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Our Move Abroad

Do YOU want to move to Hungary?

We are English and have been living in rural Hungary for over two years. Below is a list of ten things my family and I considered before we made the move over here.

  • Finances: Ask yourself, can you afford it? Prepare a budget, do your maths. Look at your income now and decide if giving up your job will leave you sufficient money to live abroad. Hungary is relatively cheap compared to other parts of Europe so that was an important deciding factor for us. We are fortunate to have two rental properties in the UK so we could afford to retire early. If you are of pensionable age then you can have your UK pension transferred directly to Hungary. You will need to decide how to access your money whilst living here. You can open a Hungarian bank account that accepts Forints (the Hungarian currency) and Pounds (the British currency). You can also use services like http://www.transferwise.com or visit a money exchange to exchange your cash.
  • Use Social Media: Join as many Social Media sites as you can to help you access the cost of living and to ask questions about anything to do with Hungary. Facebook have a variety of groups giving regular useful information. There are also many Ex-Pat groups found using Google. Don’t be shy, they are all very willing to help with enquiries, having been in the same situation as you. Another great source of information is https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-hungary
  • Visiting Hungary: Visit your chosen destination/area as many times as you can, especially try to visit in the colder winter months. As we all know places look much more appealing in the summer. Walk up and down the high street to get a feel for the neighbourhood. Hungary is a nation of dog owners and many homes own a dog and they generally live outside. Check out the local facilities, bus routes, corner shops, schools. Ask yourself is there enough here for me to live happily?
  • Ease of access: Consider how important it is for you to be close to an airport for future visits home. If you have visitors how far will they have to travel to see you? We are a fair distance away which sometimes can be a disadvantage. Check out where the nearest train station is in case you find yourself unexpectedly without transport.
  • Things you might miss: We are a relatively easy to please family when it comes to food. Hungary’s main meats are chicken and pork, and as Hungary is a landlocked country, varieties of fish are limited. However if you look hard enough and ask around you may be able to get lamb and beef straight from the local farmers. The larger supermarkets may sell foods you are familiar with, Heinz Beans, Bisto Gravy Granules, that sort of thing. Or you can ask your UK guests to bring over a supply of whatever you are missing. You can also look at this British online shop delivering to Hungary http://thebritishpantry.hu/ We like to try the Hungarian foods and adapt our tastes accordingly.
  • Research the Culture: Hungarians are quiet people until they get to know you then they are very friendly and kind. They are very proud of their heritage particularly amongst the older generation. Hungarians are competitive sportsmen and have had great success in the Olympics. They take their food very seriously adding paprika to most dishes, certainly an acquired taste. If you have the pleasure of being invited into their home make sure you take a gift and be prepared to accept a shot of their national drink Palinka, it is considered rude to refuse it. Learning about another culture is both wise and polite. It helped us a lot when we first arrived here.
  • Learn Hungarian: Hungarian is considered as one of the hardest languages to learn. Ask yourself, are you willing to get immersed into your community like a local? If you are you need to learn the language. Integrating can be very hard particularly in the rural areas, where the only language spoken is Hungarian. Consider learning as much as you can before you move to at least have a few words to communicate with. It will be well worth it. There are many videos on http://www.youtube.com to help you out or get a phrase book or download to your phone the Google Translate App. You may find that you will need to learn local dialect, but don’t worry, your learning will increase when you are actually here.
  • What about Health Care?: In the UK public health care is free but it is not in Hungary. You will need to consider either taking out health insurance or as we did, join the Hungarian Health Scheme, we pay a monthly nominal amount to be able to access everything the Hungarians do. Make sure to include this important item on your budget list. The hospitals and GP surgery’s are not the same standard as UK but having said that the health care we have received from the doctors and nurses here has been nothing but excellent.
  • What’s the Weather Like? : Hungary is blessed with four definite seasons, being very cold in the winter with snow to very warm in the summer reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius. Being British weather is discussed on a daily basis! The winters have usually passed by early April giving way to wonderful warm weather and the awakening of mother nature. Hot, then warm days last until late October with all the trees changing to beautiful colours. Ask yourself if this is the sort of weather you would like for your new life abroad?
  • Finally: House prices are cheap here and you can get a bargain property that you may want to use just as a holiday home initially. When you do get to that exciting stage of purchasing, check out how much land comes with your property, ours is vast. Far too much and we are not using it to it’s full potential. We had grand ideas of growing masses of vegetables and keeping livestock but our increasing years have made us realise its jolly hard work. Maybe we shall put the land to use in other ways in the future.

By Sue

I am an English Ex-Pat living in Hungary with my wonderful husband and gaming-mad teenage son. You can find me frequently writing, reading and taking photographs. We live in a beautiful small rural village surrounded by forests and lakes always appreciating the beauty around us. Life is good.

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