Teaching English II

Posted by – July 18, 2011

Eger - A Very Hot Day

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on Fascinating Experiments. I’ve decided to try to separate out my journal from general articles about Budapest a bit. So although I want to write about some other towns in Hungary when I get round to it, in this post I’m just going to talk about my latest idea for making money in Budapest.

It’s been two and a half months since I arrived here. A while ago I stuck up notices advertising English lessons for 3000 huf (about 11 euros) per hour. 11 euros isn’t a lot, but I thought I could live on it if I could find an absolute shed load of students. I nearly signed up for a CELTA (teaching English as a foreign language course) before concluding that most actual jobs involved teaching children (perhaps this isn’t actually true, I don’t know!) which I’d rather not do. Teaching English to a classful of children who aren’t interested in English? No thanks :)

Since then I’ve talked to some people about teaching English in Budapest in general. I have the impression that it’s actually quite easy to get students to teach English to, but you have to go about it the right way. Demand seems to be high. Native English speakers charge as much as 5000 to 8000 huf per 90 minute lesson by the sounds of it, which together with the high demand could easily translate into a very liveable wage.

The best place to advertise is …. well, but hang on, if I tell you, maybe you’ll advertise there and out-compete me! :)

OK, so I’ll fill in this bit of information after I’ve got some students! Recently I advertised in a block of flats and already I’ve had one enquiry and three contact detail strips have been torn off in only a couple of days. I didn’t put a price on the advert (I think it’s best not to), and the advert was in English.

So this whole teaching English idea seems very promising, and I hope to report more on it in the future, when I’ve got some experience of actually doing it. Hopefully I can also report on where and how to find cheap flats in a few months, since I need to move off the main road in Buda and find somewhere cheaper myself.

If you want to move to Budapest and teach English, you’ll definitely need some savings though!

I’m also applying to take a year-long MA at the Eötvös Loránd (ELTE) university here. I figure that if I could make a living teaching English, I could go on to do a Ph.D. at the university. If this plan works out, I’ll really have fulfilled this blog’s original promise of figuring out a way that a person can practically step into a new lifestyle …. OK, with the help of some savings. You can study an MA at the university for 750 euros per semester (1500 per year). Courses are in English, strangely. I believe you can find somewhere to live in Budapest for as little as 200 euros per month, but more on that later ….

As far as making money online goes, another idea behind this blog, I actually stuck an ad on my other website advertising computer programming lessons via Skype. I got a couple of enquiries but no-one has signed up for lessons yet. One enquiry was about lessons in C#, which I hadn’t used. But because of this enquiry I started looking at it (you can download it free from Microsoft); it’s actually very easy to learn (although OK, I’m an experienced programmer) and comes with tutorials “built in”. So I’ve been developing a simple language-learning game using C#, alongside a language-learning game I’m creating using Flash. The Flash game is making slow progress, but the C# one actually already looks half-complete. Well, this is partly because my Flash game has an ambitious design behind it, whereas the C# game is just something I’m slinging together very quickly with the idea of selling one of those cheap language-learning programmes online that you can find on various other websites. So if you’re interested in learning programming and selling software, I’d say C# is the way to go ….

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