Enjoy a new culture with relocation advice in Prague:
Why Relocation Advice?
Relocating to a new city or country is an exciting and rewarding experience, but can also be very difficult with many pitfalls. My relocation advice services are designed to help you avoid or overcome typical problems, and quickly feel at home in your new life.
I was inspired to specialize in relocation advice by my own experiences. I’ve relocated many times in my life. I know first-hand how enriching it is, and how to survive if things get tough. This is why I believe my experiences can be of help to foreigners in Prague looking for a job.
The first time I relocated I was at the peak of my career, managing a small team at a recruitment agency in Prague, when my husband got offered a dream job in Berlin.
I had learned German at school and looked forward to improving it, and to exploring a new city. But my first experiences were difficult. I felt almost childish when speaking German, because my ability to express myself was limited. I was also unsure about how people perceived me when they heard my foreign accent.
These are common problems, but are probably best handled when you’re a young student (below the age of 30, let’s say) or working in a good job. But I was by now in my mid-thirties, and had just walked away from a professional position that gave me social status.
It’s very easy in a situation like this to have your self-confidence shot to pieces. Foreigners in Prague may find themselves with similar feelings.
But there are, as I have learned, ways to handle the situation.
The best relocation advice I can give is: find a job, any job – and that includes voluntary work. This immediately gives you a role and enables you to meet people.
The other option is: start learning the local language, go to language classes, and meet new people in a similar situation.
These are two key paths to gaining respect, recognition, and self-confidence. And eventually feeling at home.
In my case, I did the school first to kick-start my German skills, and then later got a job setting up a new Berlin office for my previous employer in Prague. None of this was easy, but by the end of my first year I had a role in Berlin — a life of my own.
My second year in Berlin presented a new challenge, as I had a baby. I felt keenly the lack of my wider family, not only to help and encourage, but simply to admire the new arrival! There were other issues too. I felt self-conscious talking to my daughter in Czech in public, as if I was immediately marking myself out as a foreigner (which I was, of course), and I wondered how local people viewed me. Then there were the trips to the doctor: so much medical vocabulary that we hadn’t learned at school…
What to do? My second piece of relocation advice is: find a community who speak your native language. I feel that what really “saved my life” at this time was that I made friends with a number of ex-pat Czech mothers, living in Berlin with German husbands.
This was a huge support network, providing solace, friendship and fun. It was also a source of practical advice and experience. And it provided an additional gateway to meeting German people too.
By year 3 in Berlin, I felt I loved it. I had a job, friends, and finally felt at home. So of course my husband got another job, in London, and I was back to square one!
Luckily though, I could now follow my own relocation advice: find work, find Czech friends, make a new life. I was also fortunate that we stayed longer in London, eight years, making lifelong friendships with colleagues, neighbours, and other parents.
What I did not realize was how difficult all this would make coming “home” to Prague. I cannot say that I was a foreigner in Prague. But after eleven years away, it just wasn’t really home anymore.
Reconnecting with old friends, even ones I’d seen frequently over the years away, was not always as easy as I’d expected. Many people are not that interested in your old life. Your perspectives have changed. You’re not a foreigner, but you kind of feel like one.
For me, I felt strangely deflated, like an exciting ride had come to an end. When I watched TV or read the newspaper, things felt narrow and provincial.
How helpful it was to hear the views of an outsider, an ex-pat living in Prague, whose view of the city lifted my spirits:
Prague is a lovely city. There is not a single day when you feel bored. There are activities you can participate in throughout the year. What people don’t realize is that Prague is actually at its most beautiful during late Autumn, when the weather accentuates the Gothic architecture of the city centre. Interestingly, there are not many tourists in Prague at this time. Regardless of your age, culture or religion you will see that there is something for everyone here.
Accommodation is a challenge in Prague, but don’t let that discourage you. There are many pages and groups on Facebook which advertise rooms and/or apartments available to rent. The faster route is to contact a real estate agent.
Czechs take pride in the difficulty of their language and really appreciate it when a foreigner tries to learn to speak. However, knowledge of Czech is not necessary to live in Prague. Most people here speak English. Having said that, it is always good to learn the language of the country you live in – When In Rome, Be Roman 🙂
Prague is a very cosmopolitan city. The fact that it is among the top 10 cities for Erasmus Students, shows that it has a huge inflow of foreign talent. There are many expats living in Prague.
Three years after my return to Prague, I was feeling more at home here and also appreciating its attractions with an outsider’s eyes. But I understand that many foreigners in Prague looking for a job may be struggling with the challenges encountered by ex-pats everywhere.
So, as I said, I would like to share the benefits of my experience via my relocation advice service.
I can offer help with understanding and adapting to Czech culture, with a focus on finding employment. I provide career advice to ex-pats in Prague, I can help you to adapt your CV to suit the local market, to navigate Czech job boards, and to apply for positions here. I can also offer mock interviews in English, and give feedback.
The Czech psychologist Jiri Diamant has written: “Emigration places increased demands on the ability to fit in, it brings long-term stress which can disturb the processes that form our personalities and how they are expressed. This can be observed above all on the ability to maintain one’s own identity in a new stage of life.”
Diamant was reflecting upon experiences of emigration, both his own and those of others who fled Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion of 1968 and had no hope of returning to their homeland.
Most foreigners in Prague are in a much better position, of course. Most are relocating for a short period, by choice, and are looking forward to a new adventure. But in my experience, relocation can also bring huge challenges.
I believe that with relocation advice I can help you conquer these challenges, and enjoy the riches offered by life in a new culture.