Im-in the press English Version!

The Budapest Times

My Budapest: Samantha Downton

“The adventure was successful”

Budapest is 1,700 kilometers from England; still, countless Brits decide each year to come – perhaps just for a stag party or, often, because of love, to stay for ever. One is Samantha Downton, 26, from Horsham, south of London, who arrived in September 2013 to “begin a new adventure with her partner”.

“The adventure was successful,” Sam, as her friends call her, tells us with a smile, “but not without any valleys and hills to be honest”.
The English woman works as a client advisor for a Hungarian start-up. She loves the weather the most about Hungary and adds with a wink that yes, the cliché about the bad English weather is true; it was quite a long time ago that the United Kingdom had a really nice summer.
“Besides that I think it’s cool you are so close to so many other countries here. I have not visited them yet but it’s on my to-do list for the next summer for sure.”
And what about the less likeable things? “Well, even if it’s another commonplace, the bureaucracy here sometimes drives me mad. I sympathies with everyone who is just moving here and has to dig through the huge hill of official paperwork.”
Samantha discusses similar topics in her blog too, at http://www.britgirlbudapest.wordpress.com. She shares her experiences in Budapest on this platform and tries to give some advice about living in Hungary and all the everyday challenges that come with it. “Some people who read the blog already contacted me and they wanted to meet me,” she says. “They said that they thought my posts were interesting and helpful. For the moment I have about 300 followers, which makes me very happy, considering that I only began writing in April.”

Discover the city by bike

Samantha is living on the Pest side, near Hősök tere. She has not spent much time in Buda yet and consequently has not decided on a “side”. “However, I like the vibe of the whole city, just as it is. Budapest has so much to offer.”
She and her friend discovered the city by bike at first. “You can visit completely different districts this way and many times you find some exciting places by pure coincidence – these can be great parks or interesting and even funny statues, like Columbo and his dog close to the Margaret bridge.
“I was told that the crime series and Peter Falk, the actor, were very popular once in Hungary, and as far as I know the statue is standing in the street named after Falk Miksa, with the same family name.”
Samantha tells us she has a lot of fun discovering such small places and stories around Budapest. And the thing she likes about the city center the most is that something is always going on.
”In December I like to look at different Christmas markets. After that you can go to one of the art cinemas like Puskin or Művész. They offer a great opportunity to see Hungarian movies with English subtitles.”
Even if she cannot prepare a goulash yet – another item on her to-do list – she is very fond of the food in Budapest. “I spend a lot of time testing new restaurants, especially yummy burgers! The Semmi Extra on Bartók Béla street, close to where I work, offers some very tasty freshly prepared burgers, for example. I also like simply sitting in a bar with some friends, watching people and drinking some Fröccs.”

Hol van a macska?

Samantha began studying Hungarian only a few months ago and she has a corresponding beginner level. “My language teacher once said that I have an ‘interesting’ accent in Hungarian. Still, I like the language. My favorite sentence is “hol van a macska?” (where is the cat?), since our cat has the habit to always hide somewhere in our flat.”
When we ask her about Hungarian culture, she says the traditional flower pattern and folk dancing are really close to her: “I love dancing and I like watching the Hungarian folk dance and the costumes. We also have folk dancing in England, like the English country dancing, but unfortunately it’s less and less popular.”
She plans to stay in Hungary with her partner and start a family, “but the future is not carved in stone yet. When someone asked me 18 months ago I would have never thought that I will live abroad and dream about having children,” she finishes with a smile.

Lisa Weil

Samantha Downton’s blog on her life in Budapest: http://www.britgirlbudapest.wordpress.com

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Finding a job in Budapest!

As a native speaker it took me about 5 weeks to find a job after first moving here. For those of you that have degrees and a second language then Budapest is an ideal place to find a job. Whether your a fresh grad or got some work experience there is most likely a position for you:

Firstly your CV

In Hungary the cv layout and content are a little different to that of the UK.

You must include the following information at the top:

A recent picture of your self

Date of birth,Place of Birth,Gender,Contact details.

If you already have your registration card, address card, tax number and national health card state this below.

Qualifications and languages spoken

Work experience

Hobbies/ other interested.

Like the world over the best place to start looking for a job is online:

Main Job advertisement sites.

The best place to start is the online listing. the mains ones are below:

profession.hu

This site is not available in English, but fairly user friendly and the most widely used.

Here are a few translation to help you get started:

Mit keres?

Enter the industry, job position you are looking for.

Hol keres?

Where: enter the city/town.

