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1 year in Hungary

Hello  everyone,

Im shadi from Jordan, i'v been living here in Hungary for a year now and so far its an interesting experience for a guy that have been living in the middle east for 36 years! :)

i'm trying to learn the interesting Hungarian language :D and i need a lot more practice for sure :)
I'm also in the process of searching for job, and i hope i can find one before i learn the language.

Another thing that i'm trying to do here is getting the driving license, i need to take the theoretical exam which is in English thank god :) but the problem i couldn't find an English book to prepare my self for the exam its only in Hungarian.

Any help/advice will be appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Shadi.

Hello Shadi

Concerning your job hunt, you may drop an advert in the Jobs in Hungary section of the site.

Wish you all the best :top:

Do share with us the culture shock you have faced in Hungary and the difference with the middle east by creating a new thread :top:

Regards
kenjee
Expat.com

Hello Knejee,

Thank you for your advice about the job advrt.
i dont think there was a shock but i'm sure there was some new things to me that i will try to remember and post here.

Thanks,
Shadi

shadialrasheed :

i couldn't find an English book to prepare my self for the exam

There are some driving schools in Budapest that will provide their own English translation, but they expect you to buy their entire driving course to get it.

Thank you Klaslle,
i contacted one of the schools a while a go and they asked for half of the course price if not more just for the English papers!!

What about getting the HU papers, scan them using character recognition and then pass it through Google Translate?  Might be good enough.

the problem is that the HU book is too big to scan and translate :)

Too big means?  Too Thick, pages larger than A4?

i mean number of pages  :)
not easy to scan

shadialrasheed :

i mean number of pages  :)
not easy to scan

If the book is cheap enough, I am sure you could take it to pieces and get a student to scan it or even translate it for you.  You never know, could be a nice sideline business.

How many pages is the book?
We once scanned an entire book because it was so rare of a book that we didn't want to actually read it and take the chance of ripping a page.
We still have the book in very good shape, published in 1923.
We just read the scanned pages without a care about damaging the real book.
We are selling our book now on e bay if there are any takers, cheapest of the lot at $900., others are going for up to $4,500.
It really wasn't all that hard to scan, just took allot of time.

i think the price is 2500 forints im not sure 100% becuase i got the book from the library
i dont remember how many pages but might give it a try and scan it and will try to translate it even though i dont trust google translate :)

shadialrasheed :

i think the price is 2500 forints im not sure 100% becuase i got the book from the library
i dont remember how many pages but might give it a try and scan it and will try to translate it even though i dont trust google translate :)

For 2500 Ft, you could buy the book and dismantle it, then scan it. Google Translate is not that good but it would give you an idea. And you only have to pass once.

I assume it's in "simple" language suitable for Google. All kinds of people pass driving tests including by the standard of driving here sometimes, ones who have no memory whatsoever of the content of that book.

fluffy2560 :

You never know, could be a nice sideline business.

My wife's parents published a book in Hungary. They gave a few away at some book fairs, and (oddly) sold very few after that. They later discovered there were thousands of copies of their book available in the country. People had simply photocopied and distributed their book (illegally, and ignoring copyrights). My wife's parents lost a lot of money in that venture. (Do note, that in the USA anything published by the government is copyright free (since is was paid by tax dollars), but I do not know if this is true in Hungary -- but even if it is, your translation can still be copyrighted).

So basically, copyrights are not respected here in Hungary. Even many of the politicians simply copy and pasted their dissertations.

I even know of a University professor in Hungary who claimed (wrongly) that if something was transmitted over the Internet, by email or otherwise, it was "stripped" of its copyrights.  :huh:

A lawless, wild west place, Hungary is.

