined CETP two and a half years ago, I had no idea what a life-changing experience was in store for me. It is not an exaggeration to say that teaching in Budapest these few past years has changed me in every way. I am more confident, more open, and more fulfilled than I have ever been. I feel I have been particularly lucky because my school is a perfect match for me, and I found an afternoon job teaching theater to English speaking children, which I love. Plus, who wouldn’t fall in love with Budapest? Ultimately, I would recommend this program to any aspiring teacher or traveler who wants to work hard, learn patience and flexibility, and reap the rewards of a changed world view. I promise, you’ll love the person you become.”
–Sloan Thompson, CETP 2014-Present
Our participants teach conversational English at the elementary or high school (vocational/technical or college prep) We sometimes offer a few junior high school and university placements as well. Recently, we have added a few preschool/kindergarten positions to our roster. Positions for dual language conversation teachers of English/German and English/French are also offered, as well as for teachers of English for Special Purposes (e.g., chemistry, economics, or law). Many schools are in need of US History and Literature or “Culture and Civilization” teachers, in addition to English Conversation teachers.
In every school, students will have local teachers responsible primarily for teaching English grammar. CETP’s Conversation teachers are responsible for enhancing students’ oral fluency through conversation practice, classroom drills, games, music, and listening comprehension. Teachers may be responsible for preparing students for stringent graduation and national language exams as well.
Many CETP teachers get involved in extracurricular activities such as sports, drama and or music. Most CETP volunteers also tutor private students.
About the Schools and Communities
CETP places teachers in publicly accredited schools to include a few church-run schools as well as private preschool/kindergartens. We work with all levels, sometimes to include a position or two at a university (such a placement requires an advance degree).
Many placements are in smaller cities and towns with the greatest need for native English-speaking teachers, though there are also placements in larger cities, to include Budapest. We do our best to grant requests for specific placement locations. During the placement process CETP must match applicants’ requests with the specific needs of the schools. Since in recent years a large proportion of our applicants have requested Budapest or other major Hungarian cities, we are now offering a deep discount to those willing to serve in rural communities (CETP’s original mission). Our teachers in these small places provide special benefit to their students, and in return, these communities treat CETP teachers like Royalty. In most cases it is possible to grant requests by two volunteers who wish to be placed together either at the same school or in the same town. It is also possible to arrange placements for married couples and families with children, given enough advance notice. We can sometimes accommodate applicants wishing to bring a well-behaved pet, though it is essential the pet be issued the equivalent of an EU passport.
In almost all cases when an applicant meets all CETP requirements, we can grant preference for location and size of community as well as type of school. You may mark your preferences on the application form.
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.
What is my role in the school?
You are an employee of the school and teach on a full-time basis (see details), and get paid according to the same scale as your Hungarian colleagues. You also receive national health insurance and any other benefits which your colleagues receive.
Our most successful teachers become fully integrated in school life and actively pursue the extracurricular activities the school offers. For example, many of our schools enter a performance in the nation-wide Drama Festival, and our teachers frequently work with the students and
other English teachers on the school play. CETP teachers also play sports and participate in school clubs. Some even begin a school newspaper or literary magazine of students’ writing, and CETP encourages all such efforts. Our teachers find that efforts to become an active part of the community extremely rewarding, and often those pursuits form some of their best memories.
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
Do I have to speak the language?
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?
You can always check out what current teachers and alumni have said about their experiences here: