We spent seven fun-filled days teaching English overseas just outside of Budapest in the small town of Monor. The Hungarian participants signed up for this program in order to improve their English skills, primarily through speaking and comprehension. As many of us know when learning a foreign language, it is easy to fall back into your native tongue as soon as you walk out of class. This class, however, was a full week intensive. The only two rules for the week were as follows: 1) be on time and 2) ONLY English was to be spoken.
Most people will tell you that these English-teaching programs are great because they provide you a week of free lodging and meals. This is absolutely true, but that’s not why we’re here to share with you why teaching English overseas was the best decision ever. We’re here to tell you that it was so much more than that. The program we participated in allowed us to understand the Hungarian culture in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. We spent a full week with some seriously amazing humans and learned about their way of life, their politics, and everything in between. Check out this video of the Hungarian participants showing us a traditional song and dance.
Hungarian participants were paired up with an English-speaker as their mentor for the week. Each morning after breakfast, we would meet with our mentees. First, we would discuss any challenges they may have faced in the previous day, including specific words or phrases they needed clarified. Next, we would move onto assisting them with their presentation. Hungarian participants were required to give a presentation at the end of the week in the topic of their choice ENTIRELY in English! Some of them had difficulties putting together full sentences when they started, so you can imagine how big of a challenge this was for them. It was a truly rewarding experience to watch their presentations at the end of the week. Admittedly, there were tears of pride and accomplishment in so many faces.
We volunteered with an organization called Angloville, which we discovered through HelpX, a site dedicated to pairing travelers with locals for a cultural exchange. For those of you that have used HelpX, you know that you have to sift through those looking for free labor to find the gems like Angloville, a reputable organization that runs great programs. Before doing our research, I was blindly invigorated by the opportunity whereas Dan’s hesitation led to thoughts of being kidnapped and our bodies sold for parts in the Hungarian forests. Okay so I know that sounds severe, but we were admittedly a few of naive Americans before this trip changed our lives.
There are numerous benefits to participating in a program like this. We met some awesome people while teaching English overseas. The English-speaking participants were from all over the world including Australia, England, Ireland, Mexico, and the USA. Some young, some old, but all amazing people. We’ve developed friendships and stayed connected with everyone (both English and Hungarian) through Facebook, which is pretty awesome.
I won’t say it was a walk in the park. It was a challenging experience, but if you love talking to strangers and learning about new cultures, this is the program for you. If you are interested in learning more about participating in a program with Angloville, visit their website at www.angloville.com. If you have any specific questions before applying, feel free to reach out – we’re here to answer any questions you have.