If the book is that cheap only 2,500 forints I would just buy it and not bother with copies.
Good luck with driving in Hungary though.
I know my heart couldn't take driving in the city.
Grew up driving all over S. Cal on the freeway system there but driving in Hungary makes my skin crawl and my hands shake.
Have only driven in the countryside years ago, no problem but city driving and looking for parking is a killer.
My husband used to be a cab driver in his youth in Budapest back in the late 1960's. he still drives in the city but some days even he would rather just hop on the bus then deal with traffic.
What I personally would find hard is the rules on letting the right hand side go first but if the sign indicates you have the right of way then you can just go through a intersection. So many overhanging tress, buses, bikes in the road parked trucks all sorts of things blocking some major traffic signs, If you have not memorised every turn and light before hand you may find yourself in a pickle.
The other drivers have no issue laying on the horn and getting insane, have seen some things on the roads that anywhere else I think both drivers would be hauled in to jail.
Don't need the stress of driving in Budapest, could do it in a pinch but no thanks otherwise.
Only for the brave or the insane.

Marilyn Tassy :

If the book is that cheap only 2,500 forints I would just buy it and not bother with copies...

I think he wants it in English, hence scan to text and shove through Google translate.

That give way to the right at junctions is absolutely crazy.  It causes accidents.   Should be banned.

Yes, I have never heard of such a dangerous traffic law before.
I have seen some crazy things on the roads in Budapest.
A few times people make u turns right in the middle of a major intersection.
Saw a tourist bus get stuck because they went down the wrong sort of st, for a wide vehicle , couldn't go forward or backwards.
Was "entertaining" to watch for a few moments, somehow someway it finally got free.
We often see large tourist buses going down our st. not allowed down our st. but they still keep trying to use the road, Often horns  are going and people are hanging out the windows screaming at the drivers. There is a school near our block and some of those young mothers are too lazy to park and walk their kids to school, mom's screaming at each other at 7 am, nice wake up call.
My husband learned to drive in Budapest around 1968.
He went to school for 6 months to get his 11 driving endorsements.
He paid for the classes and went to traffic school after working a full shift in a factory. He was 19 at the time.
Back then the only way to learn to drive or to even have access to a car for a young man was to become a pro driver.
His father learned to be a pro long haul private driver because it offered him time away in hotels, was a sort of freedom that not many people in Hungary could have at that time.
My BIL was a semi-truck driver in Hungary during the commie days. He loved it too. He was able to leave Hungary and drive all over western Europe, got to see and do thing she otherwise wouldn't of been able to do.
When my husband was a taxi driver in Budapest it was very different then today. Drivers had respect for each other, wore uniforms and had manners.
He even took his suit to a tailor to give it a more MOD cut.
Back then almost everyone could afford to hail a cab, HU was not so out of line in prices and class differences. Anyone with a normal job could afford to ride in a cab if needed.
He was making more money back then too then both of his parents combined income.
Was great for a young man to have the freedom of driving and have spending money all the time.
He later became a driver for the Gerbault bakery,
He would collect all the broken pieces and end bits from the bakers and as he drove past the playground he would stop and give it to all the children for a treat.
Sounds a bit odd now with all the pervs out there but he was just being a nice guy. The kids would all run whenever they saw his truck.
Many of those poor kids would never have eaten such delights if not for him thinking about them. Hungary was a more simple place back then, people would not try to run you down with their cars like now.
Husband taught  at least a dozen Hungarians in New York how to drive. A few never should of been given driving papers though.
Some people are just lousy drivers no matter how much effort is put into learning.
One man we know of drives in Budapest without papers. He is blind in one eye!
As a teenager my sister and I rode in his car in Hollywood, Cal.
a big party where everyone just jumped in cars and we all headed out together. I should of rode with my husband.
Wow, my sister and I had to ask the guy to let us out of is car, he was that bad of a driver. We are /were both tall ladies and we kept hitting out heads on the roof of his car, that's how rough he was.
Have to watch out in Hungary because for one thing, he is on the rode and I am sure he is not alone with being a terrible dangerous driver without papers.

