Our dedline for getting to Budapest by March 23rd was due to our first bit of ‘work’ as we were travelling; a week-long English immersion programme called Angloville. Before we started travelling, a friend of ours said that if we get to Poland we should definitely do it. It’s a great opportunity to teach English and for travellers like us we get free food and accommodation for the week in a lovely location, all in exchange for doing something natural to us – talking.
Although the company is based in and usually runs all its courses in Poland, there was a programme running in Hungary, the first one they’d ever done there. We wanted to visit and thought it would be a great opportunity.
The day before the programme began, a free tour of Budapest was organised for the native speakers. There were ten of us, from the United Kingdom, America and New Zealand. The tour of Budapest was great but I will save my thoughts about that city for another blog. For us it was a fantastic opportunity to meet everybody and get to know them before the week started. One of the best things about the programme is you meet such a diverse group of people, some are travelling, others are just there to do a week’s teaching, some have done it numerous times before (by the end of our trip we were those people!). That’s just the native speakers; the Hungarian participants are equally as interesting and brilliant. You have people who run their own business’, people who have travelled and even people who create Guiness World Records for the biggest Tin Soldier in the world.
It is an intensive week, you spend most of the day talking – of course this is much easier for us than for the Hungarian participants who work hard to spend all their time talking in a second language. You correct and teach them as you go along but most of the time it’s just conversations and you really get to know people. You certainly get to know the country very well too, I learnt so much about Hungarian politics, food, lifestyle and most importantly, wine.
It was a unique experience as there was only 20 of us in total, a very small number for an Angloville programme. The hotel we stayed in was in a beautiful but fairly remote place in the countryside about an hour away from Budapest. A great place to feel relaxed and it almost reminded me of a retreat. To add to the relaxation there was a hot tub outside. A great place to unwind after a long day (with a cheeky glass of wine), you look up at the stars, remind yourself of where you are and how you got there and think to yourself: wow. I was very grateful for our journey so far and particularly the time there for the people we met.
By the end of the week you could hear and see the improvements of all the Hungarian participants speaking English. They each have to do a presentation and we each have a mentee who we meet with every morning to help them with this. It’s my favourite part of the week because not only can you see how everyone has improved but you learn that little bit more about them – what their passion is, their career, a bit about where they’re from. I love it.
On the last night we had a wine tasting in the cellar – Hungarian wine is definitely something I will be drinking again. I am a wine (and cider, being from the west country) person and drinking free wine and then going to sit in a hot tub with some new friends is definitely what life is all about.
Angloville was a wonderful opportunity for us to have a free week in a remote part of Hungary, but it was much more than that. We made so many friends who we’re still in contact with now, we got an opportunity to teach (something I’m keen to do more of) and just had a fun, interesting and brilliant week. It was for this reason we signed up to do another one in Poland a few weeks later, and another one after that…but more of this to come later. Check out the Angloville website to see more about the programme.