Part 5 — Moving your belongings to Hungary Are there many expats? Greta, Spain I would agree there are fewer expats in Budapest than in other European capitals. At one point, we had at least three competing English-language newspapers. We had expat bars and expat businesses. The multinationals were just starting up in Hungary and they generally brought in foreign management. Those days are gone. Those people have left. In my neighborhood, every other person you hear on the streets is speaking English.
My guess is much of Budapest foreign population is transient: Expect British stag parties Renting in Budapest used to be cheap. Not anymore Looking for a place?
I have a foreign-sounding name but I was born in Hungary and I still remember when I was sent away from the viewing of a not-too-elegant apartment I wanted to rent. Usually, it just means they want an expat whose company pays the rent. But not this landlady. I turned out to be fluent in Hungarian, and also married, so I was asked to leave, not too politely. The real estate agent apologised later. I have been living here since , and what happened on the rental market was outrageous. As an expat you will want to live in downtown Budapest, and that is where the prices have doubled since I moved here.
First, the landlords went crazy about Airbnb and the city became a Prague-like hub for British tourists. That I can understand. The people who are left behind are generally older people who have more conservative views on politics and immigration. But you must speak it well enough to be understood as they are not familiar with foreigners who butcher their language. Especially outside of Budapest, you are expected to have good manners by providing salutations whenever you enter a place of business and saying good bye as you exit.
Everyone swears that theirs is the best. Wages are low opposed to other european countries. Yes, Hungarian is a notoriously difficult language to master. And you can get by with basic English in many places — at least in Budapest. This contributes to a lot of expats not hanging around. Younger and educated Hungarians under 30 years old generally do speak English with varying degrees of fluency. In the larger cities there will be some films that will be shown in their original languages but with Hungarian subtitles.
There are some expat events in Budapest but you will not likely find much outside of the big cities. Fat is flavour in Hungary. Except for paprika powder both sweet and spicy most of the food is reminiscent of German cuisine as they like their processed pork sausages and salami, potatoes and sauerkraut.
They have a lot of soups and stews as well. Supermarkets are now the place where most do their shopping. Yes, many things can be found in small stores in the bottom of the buildings, but I find that especially with electronics, you will have to go far out to larger stores to find what you want, if it is even there. This is given you are in Budapest. In many towns you will be happy if you can attain some things after a week, after either having ordered it or gone to BP.
The sun will not shine for 6—7 days in a row. It is gray, it is dark. Combine that with many poor people and alcoholic homeless and construction workers. Cars are more expensive.
Driving is nowhere near as comfortable as say in Texas. Most cities have a downtown with old nice buildings, but the outer cities are packed with Panel houses, cracked and poorly painted concrete, and tall grass now mowed, and growing in between the concrete.