General Expat Tips Please :)

Discussion in 'Expat Life' started by Katie/Katerina, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Katie/Katerina

    Katie/Katerina Active Member

    I am going to be moving to Prague at the end of July/start of August this year, after 3 years of living with my Czech boyfriend in the UK, and 3 amazing trips to Prague (all in late Spring/Summer, because of work constraints). I've begun learning the language- enough to have a very mediocre conversation with my boyfriends friends, and to communicate on food/drink etc with his family, but was hoping I could ply the other expats who visit the sites for tips. Pretty much on anything!

    My boyfriend's mother is being incredibly helpful and organised and setting up one of the new Pargue 'cards' that cover metro transport, etc, for me, and we have accomadation arranged in a family-owned flat in Bohnice, north of the city by Prague Zoo, which has great bus links to the centre just outside.

    As an EU resident I am hoping there is not too much paperwork I need to do, but am still a bit confused as to whether I will ned any kind of work visa or tax number.

    I'm really, really looking forward to finally moving over, as we've been planning to come for some time. I've found some bars (local and central) that I like drinking in (U Provaznice/ U C/Sihelna), and will have just completed my teaching qualification, so have that as a job option to fall back on. I also have experience working in UK art galleries (Tate/Walker/National) and have a strong humanities undergraduate degree...

    So, really, I'm asking an open question to anyone who has tips on work, settling in, adjusting to the city as an expat, developing my language skils, and meeting new people...

    I've just spent two years in UK comprehensive schools, and though a non-teaching job for the first few months at least would allow me more time to adjust to language and life, weather, socialising, etc....

    Any tips please, Prague people ?! :) Thanks in advance for any help :D

    Ooh, and also is it generally safe to run at night around most of the cities suburbs, as I'm a keen runner, and may not want to pay for gym membership until I have a job sorted out.
  2. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Last bit first, Katie. I have been in Prague for two years and it's the safest place I've lived in. I would certainly not worry about running at night although I have never seen anyone doing it so you might be regarded as a bit of an oddity! I don't know where Bohnice is - I thought the zoo was in Troja - but I'll have a look on a map. So I don't know how far you are from Letňany but there's a super gym there that I go to that's only 550kč for a monthly unlimited use pass. And remember, if you've got free/cheap accommodation, that's a huge financial advantage because housing in Prague is comparatively expensive and would normally take the lion's share of your income.

    On the job front, have a look at the websites for all the international schools here - although you've presumably thought of that... As an EU national, you can freely live and work here and my boyfriend's school sorted out all the paper work for him here, for tax and their equivalent of NI. This gives you a Czech EU health card which entitles you to medical treatment. Until you're working, make sure you get a UK EU health card - you can apply on-line. Technically, they are only for visitors, but they have been accepting it at the hospital I go to (Na Homolce) for my regular prescription, even though I have a Prague address.

    You have a great advantage over a lot of other expats coming here - a Czech family and in addition, one that is helping you to learn Czech. Most expats I know who have Czech partners are no better off than the rest of us. They all say their relatives don't have the patience to help them! However, I would advise you to take some classes as I don't think you'll ever really get the grammar if you don't. I went to Czech Language Training in Žižkov and highly recommend them

    Having a Czech family will also help you meet people here. You don't say how old you are - or what your boyfriend's going to be doing - but I would guess about mid-twenties? In that case, a lot of the people he will work with will speak English.

    And I'm sure there's plenty of advice in other posts - I've asked a lot of questions myself over the past two years! - that you'll find helpful.
  3. Torgut

    Torgut Active Member

    I second Polednikova: Prague is the safest place one can imagine. I've been around for about two years, and never saw or heard about any incident regarding safety. So far.

    Polednikova, the zoo is in Troja. She's talking about that "Sidliste" directly north of Troja. Not too far from Letnany is physical terms, but not the best connections, I'm, afraid.

    As to "meeting people" thing I would advice you to take a look at website. I'm a member of that community and we keep a dynamic social life: home parties, walk arounds, weekend days out of Prague exploring the deep countryside, frisbee events, reading group... and much more.