Click “kereses” to get the results. Any advertisements you see in English will be your options, and sometimes one other language is required.

cvonline.hu

There is an English language version

www.budapestjobs.net/

There is an English language version

Monster.hu

Facebook

There are a few Facebook paged dedicated to jobs in Budapest and quite often people will advertise then in most expat groups.

Quite a lot of the multinationals offer their current employees an incentive scheme to refer potential new employees.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/budapest.jobs/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/127041027306523/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/englishspeakingpeople/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/398718086866410/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1469966139885009/?ref=ts&fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/groups/147484858648323/?ref=ts&fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/BudapestStartupJobs?ref=ts&fref=ts

Multinationals

BT, BP, Nokia,GE,Diageo

Agencies

http://www.budapestagent.com/jobs-in-budapest.html

Friends

Ask around your friends or new acquaintances where they work, they will most likely offer to forward your cv to their hr department.

Salary expectation

This varies so much in Hungary. Of course in Budapest the salaries tend to be higher. Do a little research if you can find any info on the sector you are looking at. Ask around people you know.

When asked your salary expectation you give it as the monthly amount either gross or net.

If you’re offered a job at a multinational they normally have many other incentives on top of the salary. Such as a  phone and sim card, working from home (if you work flexibile hours) and cafeteria vouchers. Which can be spent on bkk Ticket, cultural things, the cinema and restaurants!

Good luck!

The fundamental differences and similarities between Britian, The British, Hungary and the Magyars Part2

Part 2 Hungary and the Magyars

Politics-Hungarian politics is laughable, but similar to the UK in that a lot of people either protest voted for Jobbik this time around or just had no idea who to vote for. Mszp at the end of their last term was found to be corrupt and sadly Fidesz is no better!

The number system-
Sadly Hungarian’s don’t know how to queue. So in most officials buildings, the bank and the post you have to take a number. When a number system is not available it becomes a chaos of people all thinking they have the right to be first even if they arrived last.

Banking

For every small things you do you get charged whether it be, transferring money to another account, paying by card or withdrawal cash, it all costs money. These charges come from very high taxes the government has out on the banks and thus passing onto the consumer banker.  Unlike the UK the banks are making money form the general population rather than from business accounts.

Day to day life

Hungarian’s are generally very laid back people, but some that you encounter on the street can seem a little rude. For example when walking down the street, there maybe a group of 3-4 people taking up the entire path, for some reason they do not feel the need to move slightly behind each other or to the side just for that brief second you are passing. I’m pretty sure regardless of the country this would be considered rude, especially if you did this to the older generations.

Drinking

Hungarian’s can drink just like the British but maybe even more. Never say no to Hazi Palinka.  Always look the person in the eye that you are cheersing with.

Customer Service

It pretty much doesn’t exist here and is very bad in most places. Most restaurants I have been to, it has taken 15-20mins to order a drink and the food takes forever to come out from the kitchen. You have to make up BS stories if you want to return something just because you changed your mind.

Official administration

Referring to my earlier post https://britgirlbudapest.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/bureaucracy-is-no-ones-friend-in-hungary/.

Hungarian official administration is a mind field for any Hungarian let alone a foreigner.

Aliens

There is is this curious notion that some Hungarian’s believe they are descendant from Aliens. Do a google search and you will find some intriguing articles about this.

The Fundamental differences and similarity between Britian, The British,Hungary and the magyars part 1

This post has evolved out of various conversation with friends about stereotypes. I don’t want to write a piece just about stereotypes of both nationalities because, well that’s just stereotypical. It’s more of a comparison piece.

Lets start with Britain and the British as general:

Politics

Just as hopeless as every other country. Like most of Europe the far right (or not so far right) have started to win seats in the Uk and Eu parliament, but I honestly believe that The great British public are just so fed up with the 3 main parties that these are “protest votes.” This party in questions UKIP is full of as much hot air as the rest of them, and if they do get more seats in next years elections, its hardly likely they would follow through with any of their policies.

The weather

Yes it rains a lot (but not ever day) In fact since moving to Budapest the weather seems to  have improved greatly, there actually was a summer this year, kinda typical really. Yes we like to talk about the weather, but it can be so changeable, so its not like every conversation is the same.

Immigration

A sore subject for most! Common opinions include “they take all our jobs” “they use all our resources (nhs,schools ect)” and my favorite “they come here for benefits.” My opinion of immigration in the UK is quite different, I believe it has enriched the country and made it such a more dynamic place to live, but this is a subject for a different post.

