ASHLEY, could you introduce yourself?
As an expat in Prague myself, I hope sharing some of my experiences of moving from Charlotte, North Carolina all the way to Brno, CZ and then eventually to Prague helps those also moving abroad to work in the Czech Republic.
In 2014 I graduated from University in the USA and needed some adventure in my life, so I packed up my stuff and found myself an internship in Brno. While working for my previous company I pitched a startup idea to David Semerad within a competition. My pitch didn’t land me in Silicon Valley, but instead, it led me to where I was supposed to be – working in STRV in Prague.
For how long have you been living in the Czech Republic?
For 2 and 1/2 year.
What was the biggest shock (biggest difference) after coming to Prague in comparison to your home country?
The public transportation.
What would help you to make the beginnings here easier?
Move to the Czech Republic with an open mind, don’t come here and expect everything to be as it was at home.
Have you ever been sick here and had to visit a doctor? How was it? Was he or she helpful?
Hospitals and doctors offices look totally different than an American doctors office, but that doesn’t mean the quality is worse. Most Czech doctors speak a little English, but I would ask your expat friends for recommendations. Once you are here, it is very important to establish your general practitioner. Why? Because in order to see any type of specialist doctor in CZ, your GP first has to recommend you. On the flip side, your GP won’t be able to prescribe you a lot of daily medications we get so easily in the USA. Lastly, doctor’s appointments are really a thing here. If you need to go to the doctor, you get there and then just wait in line for your turn. So if you are feeling ill, go early (like 7am/8am early) otherwise you might find yourself waiting 2 hours to see a doctor.
How hard or easy it was for you to find an apartment in Prague?
It is SUPER hard. Breathe, and don’t get frustrated. Rooms within a flat will be posted as available and within 24 hours be reserved. This will take time, but don’t rush it. Having a home / your own space in a foreign country is extremely important, so don’t take the first place you find, make sure you love it. Also, check your route to work, no one wants to spend 45 min a day on 3 different busses to get to work.
Do you have a car in Prague? If not, do you think you could use one or is not necessary?
No car needed, it takes more time to find a parking spot than just taking the metro. Plus, you’ll be saving $$ each month.
How do you spend your free time in Prague?
When it is summer, you need to spend all your free time outside soaking up that sunshine. Explore the city, go to the beer gardens, or take your daily exercise routine outside. During the winter time, it is cold and dark, and you will be inside all the time. Personally, my free time is spent at pottery classes, dance lessons, and drinking beers with friends.
Have you already explored some other parts of the Czech Republic apart from Prague? If yes, which one did you like?
Czech villages are hidden gems. They are beautiful and surrounded by nature.
How do you like Czech food and drinks?
Czech food is a bit heavy for my taste. They really like meat and potatoes. Two Czechs meals you must try: Svíčková and Guláš. Luckily Prague is so international that you can find all different types of food here.
What do you like about Czech Republic (or Prague) the most?
The architecture! Don’t get caught up in your daily routine and forget to look up and see how beautiful the place you live in is.
How did STRV help you with starting your life in Prague?
The amazing thing about STRV is that the moment you arrive to Prague you already have new a family and 100+ new friends. Zuzka helped me find an English speaking doctor when I had an ear infection, Matej hired a relocation specialist to help with my visa, Marketa walked me through how to file my Czech taxes, Lubo helped moved me from Brno to Prague, and the list goes on. STRV is amazing, much love <3.
If you would like to know more about Ashley and her experience you can reach her on: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you Ashley for sharing your story with us.