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Hungary > Living


5 Things No One Tells You About Living In Hungary

Published Tuesday August 18, 2015 (15:29:19)

Image © Martijn.Munneke on Flickr

If you are interested in experiencing the culture and traditions of one of Europe’s oldest nations, you may want to think about moving to Hungary. This country has become a popular destination for people from all over the world because of its scenery, lifestyle, safety standards, and cost of living. The number of foreigners in Hungary has gone up significantly since it became a part of the European Union in 2004.

Though it was previously a communist country, Hungary now boasts a vibrant economy. High levels of foreign investment and ownership have strengthened the nation’s economic growth rate to a great extent. There is a huge demand for skilled and experienced professionals at all times. In recent years, Hungary has seen one of the largest drops in unemployment rates across Europe. Several members of the EU are therefore relocating to this country for better career prospects. A considerable proportion of Hungary’s expat population is employed in foreign diplomatic missions or multinational companies in Budapest, the country’s capital.

However, relocating to a new country is never easy. Read on to find out about a few aspects of living in Hungary that you may not be aware of before you move.

1. Learning the language is tough

The national language, Hungarian, is quite different from other European languages. There are 44 letters in the alphabet, 14 vowel phonemes and 25 consonant phonemes. Words are pronounced differently from the way they are written. Most suffixes not only change the meaning and function of the word, they must also adhere to the rules of vowel harmony.

Tourists often get around easily enough as long as they speak Finnish or German. However, if you are planning to live and work in Hungary, you should be able to speak some amount of the local language..

It is advisable to take an online course or some classes in your home country before you make the move. It could take months for you to gain fluency in speaking and understanding Hungarian.

2. Living on a Hungarian salary can be difficult

Hungary is much cheaper in terms of food, clothing, accommodation, leisure activities, accessories, electronics, and traveling than the US, UK, and other European nations. Visitors therefore feel that they are saving a lot of money in this country.

That said, the local pay scales in Hungary are on the lower side too, especially for teachers, administrators, HR executives and customer service representatives. On average, these professionals earn approximately 250,000 HUF (US$ 885 or £570) per month.

If you are drawing an expat’s salary, where your company is paying for most of your expenses, you could lead a comfortable or even luxurious life. The situation is quite similar when it comes to employees working for multinational companies, as they have higher average salaries.

3. Pessimism and corruption are frequently seen

History hasn’t been very kind to the Hungarians. They have lived through several invasions by the Mongols, Turks, Habsburgs, Germans and Russians. Each experience has left deep scars. Being suspicious, overly critical, and cautious therefore comes naturally to many of the locals. Foreigners often find that they are not very friendly and maintain their distance.

Residents of Hungary have also been through several drastic changes in the last few decades. In spite of all the improvements, some people from the older generation believe that things were better years ago, as they had steady work and steady pay back then. Uncertainty, corruption, and delays are common today, and most people have to pay an extra something to get their work done on time. This is common in Hungary and is not seen as strange or unusual by the locals.

4. The food is very rich

Food is more like a religion in this country, and the Hungarians take a lot of pride in their cuisine. People often spend the weekends consuming three-course meals with their families.

Unfortunately, a lot of local food is more about taste than heath. Soup preparations are on the hearty side, and most of the local delicacies are either deep fried or use a lot of lard. Paprika is a common ingredient found in almost all preparations; not for delicate stomachs! .

5. Property crime

Foreigners living in Hungary often claim they feel safe from violent crime. However, many of them will have experienced burglaries at some point or the other. Break-ins are actually quite common, especially in the case of expats, who are believed to have “enough to spare”. In addition to sophisticated alarms, many expats have dogs for increased protection.

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