    Additionaly, I assume u know
  4. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Bohnice is (are? It’s plural in Czech.) hard by Troja. I wonder you have never heard of Bohnice. It’s notorious for its psychiatric clinic.
  5. Torgut

    Torgut Active Member

    What do you mean is hardlly by Troja? You leave Troja, you cross a field for 700 m and you are in Bohnice.
  6. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    “Hard by” means “very next to / near / close to” as far as I know. I wonder where I met this expression. I used it without thinking about it and the more I think about it right now the less I’m sure how common it is.
  7. Torgut

    Torgut Active Member

    Humm I see. Not beeing an English native speaker, I wasn't familiar with one, thought you mean "hardly by", which is exactly the opposite :) And yes... it sounds weird... I googled "hard by" and found nothing like that eheh
  8. Katie/Katerina

    Katie/Katerina Active Member

    I've never ever heard the expression 'hard by', but yes, Bohnice is just North of Troja area and most famous for having the largest mental institute in the Czech Republic, which is now aslo used as a large rehab centre. The flat we will be living in is directly opposite the hospital, which is in a massiva estate with beautful grounds. It hosts a music festival in the summer called 'Mezi Ploty', which I've been to before. It's a great, alcohol-free festival.

    Thanks to you all for the help and tips so far. Ican't remember which post you asked me in Polednikova, but yes, I'm mid-twenties (24, will be 25 when I arrive).

    I'm browsing the other posts and will continue to do so.... once again, thanks for the help so far :)

  9. Katie/Katerina

    Katie/Katerina Active Member

    I have just realised that the language training Polednikova advised(CZLT) is also the one quoted by the author of the book on Prague, Rachel Weiss, that I've added to the Expat forum. She recommends one of the tutors there as having patience and a great general knowledge of Czech culture and traditions- I'll definitely have to look into it. Apparently her tutor was the guy who set the school up- Miroslav/Mira. Thanks for the tip :D
  10. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    OT: hard by

    near in space or time; close:
    The factory stands hard by the railroad tracks.

    from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

    very close to:
    Cleveland Place, hard by Bruntsfield Square

    from Collins Essential English Dictionary
  11. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    I said I didn't know where it was, not that I hadn't heard of it. I was being tactful! :wink:
  12. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    That explains it. Hard by is American English. While I've heard of it, I wouldn't use it. I'd say close to, I think.
  13. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    That's probably why we've never been! I don't think I could get through an outdoor concert without beer! There are some great concerts during the summer and we've seen some great bands, all for free, including reallzy popular ones like Čechomor and Blue Effect.

    I don't know what music you like, Katie, but I'm sure you'll be keen on getting to know Czech music better. My boyfriend, Tony, writes a blog which might give you some ideas of gigs to go to. And don't be put off by the 'jazz' word. I thought I didn't like it until I came here and now I love it.
  14. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    I too have never heard "hard by" used in that way.

    Hmm.. is it a regional thing?
  15. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    I've never heard "hard by" used that way, either.

    Hi all!
  16. Katie/Katerina

    Katie/Katerina Active Member

    My boyfriend has introduced me to quite a few Czech bands, and I quite like a few of them. They are mostly rock, pop-rock or ska/punk, and are popular among him and his friends. Those that spring to mind are Wohnout, Tri Sestry, Tleskac, Kabat, Lucie (80s orchestral rock). I also love Support Lesbiens, who are quite cheesy and sing in English but are Czechs from Prague- their music seems to feature on a lot of film soundtracks.

    I have quite a lot of Czech dvds, which were originally bought to help me build up my language, but then the collection grew because I developed a love of the actor Ivan Trojan (his brother is director Petr Trojan)- Czech films are great. very typically European, but with even more ex-Communist black humour and 'there for the sake of it' plot lines- but I'll leave that topic for the media forum.
  17. Alexx

    Alexx Well-Known Member

    I wanted to write I have never heard of "hard by" too, but after what Glenn wrote, it kind of does not make sense anymore. :) I did not even find it in Urban Dictionary.
  18. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    Hard by is hardly an Americanism.

    "When thou walkest through the green pastures, I will be with thee, and when thy way lies hard by the river of the water of life, where lilies bloom, I will strengthen thee." (from a sermon, Charles H. Spurgeon; published 1915)

    "Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes." (John Milton, 17th cent.)

    "Now when we had come to the land that lies hard by, we saw a cave on the border near to the sea, lofty and roofed over with laurels, and there many flocks of sheep and goats were used to rest." (from The Odyssey)

    but also

    "Although it strays a bit far from Auckland's gorgeous harbor, this hotel lies hard by the central downtown shopping district,..." (a Californian about Crowne Plaza Hotel Auckland, 2006)
  19. Alexx

    Alexx Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Do you know what the first one (quoted) is from (the Bible probably, but what translation, what "edition"? Seems to be pretty old to me.
  20. bibax

    bibax Well-Known Member

    It is from a sermon written by Charles H. Spurgeon. He was a Baptist preacher living in London in 19th century.

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