Christopher Uden, Principal, International School of Budapest

  • 5 Jul 2023 10:02 AM
Christopher Uden, Principal, International School of Budapest
Christopher is from London. He studied History and Politics and Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett University. Having completed these studies, he undertook a PGCE in Religious Education at Leeds Trinity and All Saints University.

After two years of teaching in Bradford he decided to try teaching in international schools.

He began teaching Geography and History at the IAS Warsaw where he went on to hold the positions of Vice-principal and Principal. During his last three years at this school, he completed his Master's of Education at the University of Dundee.

Whilst working at IAS he led the school through its successful accreditation and served on several accreditation teams for the American accreditation body AdvancED (now part of COGNIA).

Following his 12 years in Warsaw he held Head of School roles at CIS International School - Skolkovo Campus and at the British International School of the University of Lodz.

At both of these schools he led the schools through the change and improvements required to apply for COBIS (Council of British International Schools) membership.

Christopher's biggest priority in education is creating environments that allow for students and teachers to develop and feel that they are able to contribute to positive change.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?

I was fortunate enough to visit Budapest and ISB in April of last year. It was a great experience as it was my first time in Budapest and I immediately fell in love with the city. I have been living here full-time since August 2022. 

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?

Yes, I have lived in Warsaw, where I led the International American School, and Moscow, where I led CIS Skolovo. Although I am from the UK I have always enjoyed traveling and living in Central and Eastern Europe!

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?

The number of people that speak English for me was quite a surprise. Having lived in cities like Moscow where without knowledge of the local language life is very hard, I thought that Hungary might be similar. I was pleasantly surprised about this but that has made me a bit too lazy to learn the language. 

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do? 

Visit the baths. I am a huge fan of this as I think that they are all fantastic and I have never lived in a city with so many of them. Perhaps after that eat a Lángos.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?

This will probably be rather unusual, but I would say Lencse Leves. I find these soups very unique to Hungary and like them very much.

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?

Erős Pista - that stuff is pure magic in a jar!

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?

Without a doubt megálló. Whenever I learn a language I like to play with sounds and words and think this is an important way to start to learn. The word megálló always makes me smile because it sounds so different to bus/tram stop.

8. What do you miss most from home?

Having lived for most of my adult life outside of the UK that is a tough question. However, whenever I do go to the UK the first thing, I want to try is a pint of hand-pulled local bitter. Preferably Samuel Smiths.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?

I have often toyed with the idea of giving up working in education and do something to do with agriculture. I think that there is something very special about the connection between mankind and the land. As Gandhi said, "To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves."

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?

I mean I got over having a fear of flying but I don't think that I would ever want to be a pilot.

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?

On the Polish Baltic coast in a place on the Hel peninsula. It is a truly magical place where you have the sea on both sides of a quite thin strip of land. The weather is not always guaranteed but that is part of the magic of the place.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?

I will most likely spend a fair part of it in the Slovakian High Tatras. I absolutely love the ragged beauty of this mountain range and the spectacular trails that are there.

13. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?

Looking at a map. After years of teaching geography and having a passion for hiking, I always have to get a map of where ever I am so as to start planning my exploration of the local area.

14. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?

I really enjoyed and still do enjoy fishing. I first went fishing when I was 5 years old with my grandfather on the Shannon in Ireland. That kindled a lifelong passion for fishing. I have not tried fishing here in Hungary but I plan to at the earliest possible opportunity.

15. Red wine or white?


16. Book or movie?


17. Morning person or night person?

Morning for sure. I like getting up early and meditating for 20 to 30 minutes before the day popper begins. I try to get outside as soon as possible in the mornings also to hear the sounds that nature has to offer.

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?

I think that violence is for me the biggest social issue of our time. I think it is important to make a strong commitment to non-violence and consider what this means in all aspects of our work and social lives.

19. Buda or Pest side?

Buda - I like the hills too much!

20. What would you say is your personal motto? 

"Don't think about the past. Just be here now... Don't think about the future. Just be here now." - Bhagavan Das.

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