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An Expat Talks about Living in Budapest, Hungary

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Budapest

How long have you lived there?

6 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Budapest Melting Pot, Internations, Budapest Toastmasters, Budapest groups on Meetup.com, Budapest International Women's Club, British Women's Association, Budapest Accueil (French), Dutch Club Hungary, Expat Hungary, International Women's Club Association of Budapest (IWCA), North American Women's Association of Budapest, Professional Women's Association of Budapest, Institut français de Budapest, Instituto Cervantes de Budapest, Xpatloop.com, Baby Blue Banana (Expat Events), Concerts and bookreadings at TreeHugger Dan's bookshop (there are many branches), Internations Expat Community (they have live meetings), Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Hungary, Buda Juniors Football (Soccer) League (for children), Bat and Ball Junior Cricket Club (for children)

I've posted this list (with links) to our blog: http://athomenetwork.blogspot.com/2010/11/expat-resources-and-websites-budapest.html

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Citizens are quite diverse: when you go to work or home you will pass by men and women of every social standing, race, age and income level. It is truly fascinating and a nice break from Washington, DC where I was working previously. That said, there are neighborhoods that establish themselves with a certain demographic (9th district is for young urbanites, defined sections of 8th district are low-income and uncared for).

As mixed as it is, I feel that some locals are a bit closed off to the minority & low income Roma population, homeless, and other minority groups. I was struck by the non-pc attitudes of some of my friends.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

-Service centers (high-end call centers for major international companies)

-Business and conversational English teaching

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

In my opinion they revolve around socializing. Hungarians seem to place a lot of focus on Holidays, meeting in cafes, traveling to the countryside to visit parents/grandparents on weekends. I say socializing and not family because individuals find it difficult to save money therefore there is a low birth rate.

Back to socializing -I heard that even the Metro ticket controllers work in groups of 2 and 3 so that they have someone to eat lunch with (this could be another interesting priority--as it is lunch and not dinner that is the main, hot meal of the day here).

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Hungary is quite cheap compared to Western Europe and the United States, therefore visitors can enjoy buying food, beverages and souvenirs without feeling a pinch. That said, cost of living is high when local salaries are taken into consideration. When calculated as a percentage of salary, items like clothing, shoes, accessories, baby equipment, furniture, bedding and electronics can feel expensive. Try to bring these with you.

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