You should all see how people drive in Jordan :D  then im sure u will never complain about how people drive here, for example you have to fight your way in to the round about and  out from it, otherwise no body is goin to let you pass. Even if its your way you have to look around you many times before you cross an intersect because no body stop when they see the stop sign that if we saw it :)
the good thing that we follow the traffic lights and there are a lot of cameras :)

Sounds allot like driving in Italy, when we arrived in Genova ,Italy even my experienced driving husband just went around the round about's for a few circles and we headed right out of town, he didn't want to deal with it at all.
Didn't even make a pit stop there, sad.

shadialrasheed :

You should all see how people drive in Jordan :D  then im sure u will never complain about how people drive here, for example you have to fight your way in to the round about and  out from it, otherwise no body is goin to let you pass. Even if its your way you have to look around you many times before you cross an intersect because no body stop when they see the stop sign that if we saw it :)
the good thing that we follow the traffic lights and there are a lot of cameras :)

I have driven in Jordan and it really wasn't that bad. 

A far worse place is Dhaka (Bangladesh). One needs nerves of steel and an ability to pass objects and people with millimetre precision.  Dodging hundreds, even thousands of people, goats, bicycle rickshaws, crappy trucks and other cars while leaning on the horn and pushing into queues a plenty takes some serious skill.

With a half-decent digital camera you can copy a book a lot quick than you can scan it;  then use the Photocopy filter and AutoContrast in Photoshop to produce sharp black-and-white images you can print out.

zif :

With a half-decent digital camera you can copy a book a lot quick than you can scan it;  then use the Photocopy filter and AutoContrast in Photoshop to produce sharp black-and-white images you can print out.

He should be able to use character recognition in order to put it through Google Translate.  Using a smart phone one can also do dynamic translations from images.  Then maybe make notes on each page.

But has anyone ever got OCR to really work? Correcting the text can take forever.

I just tried OCR'ing a bit of Hungarian text and the result is filled with things like Szép id6'van.

zif :

But has anyone ever got OCR to really work? Correcting the text can take forever.

I just tried OCR'ing a bit of Hungarian text and the result is filled with things like Szép id6'van.

OCR seems to be very much improved these days for English.  But for Hungarian, it could could come out badly. On the other hand, it might get the OP over the driving exam hump sufficiently, even with corrections.

Perhaps the thing to use is Google Translate on Android.  It does quite well on translating directly images from the camera. I just tried it on my phone bill and it's pretty good.  Good enough anyway to get an idea.  I've also tried it on books and it works just the same if you can get a good image.   If you have an Android phone give a try.  Could be a very useful tool.  But needs an internet connection. I configured my WiFi on the phone to access my home WiFi service.

As an aside, one thing which works amazingly well is Google voice searching on Android phones.  It's really good but it doesn't work very well with stronger accents (i.e. Mrs Fluffy).  But it'll teach people to be accurate with their pronunciation! I have shown my daughter and we'll see how she gets on with it as even she's got a Hungarian accent when speaking English.

How much exactly is a driving course in Hungary for English speakers?
I am curious, my husband does all the driving here in HU,been a pro driver since 1968, learned in HUngary.
I however do miss driving at times and as we are both getting on in years it would be nice to give my husband a break with the driving sometimes and do it myself.
I am an excellent driver, don't foresee any big issues with learning the HU rules. Not a law breaker these days so since my US driving papers are over a year old here in HU I do not wish to drive illegally although I would do it in an extreme situation, with old age comes a more carefree attitude.
I  drove in the US back in the early 70's for a year before actually getting legal, no longer wish to be a rebel however.
If it is not more then a few hundred bucks, I may look into taking the course.
I just got notice that I am good to go in HU as a resident for at least the next 10 years, so getting serious about driving is my next hurtle.
Don't think I can go 10 more years without driving a car.

Marilyn Tassy :

If it is not more then a few hundred bucks, I may look into taking the course.

Last time I checked (nearly a decade ago when I first arrived), the required classroom course was then about 130,000 HUF. And that did not include the required first aid course (a separate course and bill). Nor the "extra" cost per hour of road practice you are expected to take.

I do not know what current courses now cost.

