How has your life changed in Hungary

Hello everyone,

Has your life changed since you moved to Hungary? If so, in what way?

Tell us more about all the changes in your life regarding your family, job, or friends. What about your frame of mind? How would you define your mood?

Leisure activities improve our health and social interactions. How much time do you dedicate to leisure activities and networking nowadays?

Would you say that your standard of living has improved in Hungary? What income differences have you noticed?

On a scale of 0 to 10, tell us how much your expatriation to Hungary has transformed your life (0 = no change, 10 = dramatic change).

We look forward to hearing from you!


I will use a relative scale of 0 to +/-10 between the three countries where I have lived as a long term resident (USA is the baseline at zero for each entry). So zero for Switzerland or Hungary means it is about the same as in the USA, negative value means worse than USA, and positive value means better than USA.

USA -> Switzerland -> Hungary
  0    ->         -2         ->      -2

Reason: just do not see family much here except my wife.

USA -> Switzerland -> Hungary
  0    ->         -3         ->      +1

Reason: Too much cold weather to do most of the leisure things I liked to do, and could do in the USA, outside and year round - especially cycling. Hungary gets a +1 mainly because I am older and smarter now and take other types of leisure in my daily life.

USA -> Switzerland -> Hungary
  0    ->         -2         ->      -1

Reason: From "Leisure" above. Local weather means I get out less here and exercise. Also organic produce is more difficult to find reliably where I live unless I grow it myself.

Social Interactions
USA -> Switzerland -> Hungary
  0    ->           0         ->      0

Reason: More the introvert type.

Standard of living
USA -> Switzerland -> Hungary
  0    ->         -2         ->      +1

Reason: I am not considering "things" here so much (else Switzerland would be positive) but overall "happiness" in how I am personally living here.

USA -> Switzerland -> Hungary
   0   ->         +5         ->      -10

Reason: This is the only scale I am listing that is not for me, as I was never employed in Switzerland or Hungary (being an entrepreneur) but a proxy scale for my wife who has been employed in Switzerland and Hungary to give a local income comparison. Let's face it, Hungarian salaries can be awful.

My life in Hungary is certainly very different to my life in UK. My reason for coming was in order to take early retirement as I was having health problems. Going from employment to retirement is a big change in anyones life, although I have still had lots to do, renovating the house and gardening. I have had to learn new skills such as felling trees and rewiring a house where the wiring is in conduit.

My self imposed standard of living is lower than in UK because my income is low and I try to live within that income. I still have some savings but I'm very aware that they have to last me another 10 years, when I get my UK state pension. My  stress levels are generally lower in Hungary because there is less traffic and crime but life is much more complicated because I don't know much Hungarian. This also severely restricts my social life. I sometimes go for months without having a face to face conversation with another person. This is in very marked contrast to my life in Scotland. As a domestic appliance repairer I used to meet several different people each day and a lot of them were quite chatty.

I am able to stay in reasonable health by pacing myself. I mostly don't do more than about 5 hours of physical work each day, more than that and I could put myself out of action for a week or more. I do pay into the state healthcare system but so far I've not needed any doctor or hospital treatment.

Living in a country with proper seasons  is the part I appreciate most about life in Hungary. In Scotland we often seemed to get winter all year round. I've always tended to look at the maximum and minimum predicted temperatures each day and one summer the highest figure quoted for my area of Scotland was 14c.

Hungary, I was surprised to learn 3 years ago that i have actual family from Hungary besides the family ties through my HU husband. ( A Hungarian/ Polak connection a Ruysn/ Slav thing)
Makes it extra emotional to be in Hungary for me.
Life has changed allot but like another poster mentioned , life used to be allot busier as a working person.

As far as housing goes and weather wise, HU is not even close to what i used to think was my standard of living.
These days however I am just glad to be breathing so all is good.
About the only thing I miss living in Hungary is seeing my son daily and hearing his laugh.
I do not however think Hungary will be my final destination so am trying my best to enjoy every day and every moment here in Hungary.
Money wise, we are ok living per month on less then one of us used to make per week but all is good, life is not all about money making. We save up for big things in the future so live more or less at a level of the average Hungarian working class person here, all is good no  issues at all with that. We save and live on a level we are comfortable with.
I no longer have much interest in buying useless trinkets all the time so we are doing fine on our own here.
Seriously how many things does a person need to be happy, in the long run having family , your health and most of your sanity in tact is enough.
We are able to afford to see doctors and take care of our health needs as needed, really nothing to worry about living over here at all.
The one thing i will really miss about Hungary if and when I leave for good, will be the buildings and a few people.
Over all having lived most of my life in Sunny S. Cal. and Hawaii, the weather in HUngary is horrible to me, all about where you have been and where your coming from.
So many people go on about how wonderful the weather is in Hungary, not so great to me, the springtime is very nice here but that doesn't last long enough.
Our son has mentioned in the past that he wouldn't mind moving to HU again, he lived here for one year with his former HU wife.
If he came here I would have very mixed feelings about it.
He is a HU citizen but overall I think he is better off in every way living in the US.
He seems to think it is his "duty" to have a child of Hungarian birth. Strange but he is more Hungarian in his soul then I thought he was.
As he is now married to a Japanese national, I do not know how that would honestly work out...
I would only support him moving here as a last ditch effort. Hungary is great for retired people who want to stretch out their income but for younger working people it has it's issues.
My son often gets upset with me for not learning Hungarian but as a "old lady" I really have more things to worry about then learning a language that overall I have nothing much to say in.
It would take far too many years and way too much effort to be on a conversational level in Hungarian , by then all my peers would be pushing up daisies  and I doubt anyone really cares to hear the opinions of a elderly old Hippie.

