It was nearly two years ago when I left the comfort and familiarity of my home and headed to eastern Hungary. I was seeking excitement and adventure, and I thought I had a better chance of finding it halfway around the world.
My means of living there was teaching my native language. This resulted in confused responses from my friends because I had never wanted to teach, never studied grammar (aside from the minimum amount that everyone must in the United States), and never particularly liked school. But, none of that stopped me.
The Central European Teaching Program helped me find my way in to Békéscsaba, a town that I probably never would have discovered on my own. I went in thinking that the teaching would be the boring necessity that would fund my adventures, and I thought it would be the worst part. Ironically I really enjoyed the challenges of it, and I actually looked forward to going to work on Monday mornings.
My initial plan had been to stay only for one year, but I had decided to leave my options open. I thought either I would hate teaching and have to move somewhere else for a different job, or not mind teaching but want to explore a new country. It became confusing because I never expected to like the work so much.
The issue became the size of the town. I liked the job, I liked the school, I liked the people, but the town wasn't as big as I wanted. Having a population of about 70,000 it wasn't microscopic, but there weren't many English speakers and very few people my age. It seemed like it was time for a change in location.
I liked Hungary, though, so I decided to focus on the capital city of Budapest. Working there would allow me to remain in the country I was enjoying, but give me all the opportunities of living in a large, cosmpolitan European capital. It was slightly difficult (mostly because of some miscommunication), but I managed to find a new high school to teach at.
Unfortunately, the second year was sort of the opposite of the first. I really liked the city I lived in, but I no longer enjoyed the job in the same way. It wasn't as fun and new, it just felt like going to work. Plus, the first year I did mostly speaking and coversation activities which seemed logical. The second year I worked through textbooks and was forced to teach many concepts that are never used in actual English.
Frustration grew daily as I started to wonder why I was tasked with playing a CD of a person speaking English when I could better demonstrate the language by talking myself. However, the school seemed to be set in its ways, so I simply did as I was told.
My contract was for a year, but I knew I wanted out. The new problem was what to do next. With the worldwide economy still in bad shape, there weren't many job openings. Many of my friends back home were returning to school to get higher degrees, even people who had never planned to. I started to wonder if that should be my strategy.
At first I wasn't thrilled with the thought of going to get more education, but eventually the idea grew on me. I had studied business for my undergraduate degree, and I had very much strayed away from that path. There was always a plan in the back of my mind to get an MBA degree if it looked like it would benefit me, and the positive reasons started to become more and more obvious.
Since my interest is in international business, I decided to stay in Europe for my degree. This led to a search for programs in English, which are fortunately pretty common.
Although I searched all over Europe, I ended up choosing something close to "home." Corvinus University in Budapest has a great program that I applied and was accepted to. So, starting in September I'll be spending two years on the other side of the teacher's desk.
I'm really looking forward to getting back into something that truly interests me, but I can't say that I'm too excited about tests and homework...
Hungarian word of the day:
This is pronounced "Eh-dj-eh-tehm," and it means "University." Not only am I excited about the courses I'll taking, but the building itself is beautiful. It's exactly the sort of environment I want to study in.