But, I also just took my USA driving license to the Hungarian authority, and after a great deal of paperwork, was told I did not need to take the courses. I only needed to take the written and behind the wheel test. Only problem was -- there were no English manuals to study from to learn Hungarian law to prepare for the test. And to get a translated manual from those that had them, wanted to be paid for the full course -- a real Catch 22.

But, I also had a Swiss driving license, which I was just given in Switzerland when I moved there, since I had a US driving license because the Swiss and the US have a bilateral swap agreement. And so do the Swiss and the Hungarians. So I could just exchange directly My Swiss license for a Hungarian one.

If that makes sense. Because it does not. I was the same person, but with my American license I could not prove to the Hungarians I could drive a car. But having a Swiss license I could. So "bilateral" agreements over a third party country clearly trump common sense.

So if one just moves to Switzerland, gets their automatic Swiss driving license, then moves back to Hungary one can get their Hungarian license. No testing required in either country. But US to Hungarian without a test is impossible as there is no direct bilateral agreement.

In short, I have come to the opinion, the world of rules that humans and countries make are just weird and make no sense.

Do you need to live in Switzerland to get a DL there? Or can you just go and visit and get one with your USA DL?

Seems that might be easier than the hassle of getting one in Hungarian! he hee

FeliciaOni :

Do you need to live in Switzerland to get a DL there? Or can you just go and visit and get one with your USA DL?

Good question, since I was maybe not as clear as I should have been.

Yes, I had to request full time living residency in Switzerland to get the Swiss driving license. I lived in Switzerland for many years, and often drove to Hungary (a 10 hour drive).

Does sound  like a catch 22 and a real pain here in HUngary.
Honestly, I have seen some horrible drivers here just like anywhere else, the course can't be all that hard if these morons are out on the roads, seen people make U turns on major intersections in Budapest etc.
The very dumbest thing I personally remember seeing did happen in the US in Albqu. NM, a car was going backwards on the on ramp to a freeway, I mean all the way from the highway up onto the start of the ramp, ok even they got papers to drive, scary out there at times.
I know a HU/US Hu born guy now living in Budapest who is legally blind in one eye, he has no legal paperwork to drive in HU.
Even so, he has a car, someone must of registered it for him in their name( money talks) He is a horrible driver too, I am happy to report he only uses the car once in a blue moon to go shopping at big stores, at least he is not out there everyday on the roads.
He is horrible, as a 19 year old girl( ages ago) I was in his back seat sitting next to my older sister. Some party run where everyone just got in a car and off the crowd went.
My sister and I begged him to let us off so we could walk. He was so bad we were banged up from head to toe, he had a fast back car, a small Mazda and our heads kept hitting the roof with ever turn and insane braking he did.
We found other arrangements on the way home.

Does sound  like a catch 22 and a real pain here in HUngary.
Honestly, I have seen some horrible drivers here just like anywhere else, the course can't be all that hard if these morons are out on the roads, seen people make U turns on major intersections in Budapest etc.
The very dumbest thing I personally remember seeing did happen in the US in Albqu. NM, a car was going backwards on the on ramp to a freeway, I mean all the way from the highway up onto the start of the ramp, ok even they got papers to drive, scary out there at times.
I know a HU/US Hu born guy now living in Budapest who is legally blind in one eye, he has no legal paperwork to drive in HU.
Even so, he has a car, someone must of registered it for him in their name( money talks) He is a horrible driver too, I am happy to report he only uses the car once in a blue moon to go shopping at big stores, at least he is not out there everyday on the roads.
He is horrible, as a 19 year old girl( ages ago) I was in his back seat sitting next to my older sister. Some party run where everyone just got in a car and off the crowd went.
My sister and I begged him to let us  out so we could walk. He was so bad we were banged up from head to toe, he had a fast back car, a small Mazda and our heads kept hitting the roof with ever turn and insane braking he did.
We found other arrangements on the way home.

klsallee :

....If that makes sense. Because it does not. I was the same person, but with my American license I could not prove to the Hungarians I could drive a car. But having a Swiss license I could. So "bilateral" agreements over a third party country clearly trump common sense....

