Teaching English in Budapest

Posted by – June 22, 2011

This is a ‘journal’ post that’s actually on topic, for once.

When I first came to Budapest, after two years of working, studying and stressing, I felt totally exhausted. The weather was a shock to the system, as was suddenly cutting down my ridiculous coffee habit. But now I’m perking up a bit, and I’ve been exploring ways to make money. I have another website where I posted a bunch of articles on computer programming before leaving Holland. Recently I updated it to put an advert for online computer programming lessons on the front page.

At first I was going to charge 25 UK pounds per lesson. I splashed out on a very expensive (208 UK pounds!) one-day advert in the London Evening Standard and Metro, two free newspapers with a massive circulation. But from my ad I only got one response, and I haven’t heard back from that guy. To be honest it was a relief. I don’t know why, but the whole idea sort of felt wrong. But now I’ve dropped the price to 15 UK pounds or 17 euros per hour, and I feel a lot better about it. Maybe somehow it bothered me that I was charging 25 pounds per lesson when I’d never actually taught a lesson online before. Or maybe I just feel more positive today, I don’t know.

It’s interesting to compare the readership of that site with this site. I started this site several months before my other site. This site has no SEO on it; my other site strictly provides useful information, built around key phrases that people are searching for. This site now gets 40-50 visitors a day, but most of them are automated spam robots to judge by the endless spammy comments. My other site now gets often 100 visitors a day, and very little spam. Hopefully some of them will eventually sign up to my online computer programming lessons.

Fly Posting for Beginners

My other idea on how to make money here is to teach English lessons. I think this is something I’d really enjoy, since I have lots of ideas about how to teach English, some of them derived from my experience of attending a language school in Italy where only Italian was spoken, and some of them deriving from my interest in technology. Also it’s nicer to teach in person than online, I think. I’ve been practising on my local Hungarian friend, and her English is coming along nicely ….

Initially I was put off by the fact that the going rate of English lessons in Hungary seems to be a maximum of 3000 forint per hour, or about 11 euros. I couldn’t see how I could pay the rent on so little. But now I think I was being too pessimistic. I’ve discovered that you can rent perfectly nice flats here for less than 200 euros per month; flats that probably don’t suffer from the horrendous traffic noise problem that mine suffers from. So I intend to move somewhere cheaper in a few months when my six-month lease expires.

I’ve been sellotaping adverts with tear-off contact details up around town; my goal is to stick up five a day. The free Inkscape program is perfect for creating this kind of thing. I feel a bit dodgy about this. I keep expecting a policeman to clap his hand on my shoulder and ask me what I think I’m doing, littering the lamp-posts in this manner. But then people tell me that “this is Hungary”, by which I understand that there are comparatively few rules here. I only stick adverts on lamp-posts and noticeboards that already have lots of other adverts stuck to them, and there’s no shortage of those. Walking around Buda or Pest, you’ll pass more than you can count. I’m aiming for quality rather than quantity, sticking up my five a day in the most conspicuous places I can find. My advert’s in English, but I think that’s OK; lots of people here speak some English but would like to speak a lot more, so they can more easily get a job, get a better job, or do business with English-speakers.

"You may walk on the grass"

Whether anything will come of my quasi-legal fly posting, or my discount online computer programming lessons, I don’t know. Watch this space!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.