Moving to a new country can be an exciting yet challenging experience, especially when it comes to integrating into a new culture and community. Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, has become a popular destination for expats from around the world. I want to share some tips on how you can aid your Prague integration (pun intended) and get the most from your experience.
While English is considered an internationally widely spoken language, and many Czechs indeed speak it, learning a local language doesn’t only grant respect to the culture around you; it can also enhance your experience and connect you to a local community on a deeper level. Of course, many groups and events are targeting English speakers, but learning Czech will broaden your scope. There are many language courses you can take at universities, privately, or hosted by the government. Finding Czech-speaking friends who are willing to teach you or exchange language skills could also be a fun experience. And we cannot forget about a variety of language teaching apps, or online channels. Of course, you do not have to speak fluent Czech, but learning your basic phrases can aid you in your day-to-day adventures and show your commitment to integrating into the Czech community.
Embracing Czech Culture
Czech culture is rich and diverse, and immersing yourself in it will undoubtedly facilitate your integration process. You will find countless historical sites in Prague and nearby. The most common would be Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and Old Town Squares. But there are many castles, parks, cathedrals, and museums you can visit. You can use event/guide apps (e.g., GetYourGuide) to sift through available guided tours, many of which are in groups, enhancing your chances of finding friends. Other than the apps, you can check for more events, like music festivals, theatre performances, and exhibitions, using social media, for example, Facebook. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in Czech cuisine, trying traditional dishes like goulash, svíčková, and trdelník. By appreciating and respecting Czech culture, you will find it easier to connect with locals and develop meaningful relationships.
Connecting with the Expat Community
Prague has a thriving expat community. You can find expat groups on social media platforms, attend related gatherings and events, and participate in language exchange meetups. Websites like Expats.cz can provide valuable resources and help you meet fellow expats who can share their experiences and offer support. An expat network does not only provide social support and friendship, but it can also help you navigate life in Prague by providing insights on such topics as housing, healthcare, and more.
Being Open-Minded and respectful
One of the key factors in successful integration is your openness and respect for the local culture and their way of life. maintaining an open-minded and respectful attitude towards the local culture and customs. Recognize and appreciate the differences between your home country and Czechia, and approach them with curiosity rather than judgment. Respect local customs, traditions, and social norms. Czech people are generally friendly and welcoming, but by showing respect for their culture, you will create a positive impression and foster meaningful connections.
The tips above will not only help you integrate into Prague but also create a home away from home, enriching your expat experience in this captivating city. But do not forget to be yourself. You do not have to change your personality or force a way of life you are not comfortable with. While integration is very important for your quality of life in the country of your choice, sometimes it is not a match, and sometimes it takes a longer time for one to warm up to a new culture. So be kind to yourself and aim to find a community you can belong to.
Bonus links you might find helpful:
By Diana Sultanova, Mental Health Intern and A Fellow Expat