Your anecdote amused me.  I was in a HU bank and, in strange surreal way, something similar happened to me quite some years ago (in the mid-1990s).

I happened to have a new passport. The old one was full up and was expired. British people can apply for a passport at anytime. They cancel the old one and give it back to you as a souvenir or of course, if you still have unexpired visas or permits in it.

So anyway, Mrs Fluffy and I went into the bank to get some cash and to provide my new passport details to them.   

So, arriving at the counter, the teller took one look at my  old passport, noted it was expired and told me I could not do any transactions on my account nor was I entitled to any information about my account.  This is despite them holding all the details of my old passport, me being quite obviously me, matching photo, signature etc, etc.  It took them sometime to realise further up the chain of command that their procedure was defective - they collected ID numbers and cards for locals but for foreigners at that time, passports were the only way to deal with IDs at that bank. My residence permit was insufficient even though once again, it's me in the photo etc. 

Eventually, and begrudgingly, they decided they would replace my old passport details with new ones.  But it took sometime.   There was a genuine lack of comprehension in that bank that even though the paperwork was expired, it did not mean the person was expired.

I was not even allowed to see the screen on their computer to  see that my details were on there. However, when she was talking to a her colleague, I turned the screen around.  She saw me and went ballistic. I said, "what do you care?  it's my account and my data".  After a kerfuffle, she realised the stupidity of the situation and calmed down.

Needless to say, things are not quite the same now and they  are much slicker.

As a side note, I quite like hearing about these absurdities:

I saw a TV programme about house construction in Italy. In some communes you need to apply for a  permit (a null permit?) to say you do not need a permit. 

It's like entering Ireland from a UK flight at Dublin Airport. My colleague told me he has to show his passport to show that he's NOT subject to border controls [others may wish to note that UK and Ireland are in a Common Travel Area without passport controls if travellers are British or Irish citizens]. Work that one out.

Marilyn Tassy :

Honestly, I have seen some horrible drivers here just like anywhere else, the course can't be all that hard if these morons are out on the roads.

Actually, I know someone who took the course, it is not that easy. There is a lot to know, lots of details and road rules (like how much distance must you give between your car and a person driving a scooter versus a bicyclist when passing them on the road -- the distances were not the same in the road driving manual I once saw). And the written test is very comprehensive (you may even be asked about what parts do what in the engine compartment).

I think the drivers are so bad here because once someone gets their license they just start to behave like everyone else (as in -- well it is illegal, but I saw someone else do it and nobody got a ticket sooooooo............... ). I have even seen DE and AT licensed cars start to drive like Hungarians after they are in Hungary a short time.

fluffy2560 :

Work that one out.

I can not work any of them out.

I have been listening to "Beyond Our Ken" from the BBC. And these sceneries all sound like a sketch between Kennith Williams and Kenneth Horne. Only when they do it, it is funny.

Not so funny in real life.

