Category Archives: budapest

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

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!

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. 😦

You know when you’ve lived in Hungary too long…………

images

  • You’ve accepted that Sour Cream isn’t just for Nachos.
  • You’ve one pub or bar that you always seem to find your self in.
  • You eat pancakes (palacsinta) as a dessert and not just on pancake day.
  • You’ve given up converting Forint into your home currency because your head just cannot deal with that many numbers.
  • The novelty of seeing 100,000 in your bank has worn off.
  • You don’t find jokes or references to “being hungry” funny anymore.
  • Lake Balaton actually seems like an ocean because it’s been so long since you saw a real beach.
  • Drinking soda water in wine is normal.
  • You know the names of at least 3 different types of fröccs.
  • You realise Hungarian wine is actually very good, and wonder why it isn’t more widely available else where.
  • That it doesn’t matter how much you try to learn Hungarian, your pronunciation (as an English native speaker) of the rolled R will never be correct.
  • When walking around Budapest your visiting friends and relatives tell you you walk to fast.
  • When friends and family cant believe how cheap it is here, you respond “vat is 27%! How is that cheap?”
  • The same friends or family suggest a bar or restaurant they’ve read about in a guide book, your only response is “expensive” or “full of tourists.”
  • Just seeing the word “Fidesz” or an image or Viktor Orban’s face riles you.
  • You can type on a Hungarian keyboard without having to change the imput to “English”
  • You consider a pint of beer costing more than 450Huf is a rip off.
  • You’ve learn’t to say no to a shot of Palinka.

I would just like to add that this list is based on my own experiences and stories other expats have told me. If you have others that you think should be added to the list, add them in a comment or send them through the contact form.

drink-pálinka-and

1 Year in the City

Budapest-hotels

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time flies. The one year anniversary of living in Budapest has been and gone!

Not only have I been looking back over the last year of my life, but also how I feel this blog has become half a help guide to expats half an online diary or maybe even a rant.

I’ve learnt so much about myself in the last year, there are many things I would do differently and things I wouldn’t change.

My patience has grown a little, although I still have my days where I let the bureaucracy get me down.

I do not give up so easily, but there is room for improvement. As far as I’m concerned I’ve managed to live here a year so that is proof enough.

So if you are just moving to Budapest or Hungary in General here is my advise to making your way though your first year.

Getting to know the city!

Buy a pass and use the overground public transport as much as possible.

Walk around the city get to know its streets.

Download the bkv app. Absolute life saver when your lost, it has a map which uses gps only, shows you the closest stops and full timetable of all available public transport!

metromap

Get out and meet people!

Join all the Facebook and other expat communities listed on my “online friending” post.

Learn Hungarian!!

A little goes a long way. When your more settled take classes. I can only recommend Babilon nyleviskola as it the only one I have attended, but there are many in and around the city.

http://www.babilon-nyelvstudio.hu/page.php?id=305

https://www.facebook.com/BabilonNyelviskola

Be patient!

Don’t let the bureaucracy get you down. Although at some times slow, the system does work in its own weird and wonderful way! To live here you have to learn to be laid back if your not already.

I wish you the best of luck! Contact me any time if you need help or advise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Friending

Finding friends in a new place…..How hard can it really be?

Well, before I moved to Budapest I assumed it would be fairly easy to find some like minded people, in reality it is not as easy as it may seem. Originally I went to one of the ‘imp” (International meeting point events) found through Facebook and I did meet one very nice girl who, unfortunately only ended up staying in Budapest 3 months.

So back to the topic at hand, so you move to a new city, find a job and wounder how to stay making friends outside of work?

My first port of call was Facebook, there are many groups that arrange various activities for expats. I’ll post links to all of them at the bottom of this post.

I previously mentioned the Imp event, these are great if you’re wanting to have a few drinks, maybe a little dance, I got the impression the people that go to these events already know each other through studying or work. I meet one girl at this event who happen to sit with a group of other people, but was totally ignored, so I found it all a bit clicky for me. Great for Students who don’t have to be at work at 9am the next day, as these events are always held on a Wednesday fortnightly at Ankert.

So after this event and my exploration of Facebook, I didn’t find any particular event that I was totally into. So I started to search Google and started to find lots of expat website. Through these sites you can sign up, post if you have any questions, look through previous posts of varying really helpful info! Also you can see who the other member are in your town/city and current country of residence.

So I introduce myself to the group and started looking through the various members. I decided it would be best to look for other females around my age, in the hope we may have similar interested. So a few messages later I’ve arranged to meet 2-3 girls.

Never having done anything like this before I can imagine it’s like online dating, but looking for people that in the future may become good friends.

So since the beginning of May I’ve meet 3 girls, 1 Swedish, 1 Mexican and 1 Hungarian. Luckily for me they all speak English very well.

So socially the future looks good. Here is hoping to meet many more wonderful and interesting people!

 

Facebook groups

Hungary expats

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hungary.expats/

Expats in Hungary

https://www.facebook.com/groups/131350060240546/

Expat loop-All expats Budapest

https://www.facebook.com/groups/122772565047/

Expat info-Budapest

https://www.facebook.com/groups/59371492275/

Social events in Budapest

https://www.facebook.com/groups/196401360492850/

International Meeting point

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

English Speaking Expat Goup

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

Danube events

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

Alternatives.

Expat blogs

http://www.expat-blog.com

Internations

www.internations.org

British Expats

http://britishexpats.com/forum/hungary