Peace Corps Hungary Volunteer Assignment Description

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By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 9:12 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps Hungary Volunteer Assignment Description

Peace Corps Hungary Volunteer Assignment Description

Peace Corps Hungary Volunteer Assignment Description

Peace Corps Volunteer Assignment Description

PC Form No. 1658D (Rev. 12/88)

To the Applicant

Unlike many Peace Corps postings, the first volunteer assignments in Hungary are extremely visible. The struggles of the Hungarian people to establish new social and economic systems have caught the world's attention. The governments of Hungary and the United States have agreed that Peace Corps has an important role to play at this historic period. As some of the first volunteers in Hungary, you will be under an international spotlight.

Because of the high visibility of the assignment, you should give serious thought to accepting Peace Corps' invitation. You must be prepared to undergo considerable scrutiny prior to and during your volunteer service. This scrutiny will center on your technical skills as an English teacher, on your interpersonal and intercultural skills, and on your adaptablility and flexibility. This adaptability will be tested as Hungary goes through fundamental changes, as Peace Corps continues to develop a new program, and as Hungarians at all levels become acquainted with Peace Corps as an agency and volunteers as individuals. The future of Peace Corps in Hungary will depend in large part on the performance of the first few groups of volunteers. You are therefore asked to examine your commitment to the task, your readiness for the challenges, and your ability to participate in laying the groundwork for the future. Please do not accept the invitation without serious reflection on and consideration of these factors.

Project History and Objectives

Hungary is experiencing one of the most significant economic and political transformation in its history. It is steadily moving to a free market economy, has established a parliamentary democracy, opened a free press and set sights on joining the European Community by 1992. These changes have been formidable, but tremendous challenges remain ahead as the people of Hungary still face difficult choices and the need for sacrifices. Hungary lacks infrastructure, experience and human and material resources needed for improving conditions and providing new opportunities for all.

Improving the English capability of Hungarian citizens is one step toward establishing an active democracy and a prosperous economy. English is needed to help the country prosper in science and technology, compete in international commerce, integrate successfully into the European Community, and the wider international community. For the Hungarian individual, English represents the language of opportunity: with English, better jobs are attainable, communicating with foreigners both at home and abroad is possible, and professional advancement is feasible.

Students of all levels--from secondary to university--are recognizing the importance of studying English. Since these students are required to study two languages, and since the Ministry of Culture and Education no longer requires the study of Russian, there has been an increased demand for English classes. Schools are now being pressured to offer English courses as never before. Since the study of English was discouraged for several decades, there are relatively few trained English teachers in Hungary. The Ministry of Culture and Education estimates that Hungary needs 10,000 new English teachers to keep up with demand.

Excacerbating the teacher shortage is the fact that every year many English teachers leave their jobs for considerably higher paying professions in industry, trade, and tourism. In addition, since teaching salaries are low, the profession is primarily made up of women who take 2-4 years maternity leaves, sometimes leaving the school with no English teacher. School principals are often forced to hire poor speakers of English with little or no formal training. In response to the lack of adequate English instruction in the public schools, many students study English at private institutions which are expensive and located only in large cities and therefore not available to the average Hungarian citizen. The challenges of providing good English education for all Hungarians are numerous.

In the summer of 1989, President Bush announced that Peace Corps would establish an education program in Hungary to help meet the demand for English teachers. The President promised that a Peace Corps volunteer would be placed in each of the 19 counties in Hungary as well as in Budapest. That promise was fulfilled in September 1990 when 57 volunteers were assigned to teach English in primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities throughout Hungary. Volunteers at every level of education are teaching English classes and are also facilitating the improvement of their colleagues' English language skills. Through the Peace Corps English program, many prospecitve English teachers and adolescents will be afforded the opportunity to further their careers and the country's advancement.

Job Description

Your assignment will be in English Education at either a secondary school or at the junior high level in a primary school. You will be assigned to the Ministry of Culture and Education, which is responsible for English education in all Hungarian public schools. You will be responsible for a variety of activities that will facilitate the English language development of both your students and colleagues. Your primary activity will be to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to students in grades 7 and 8 in a primary school or 9 - 12 in a secondary school. You will also be expected to work on secondary activities and summer projects.

In your first term, you will teach a standard 18-20 hour week. Your EFL classes will focus on improving your students listening and speaking skills. Teaching methodology will be based on a communicative approach and lessons will have a practical application to your student's interests and needs. Students and teachers are particularly interested in American culture and civilization, for example. Additionally, volunteers are encouraged to raise environmental issues in their English classes and develop action plans that promote social reponsibility for the environment. Class size generally ranges from 15-20 students per class, however in a few cases 30 or more students may be in one class.

Beginning the second term, your duties will expand to include assisting English faculty members advance their English proficiency. You will conduct weekly language enrichment classes structured around a variety of topics of interest to your colleagues. These sessions, ranging from activities such as discussing American culture, analyzing modern American short stories, and exploring ways of improving language classes will focus on improving participants' listening and speaking skills, as well as giving information about the United States.