I sort of wish I was going to take the written exam here, I usually do well on written tests, love the challenge.
Took a 8 hour long exam for hairdressing years ago, got a 98%.
I know my husband took the Hungarian driving course back in 1968.
back then the test was 2 or 3 days long, had to  drive all sorts of different vehicles with the instructor grading you, double clutch trucks, a bus, a motorbike, a passenger car, semi-truck too.
Husband still has license to drive 11 types of vehicles in Hungary.
Took a 6 month daily course which he paid for himself as a hobby. Back in 1968 not many Hungarians knew how to drive, for a working class person about the only way to drive was to become a professional driver and take that long course. He also had no written exam, it was all oral in front of a board of stern faced men, 5 or so of them throwing question and after question at him for over an hour. He missed just one question, something to do with how many passengers in a certain type of truck, he said 9 but the answer was 10 as he forgot to include himself, the driver.
He failed the first time around because of that one wrong answer.
I am sure it is a breeze these days to pass.
My husband later taught over a dozen Hungarians in NY how to drive, one was our half blind friend, not my husband's fault the guy just doesn't have the right stuff to drive safely.
Believe me he often freaks at the way some drivers do their road work here in HU.
I do admit they drive worst in the US though.Most US drivers these days have no clue how to use a manual shift, let alone a double clutch.
I know allot about engines and cars, a Cali. gal who's dad used to break down engines in the yard, change out his own clutches and we all helped even doing just minor oil chances. I used to wish to be an auto repair women but was not really  a women's profession in my day, not afraid  of getting greasy. All except the time my BIL spilled all the auto oil in my face while I was helping him under the car with his oil change, he thought it would be funny to unload the whole oil pan on my head, ha, ha, last time I ever helped him with his car.
Not sure why men feel it is funny to do dumb stuff like that to a teenage girl of 14, shoot them down so they give up I suppose.
I used to love to bring out my jumper cables and help stranded men jump start their cars, most don't even know the pos from the neg.
My sisters in-laws bought them their own semi-truck back in 1969,My sister even learned how to drive a double clutch 18 gear semi. All 118 lbs. of her,she was amazing. One of my female cousins is an ex trucker/DJ/rock singer.
One of my buddies in Vegas is from Puerto Rico, a hairdresser for over 35 years, she also just finished a course in being a long haul semi-truck driver! 55 years old and ready to do team driving with her new husband.
Some people just are good at certain things and some people just aren't.
Back in the 60's in Cal, my father used to tell my mom that women just didn't have the stuff to drive a car, that was very common back then not teaching women to drive. My mother learned after her divorce and never slowed down after that. Always drove a big Caddie, not sure if it was because she was classy or because she needed a tank. My step- dad taught all of us females how to change our own tires etc. Anyone who drives should know how to do basic auto care.

Marilyn Tassy :

I sort of wish I was going to take the written exam here, I usually do well on written tests, love the challenge.

No reason why you can not. Try what I did -- see if you can get to the test stage using your USA license only.

But I do remember another American here said he tried to take the written test a few times and failed. The test was in Hungarian and translated using Google Translate -- which made many of the questions unintelligible. Maybe other English speaker who have taken the test had different experiences and will recount them here.

When I asked, the test for the first aid course was oral. But again, I asked years ago, so that may not be true anymore.

It sounds way too expensive to take the driving test in HU.
Not sure I want to live here long enough for it to balance out cost wise, see if I can figure out with google.
Thanks for the idea though.

Marilyn Tassy :

It sounds way too expensive to take the driving test in HU.
Not sure I want to live here long enough for it to balance out cost wise, see if I can figure out with google.

I think I was maybe unclear. In case I was, let me simplify it:

The driving course is what is expensive. They are all run by private companies. The test itself is administered by the government, and not expensive. If you can avoid taking the course, you avoid most of the costs.

The driving manual you can also buy cheaply from the government, but it is in Hungarian. To get a full English translation is again what then costs more. If someone, such as your husband, translates the basics in the manual, you could study for the test from that without much out of pocket expense.

Hope this helps.

Oh,yes, I almost forgot my husband can translate for me, darn been together so long I sometimes forget he has talents.
I may seriously look into this then, thanks.

My husband failed the test in 1968 on his first try like I mentioned but it was a oral test for a pro driver, made one mistake and had to redo the test. Had to drive 10 hours on a motorbike, 20 in a passenger car, 40 in truck etc. with a instructor with him during all those hours of practice driving. No wonder it took 6 months to do the course.
He said it was a bit of a joke thouh at times, old commie system, his truck driving instructor was a night time pro bus driver, he would sit up front in this huge old fashioned double clutch truck totally sleeping while my skinny little hubby drove all over Budapest in heavy traffic. The steering wheel was so huge he could hardly see the road. Talk about a stressful driving course.
He said the only on the motorbike did they let him drive alone, guess they were not going to take any chances of a crash on a bike.

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