How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Some people swear you don't need any which defeats the purpose of being in the FS. At the embassy, the weekly "survivor Hungarian" is great (hopefully they will continue this program). Otherwise you can also get 2 hours a week. Some people paid their own language school to become more proficient. Learning how to read is a minimum, as you will be able to decipher better restaurant menus. In Budapest with young people, English is widely spoken, but outside central districts (let alone the country side) and with older people, forget English! Some actually speak German if this can help you. - Dec 12, 2017
Some people swear you don't need any. We've found that a few months of language lessons (once a week) has been very helpful in enriching our experience. You can definitely get around without it though. It's a really, really hard language. - Jan 23, 2012
You really don't need to know anything for daily living. I have picked up a tiny bit here and there (mostly at the dog park), but it really is not necessary, and I would advise against spending time and energy in a class. Instead, concentrate on a language you can use after your two years here! - Apr 28, 2010
A FAST course would be perfect. Survival Hungarian for restaurants, shopping and public transport is a must though some seem to survive with difficulty. Beyond that, you would really need to have very high proficiency to get more out of the tour. Most official contacts speak English. Every amount of Hungarian helps, though, in this country where most do not speak a second language. - Feb 24, 2008