So explanation time…..my original plan for this year was to go to Budapest, Hungary to teach English as a second language. This was until everything got turned upside down…..so here we go.
I arrived in Budapest with out any delays, lost baggage, or meltdowns. This was a relief considering the nightmare of a time I had when I studied abroad in college, (that is a story for another day though). On my last flight from Amsterdam to Budapest I overheard a conversation behind me. The girl sitting directly behind me was telling the lady beside her about how she is going to be an ESL teacher in Hungary. Yes, this girl was actually in my program as well! I was so relieved when I heard this because I was afraid of getting lost once I got off the flight. I really wanted to turn around and say, “Hi I’m in the program too!” but my shyness got the best of me.
Once I found all of my luggage and made my way through customs I was greeted by the super nice ladies in charge of the program. One was the American lady I had emailed and skype’d with numerous times, (because I had so many questions). The other was a Hungarian lady who was going to be our contact while in Hungary. After meeting them I met the girl who sat behind me on the plane. Her name was Katie and she ended up being my closest friend during orientation.
Katie, myself, and our awesome cab driver drove us into town and gave us pointers and tips about life in Budapest. By this time I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and in the beginning stages of homesickness. I however tried to push through and just make it to the hostel without collapsing. The hostel we were all staying in was actually very nice and was in a convenient spot in town.
Flash forward to the next day when I was fully rested and finally had a chance to shower. By this time everyone in the program had arrived and I had met pretty much everyone. We started our orientation week that day and begin exploring the city.
Orientation week was very different than what I had expected. We attended short classes throughout the day for 5 days. To be honest I would take naps in between classes because we all went out pretty much every night. Which I don’t regret doing because the nightlife in Budapest is INSANE.
Originally posted by plumkat
Overall I learned a lot about teaching in a foreign country and even a tiny bit of Hungarian. Szia, koszonom, igen, and nem…….yeah that’s all I remember. While I did learn a lot and have a great time with all of the awesome people I met I was still extremely homesick. Eastern Europe is definitely far different from Western Europe and Hungary itself is a some what poor country. Budapest is a beautiful and unique city but I also felt unsafe there at times. For example, one night I woke up at 3 am to a man screaming in Hungarian in the street below my window, (which was open because Europeans would rather burn alive then install air conditioning). I was terrified because he seriously sounded pissed and for some reason I thought he was going to come upstairs and kick the shit out of me. Dumb I know but still.
I remember crying myself to sleep 4 different nights while staying in Budapest. I was scared, and suffering from extreme culture shock. For anyone else who has studied, taught, or lived abroad I’m sure you can relate to this. I spent the week going back and forth on whether I was going to stay or not. I had pretty much decided that I was going to stick it out until I got to my apartment….
Leaving the group I had bonded with all week was extremely hard. I felt extremely alone. It felt like we drove for forever to get to my apartment. Later I found out that I would be 45 minutes away from center city which was upsetting because I had been told before that I would be 15 minutes away. The part of town my apartment was in was a very bad and dangerous feeling area. It is an understatement to say that I felt unsafe. My internet also didn’t work at all and I was now out of minutes to talk to my family and friends. It might have been the spoiled American in me but that just made the situation worse.
I spent one night in my new apartment and that was enough to make my decision final. I thought long and hard and decided to go home because of the conditions I was put in and the lies I was told about my apartment in Budapest. My intention isn’t to bash the company I went with or the people in charge of it. I just want to tell my story in hopes that it helps other people interested in becoming an ESL teacher or just wanting to travel to Budapest.
Budapest was a beautiful city but it ended up not being a good match for me, and because of my homesickness and the lack of communication with my school I decided to go home. I am now hoping to one day teach ESL in another country where I have visited before and have a good handle on.
Now after staying and helping my family for a few months my feet are aching to travel someplace new and explore the world. My next trip will be to New Orleans in November, so stay tuned!!
Originally posted by prettygreattravelhacks
P.S. This picture is true af for me…..my suitcase is always neat as hell and super organized when I leave. But by the time I get home it looks like there was an atomic bomb inside that went off.