Do we stay (in NYC) or do we go (to Budapest)?
September 28, 2009 11:20 AM Subscribe
Following the trail of adventure and windborne caution, my boyfriend and I are kicking around the idea of moving to Budapest next year. Pipe dream or feasible goal? Questions about teaching ESL abroad (ten years after the Central European expat boom, no less!), expat experiences in 2009, Eastern European culture, general questions about Hungary, and...
posted by Hwaet to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've been living in Brooklyn for nearly three years, which has been fun but now I'm getting restless. I have worked as a bartender for a year that, sadly, has no future or room for upward mobility. I convened with my boyfriend and he's maybe game for moving to Europe, if we can swing it without bringing destruction to our finances. I honed in on Budapest because as a student studying abroad in Prague a couple years ago, Budapest was by far my favorite city. I liked the metropolitan, open-spaced feel that Prague seemed to lack, the wide streets, friendly but pessimistic people, the lovely architecture, the relatively cheap living (compared to NYC), the spas and operas and flea market, and its central location to other great locations.
I assume I'd probably have to teach ESL, probably business English. I have a college degree in English lit, and it seems I'll need to be certified in order to compete with Budapest's preferred English-speaking Hungarians. My boyfriend dropped out of college with a semester to go before completing his degree in English, and now he's a graphic designer who specializes in designing and selling signs. Do we have a chance in hell at scraping by in Budapest if I teach English and he freelances as a designer? Have you or anyone you know had experience with the TESOL programs? What's the most effective route that will make me appealing to employers that won't also break my bank?
Assuming we did move to Budapest, what should we expect in terms of culture shock? Is Hungarian culture very different from Czech culture? Keep in mind that I was still an American student living with fellow Americans during my time in Prague, so I might have very little idea of authentic Eastern European lifestyles.
Nitty gritty: What salary range should I expect as a first year ESL teacher? How much do decent, centrally-located apartments cost? What's the ex-pat community like? Can I bike in Budapest?
Barring Budapest, should I consider another city? I'm not really game for Asia, as I'm predisposed to cool, gloomy habitats. Budapest is so appealing partly because A) I've lived in Central Europe before and have some idea of how things are run, B) I'm a Brooklyn resident who likes big cities with a small town feel, and C) I'm dying to get away from the NYC mentality that justifies spending tons of money on booze and entertainment. More than anything else, I want to do something challenging before I settle down for marriage and babies and a mortgage. My boyfriend and I have each other, we're bright and adventurous, and I don't want to waste that energy living in America for the end of our days if it's feasible to try another country, however short of a time.
Is this possible?