The NHS

The Great British institution everybody loves and dislikes at the same time. It’s great that free health care is available, but it’s so stretched beyond it’s means. It’s near on impossible to get a drs appointment, you wait weeks or months for specialised appointments or treatments. That said we could not live without and would never be able to change to an insurance system similar to the US.

North vs South

Southerns are generally more reserved we don’t really know what to do when a stranger talks to us (unless its for directions). Our northern neighbors are far more open and will speak to anyone no matter the situation.

Queuing

The world over believe that The British like to queue. Come on know one likes to queue, but when it has to be done, why shouldn’t it be in an orderly fashion, where every gets their turn in the order they arrived.

Banking

Simple, easy and free for the general public using a basic current account.

Official administration

It’s very easy to find out anything government related online, most things can be done online or via post, no need to go to official offices.

The Royal Family

In recent years since Kate and Prince William got married the love for the royal family has returned, although I’m sure there are the usual moaners who think they are a drain on public funds.

Day to Day life

Always in a rush not enough hours in the day. This is not just in the major towns and cities, but smaller ones. Is it really necessary?

Moaning Myrtles

British people like to have a good old moan about everything. The main topics being the weather, immigration, the economy, petrol prices (it only has to go up a penny and the day is ruined)

Humor

British comedy is dry and very sarcastic. Enough said.

Customer Service

Generally very good. Companies have clear and easy to find returns policies / terms and conditions. Also the British people are very aware of their consumer rights.

What’s your opinion, experience or stereotype of Britain and the British?

Hungary and the Magyars to follow in the next post 😛

 

I’m In the Press!

This week I was luckily enough to be interviewed by Lisa Weil @ the Budapest Zeitung. This is a German Language newspaper based here in Budapest.  The article is entitled mien Budapest (My Budapest) So the Articles in German, so as soon as i have a translation I’ll add here. But the article basically about my last year in Budapest, How I’ve found living here, what I do in my spare time. And of course I had to plug the blog!

Check out the papers website http://www.budapester.hu/ or the sister paper in English http://budapesttimes.hu/

 

mein budapest.jpeg-page-036 mein budapest.jpeg-page-037

 

 

Bkk Fun-their fail

At the end of September I decided I wanted to buy a monthly pass from  one of the new ticket machines. BIG MISTAKE

After going through the whole process and getting to the payment screen everything seem to be going fine. Unfortunately all was not well and the ticket machine did not give any thing, no ticket no receipt.

So we go to the ticket booth and the lady working at the time said we had to go to Deak to file a report. I had to buy a single ticket to get to Deák as I was in Nyugati Metro station.

By this time I was pretty annoyed, I get to Deák customer service desk, explain the problem to the girl. I could tell my the girls face she had understood what I said but she did not know how to reply in English, she just kept saying Igen, Igen (yes). So I said to my other half, please speak to her in Hungarian this is going to be painful enough as it is.

The girls initial reaction is,well the lady at Nyugati shouldn’t have sent you here and the machine probably didn’t take your money, so you should just check it online when you get home. This is a common thing in Hungary when people can’t be bother to deal with a problem (far to often) they just give you some lame reason, so as not to actually deal with any problem. At this point I said to my boyfriend well We’ve lost 1.5hrs of our Sunday just trying to buy a monthly ticket, so lets waste bkk times.

So we said to the girl, well the online banking  won’t update until tomorrow morning, if we don’t file a report now, how can we prove we were ever even at the machine? With a rather large sigh she agrees to complete the form. The first questions is what is the machine number, I’d taken a picture, she puts it in the system. According Bkk system the machine is located at a Hev station pretty far out. The next questions is the best “are you sure this was at Nyugati?”Because I always go around taking picture of ticket machine numbers, obviously the system is wrong. Fair enough these are new machines, but surely there is some logical system to installing the machines?Form complete She tells us that bkk have 30 days to deal with the request. We buy another ticket and go on with the rest of our day.

Monday afternoon I check the bank and surprise surprise the money has been taken. By chance I check the bank a few days later and I was amazed to see the money had been refunded. Which was of course fantastic, but very surprising as thing never happen that quickly in a country slowed by reams of paper work and beauracracy.

Today I receive a phone call from bkk, telling me I cannot get a refund. I do not tell the girl on the other end of the phone that I’d already received a refund but carried on the phone call to say that the money had been taken from my account ect ect. She told me I need to send a copy bank statement by email.

It’s just very funny for me that different departments do not communicate, so I will email my bank statement to them and who knows maybe I’ll get another refund!

Hungary is moving forward especially in Budapest in terms of improving public transport and simplifying things, but they can just never ever seem to get it right first time around. 😦

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