Social life from Asia to Hungary = 10000000x better in HU

Apartment rental from Asia to Hungary  = 100000000x  better in HU

Healthcare from Asia to Hungary = Asia is 1000x better than any country I have lived in.
Amerika and Kanada are pathetic wait times. Asia you just walk right in. (No legal marijuana yet...makes me sad)

Wages are sooooo much lower in HU than Asia.   I mean 1 year in HU is what I made in a month in Asia. :(

Sex life in HU is 10000000000000x better than Asia.

The Hungarian heart is 1000000000x warmer than Asians.

My 0 are off a few ^_^

Forgot the other questions :)
Confessions of a blond.

Marilyn.  You are not old.  In this point in time over 50 it's legal to lie about our age and subtract 20.  It's the law!

I like telling people how old I really am since I look at least a good 10-15 years younger and act 50 years younger then my age.
I told my husband to let me know when wearing skinny jeans no longer works for me, at that time, I will consider myself old, not until then however... In the mean time, I'll try to stay away from mirrors!!

I can only really compare my life experience in Hungary to England although I did live in Wales for a short while and that was very different from England.
I am just living in Hungary for the experience and when I reach proper retirement age I will probably gravitate towards living more in the uk. However the quality of my life and style is 50% better.
I've had my country holiday home for six years now and I love it.  In the uk I could never afford to have such a large garden and have the peace and quiet of living in a lovely forest.  I enjoy gardening and learning more about ecological issues and trying out different things on the land.

I love my apartment in Budapest and I can find something different to do everyday and never get bored.  I can be a bit of a home body but I hate feeling cooped up.  My apartment on the south coast in England was expensive and so small in comparison that I was out and about a lot more whereas in Budapest I can work easily at home uninterrupted or even unaware of neighbours because we are all respectfully quiet.

My overheads for accommodation,  daily living,  transport and socialising costs less than a quarter of what I would spend in the uk.  So not having to work all the time is a big boon.
My life is different because I no longer work full time. But I do like to be occupied so I have had to seek out interesting opportunities to do things in Budapest.  I usually find what I am looking for.

I also find it easier to save up and travel to visit friends and family in the uk. Budapest is also a good base for travel in general and the airport is very convenient for me offering many destinations.
The weather tends to be slightly better than in the uk. I love the proper seasons.

  So overall my life does offer better opportunities. But there are some drawbacks which I find frustrating. 
Hungarians don't tend to turn up to do practical work such as plumbing,  etc.  And work done is at a low standard.
Getting new glasses etc is a lot cheaper for me in the uk. I prefer my own cooking and I am awkwardly vegetarian.
I dislike dishonesty and  like most countries foreigners get overcharged for things.  This is not just older people like me,  I have also heard many more  rip off stories from my younger student friends such as being overcharged for accommodation,  supermarket shopping,  meals out,   taxis etc..  But as I said the same happens in most countries with outsiders.

The scenery is not as beautiful as many parts of the UK and I miss the sea and proper beaches.

I am a sociable person and especially since having a base in Budapest I have made more friends and had opportunities to join in with social events.  New friendships do tend to be more superficial than in the uk.  Probably because in the English speaking community people are often planning the next move or a move back home. I do tend to have younger friends in hungary than in the uk because I like to be out and about doing rather than getting old before my time. Hungarian families tend to be very traditional and they age quicker and although I respect it and people who choose traditional roles it is not part of my cosmology.

Prices for most of the things I want are too high in Hungary or I can't find what I want so recently I have been lugging a suitcase back and forwards.

I rarely buy new things and prefer to recycle and save the earth's resources.  So I also miss junk shop shopping and car boots in the uk.  The Hungarian ones so far have not been as interesting. Second hand items are very overpriced in comparison to the uk.

I am a bit of a blue stocking and I do miss that intellectual side of life. I realise I will never be fluent enough in Hungarian to discuss issues in depth but fortunately I can usually keep up to date on the Internet and work wise as a psychologist there are lots of online seminars etc to keep me sufficiently in the loop.

@anns that was a lovely response, interesting, informative and enlightening.  A couple of people have mentioned "the seasons"  I laughed but in reality that is important to an "Englishman" we are obsessed by the weather.  We are holidaying next week and I myself have  already checked the weather...typical English HahHa!

Hi there. I've been to Hungary many times, and have just spent an extended stay of 3 months. I'm back next month, and based North of Budapest in Szentendre. Magyar is proving damn near impossible, but I am targetting one word a day and failing. Do you want to strike up a conversation?

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