Kelly Kennedy Gets Lost and Found while Teaching English in Budapest, Hungary

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This month we chose to feature Kelly Kennedy, currently participating in the Teach in Hungary Internship.  Originally from Honesdale, a small town in North Eastern Pennsylvania, Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in History.    Kelly spent a year teaching in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood in south Florida, worked at a homeless shelter in Phoenix and had been doing mental health work in a few schools prior to his arrival in Budapest.

What does a typical “day in the life” look like in Budapest for Kelly?

I wake up early, go to my business English classes.  My students are all working professionals, so the classes take place before their workday begins.  They are all very good English speakers, so we, more or less, have a conversation for an hour and a half – which is good because they are all smart, interesting people.  Then I usually have a long break before my next class, which usually takes place in the evening.  This gives me time to prepare a lesson, get groceries, write emails, explore the city, get lost, get found, take a nap or do whatever I want – the time is mine.  On weekends, there is always something to do.  The city is very alive at night.

To some people in the TEFL world, Hungary may seem like a destination that is “off the beaten path”.  Have you met many expats, or what other signs of “western” influence have you seen in Budapest?

I have met a great deal of expats here in Budapest.  There are several other organizations that I have incorporated into my network of friends.  I have met others from all European countries, Russians, Canadians, other Americans, South Americans, Australians and New Zealanders – all over the globe.  The city is full of expats because of its central location in Europe and also because of the many great universities located here.  As far as Western influence is concerned, it is the same as most major European cities but of course, is distinctly Hungarian.

What are a few things about Hungary that most people don’t know?

There are a great deal of ex-pats in Budapest and also a great deal of people who speak English.  Each time you meet a new person, you will probably be introduced to their friends and their friends and your network of friends will grow exponentially.  Just a side note:  alcohol is very cheap and there is always a celebration to attend.

The funniest thing that has happened to me in Budapest so far is…

Walking out of a supermarket, I accidentally hit a button that began to close the outer door.  The security guard was running toward me and yelling as the supermarket door was closing.

Before joining the program, I wish I had known…

Hungarian (but it is very hard to learn).

My best day in Hungary so far was…

Two weekends ago, because I went to a friend’s house for a poker game.  His father is the ambassador to Ecuador.  They had an indoor pool and a tremendous house overlooking the city from the Buda hills.  It was a lot of fun.

How do you anticipate this experience will change, or has changed you as a person?

I would say I have become more self-reliant.  You need to find your way around, cook, clean, do laundry, all of these things make you rely more on yourself and less on others.  It is a good thing.

What are your plans after you complete the Teach in Hungary Internship?

I am still unsure.  I am only 1/5th of the way through my commitment.  I may stay for another term or look at other places to teach.  All that I know of today is that I am not ready to leave!  I really like Budapest and there is still a great deal to experience.

Interested in having a worldly experience for yourself? Start your abroad journey by getting an ACCET accredited TEFL Certification!

March 20, 2012