Volunteers in this assignment must be dedicated teachers. Your work will not end at the end of class--students and teachers will ask you to proof-read documents and applications that they have written in English, engage you in conversations about the United States, ask you to sponsor any number of clubs, and bring grammatical questions to you for explanation.

Since language learning in Hungary has been a part of the educational system for centuries, language teaching methodologies are fairly sophisticated. English language teachers, many of whom have never spoken with a native speaker, may be good teachers, but are often shy about using English even though they are fairly proficient. Your primary task in working with your colleagues is to help them become more confident about using their English. We expect you will see wonderful progress.

Finally, you will work on secondary activities throughout your two-year assignment. Secondary activities are those that are continuous throughout your service such as sponsoring an English club, offering letures on American topics to the student body and faculty, or proofreading colleagues' papers or lessons plans. Summer projects, which will be completed during school breaks or vacation, will include such activities as producing audio or video materials, establishing Regional English Language Centers containing teaching materials, teaching in summer English language camps, or conducting language teaching workshops.


You will receive an 11-week, intensive training program prior to beginning your assignment. This Pre-service Training (PST), which will be conducted in Hungary, will containg three main components: technical training, cross-cultural training, and Hungarian language study. The techinical training will focus on Teaching English as a Foreign-Language (TEFL) in Hungary. Classes will provide the theory and methodologies appropriate for language teaching in Hungary.

In addition, a three-week teaching practicum with Hungarian students will help you acquire new teaching skills, refine existing skills and gain a perspective of the Hungarian classroom context.

In cross-cultural training you will compare and contrast Hungarian and American values, attitudes, and beliefs. You will develop skills that will help you to adapt to your new culture as well as learn important facts about Hungarian politics, history and society. In language study, you will learn survival Hungarian. Topics and language functions that you will cover include such areas as taking transportation, asking for directions, accepting or declining invitations, and ordering a meal. Being proficient in Hungarian will be necessary for you life outside of school and enrich your understanding of Hungarian culture.

For part or all your training you will live with a Hungarian family. Sharing meals, spending free-time, and celebrating holidays with a Hungarian family will afford you the opportunity to learn first-hand about Hungarian culture. It will also help you understand cultural differences between Americans and Hungarians.

The training period is a time for you and Peace Corps to reexamine your commitment to the Hungary program and the Ministry of Culture and Education. Throughout the training period, you and training staff will assess your progress toward meeting program objectives. Upon successful completion of the program, you will be sworn in as a volunteer. Please refer to the section on training in your Peace Corps Handbook.


Hungary is a beautiful country with rolling hills, beautiful lakes and rivers and centuries-old architecture. In Hungary, one can fine the charm of a well-kept farm and the hustle and bustle of a capital city.

While the major metropolitan areas are modern and appear to be very cosmopolitan, the quality of life for most Hungarians is poor. Low salaries coupled with rising inflation have made earning a living difficult for most Hungarians. You will find that the majority of you counterparts are forced to work two or three jobs. This results in parents ardently cherishing what little free time they have to spend with their families on the weekends. In spite of this, teachers and students alike will want to cultivate friendships with you.

English-speaking Hungarians who have little opportunity to interact with native speakers will want to practice their English. Since it is only recently that Hungarians have had access to foreigners and foreign information and because they are well-educated and iquisitive, they will be interested in engaging in conversations with you about Hungarian and American politics, history, art, and current events. Volunteers should brush up on their American civics.

Prospective volunteers should, however, be aware of some entrenched Hungarian attitudes and practices. Attitudes towards male-female relationships are somewhat different than in the US. Hungarian men treat women with deference, opening doors, putting on and taking off coats and in general, adhering to traditional attitudes toward women. Most Hungarians smoke; enclosed public places are frequently filled with harsh cigarette smoke and no-smoking signs are often ignored.

Any prospective volunteer who is very uncomfortable with these prevailing attitudes and practices may wish to reconsider accepting an invitation to Peace Corps/Hungary.

Housing is expensive by local standards and difficult to find. Volunteers live, therefore, in a variety of situations: with a Hungarian host family, sharing an apartment in faculty housing or a near-by town, a private room in a faculty dormitory, or a small flat. Since space is at a premium, all accommodations are small.

Hungary, like all of Central Europe has severe environmental problems. Pollution in most cities is pervasive--respiratory illnesses are freuent for both Hungarians and foreigners. Lakes and rivers are also polluted and waste-water treatment is inadequate.

You will receive a living allowance that is equivalent to the income of your Hungarian counterparts, who frequently work two jobs to keep up with inflation. This will enable you to purchase food, clothing, and other essentials and is adequate for your travel around Hungary.

Even with the many economic, political, and environmental difficulties Hungarians face today, the atmosphere is hopeful. Hungarians from all walks of life are sacrificing time and comfort to make a new Hungary. To join them in their effort, to be a part of this historical moment in Europe, will be both fascinating and satisfying to any volunteer who is willing to work hard and give generously of his or her time.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

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By william I. ojinmah on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 8:12 pm: Edit Post


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I remain thankful and awaiting for your favourable reply and refer to receive your reply though posting

Yours faithfully
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