When it comes to the debate of which country to choose – and remember I still haven’t made that commitment – one question that comes up frequently (at least with my Eastern European conversationalists) is, which country is kinder? The idea being, where are people more helpful?
I find this impossible to answer if I’m really truthful. When asked in person, and in a quick conversation, I tend to go with how I’m feeling the moment you ask. In writing, or when there actually is a conversation, the answer is longer.
The truth is, it’s impossible to tell. Ask any tourist or foreigner (or even a local) about customer service in Hungary, and you will get an entire litany in return for your question. Ask the same group about Finland, and you’ll get an identical answer. Simply put, the Finnish style is brusque, whereas the Hungarian style is meh. Hungarians are a tad more outgoing (when they find the mood to be right), but getting invited to a family event by a Hungarian who’s merely a friend is tougher than being invited to a Finn’s summer cabin. Or so they say.
Hungarian men are more likely to flirt with you (whereas in Finland that seems to be the lady’s job, unless you’re a foreigner), but going by media reports and personal observations in the streets, Hungarian men are also more likely to abuse you and definitely act more macho. Friendships across gender barriers also seem more prevalent in Finland (though college experience here begs to differ).
The list could go on and on, but the bottom line is, in which place did you receive the most help (providing you were in the same, or very similar, situation in both countries). Because chances are, that’s the country that was / is better for you.