More Teaching English in Budapest

Posted by – October 19, 2011


1. England, and Why I Never Write Anymore

It’s been about fifty years since I last posted anything to this site. That’s mainly because I started to think my whole project here was ultimately a fathomless abyss of impossibility and was thinking of running back to England (see photograph) with my tail between my legs. However, as you can see, a quick visit to England confirmed what I thought I vaguely remembered from my childhood, viz. that the country consists mainly of sheep and ducks, with nearly constant rainfall, thus rendering the place uninhabitable.

2. How to Teach English in Budapest

Following this I decided to become homeless in Budapest rather than face working in an office again. The temperature in summer here is ideal for sleeping on park benches, and in winter I’m told one can sleep in the subways. It was at this point that I had something of a breakthrough. Someone actually replied to one of the adverts I had placed in a newspaper advertising my services as an English teacher.

I’m not actually an English teacher and have no qualifications in teaching English, but I do speak the language having lived in England till the age of 33, so I thought I ought to be able to manage to teach it. In fact it has turned out that some people specifically look for people who aren’t teachers to teach English to them or their children. Bad memories of school, maybe.

If you want to teach English in Budapest, I recommend putting adverts in the district newspapers (try to get a Hungarian to help you if possible). It will help if you also know a few Hungarian words when you go into the newspaper offices to place the ads — things like “advert”, “address” and “name” are useful. Districts II and XXII are particularly wealthy, but I also got a response from an ad. I placed in the district I newspaper.

September and January are apparently the best time to place ads. In summer, don’t bother — no-one wants to learn anything in summer. It’s too hot.

I also found someone to teach computer programming to via Skype and Team Viewer by combing daily. Teaching programming via Skype is more lucrative than teaching English, so I’m thinking of advertising my services via Google too — although you can pay 2 dollars a click for keywords like “online Java tutor”, so it’s a bit like going down the casino.

Now I’ve acquired, in total, in a very short space of time, five students, who so far are stumping up cash on a regular basis, bless them! Together they cover my rent (since I’ve just rented a flat for 70,000 forints in downtown Pest); a few more and I can also afford to buy food and clothes, which will be nice. My new landlady believes in reincarnation and has filled my flat full of Hare Krisna iconography, which is also nice.

So the sum total of my experience so far suggests that if you want to teach English privately in Budapest, come here in September (or better August so you have time to settle in) and put ads in the district newspapers.

You can try students too — you’ll get lots of enquiries if you put up flyers at the universities, but students are usually strapped for cash and so far I haven’t ever actually hooked any of them. If I wasn’t also simultaneously studying and trying to finish software to sell (no doubt I’ll post more on that later since I intend to sell it on this site), I’d consider offering a radically-discounted student package. But meanwhile I’m content to search for relatively wealthy Hungarians who don’t mind paying for someone who comes from the place that invented English.

3. Why I Started this Blog in the First Place, Notes on Weird Subcultures and the Hard Sell

I don’t want to jinx myself by speaking too soon, but it looks like I’m well on the way to fulfilling the original promise of this blog (find a way to change your life radically that anyone — or at least lots of people — could make use of), even though at one point I had almost given up on the idea completely.

Of course I’m aware that not everyone speaks English and so not everyone could teach English. How would, for instance, a French person get on trying to live by teaching French in, say, Latvia? This is a very interesting question, and I’m not sure what the answer is at the moment. Or more to the point, a Latvian living in France? Is there demand for tutors of the Latvian language in France?

I’m also vaguely wondering what else can be taught via newspaper ads. It struck me yesterday morning that I could learn astrology and teach that. Or give readings. I don’t believe in astrology, but I don’t see that as a problem. Funnily enough, yesterday evening, by sheer coincidence, I was teaching an English lesson in a shopping centre (shopping centres are surprisingly good places for holding lessons) when what appeared to be an astrologer with a client sat down at the table next to us. The client had even been looking our way before the apparent teacher showed up, perhaps wondering if one of us was the astrologer she was meeting or not. Fascinating. It’s like there’s a whole subculture of people teaching weird things and offering peculiar services.

That’s enough for the moment — needless to say, if you’re looking for English or computer programming lessons either online or in Budapest, be sure to get in touch. After some dithering I’ve figured out that I can now offer you lessons in the following things: English, Java, C#, Perl and C++ (the last four are programming languages). I suppose I could stretch to maths and physics too at a pinch. Or if you want someone to show you around Budapest (in exchange for hard currency of course), I sort of vaguely know the place (this isn’t sarcasm — I really do only vaguely know the place) …..

PS. A friend of mine has a blog reviewing concerts; check it out if you speak Italian: FOTOVIAGGIANDO.

3 Comments on More Teaching English in Budapest

  1. A says:

    Nice blog indeed! I’ve been trying for some time now to find a job as an English language teacher (via internet, since I am still not living in Hungary) and I have no success so far. I also don’t have any teaching qualifications but I have some experience teaching English to a kid and dealing with kids as well + I really love Budapest and I’d like to come back to live there again:) Nice blog that you have! Good luck.

    • Squiffy says:

      Good luck! If you can get together some savings and come here any time except June-August, you can probably make a living just by putting adverts in local newspapers (e.g. Pesti Est) in English, for private lessons. You’ll get about one reply a week and you can charge around 11 euros per hour (some charge a lot more — but they are serious English teachers, which I’m not :) )

      • A says:

        Thanks a lot! I appreciate your advice! I’d really love to go back to Bp but I don’t want to be stuck in an office, so that’s why I am searching for some more flexible (and creative in a way) options :)

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