To move or not to move...

Discussion in 'Expat Life' started by BoredintheUSA, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. BoredintheUSA

    BoredintheUSA New Member

    Ok... so I've read all the topics under Expats and I'm in a quandry. What is the real story in the Czech Republic? I'm a 31 yr. old business professional with both a Bachelors and Masters degree and Project Management certificate who is bored to death with life in the US. I want a change of sceanery. From the TEFL certificate sites, it seems all perfectly positive about the job prospects in CZ. I really don't mind the cut in salary or missing some of my current comforts, but I do want to live with money left over to explore Europe.

    Any opinions on this matter?
  2. alenastef

    alenastef Well-Known Member

    Definitely GO FOR IT!!!
  3. CU

    CU Member

    I disagree, dont do it.

    A: Americans are hated the world over, noting their poor educations and obesity, however, the American English is frowned on here terribly with the queens English being the prefered.

    B: I too am american, with a MBA and dont earn enough to travel Europe but maybe 4 days a year.

    C: Prague is terribly overpriced, todays news, Na Prikope is the 18th most expensive street in the world, yet Czechs earn the lowest of ANY EU country.

    D: visit any expat site other than this one and you will fail prey to numerous scams and never fully aclimate into the society, a necessity, for you dont speak czech and therefore , there are only a handful of places you can work. MAX salary for you would be around 2000 USD per month, if your lucky

    E: you would be moving to the land of herna bars and sex shops, nothing more after the few historic sites
  4. Halef

    Halef Well-Known Member

    Let the flame started, shall we?

    Most Czechs can't tell the difference between US and UK English. "Americans are hated the world over" sounds a little paranoic... At least in Europe, even people who dislike the US government have nothing against ordinary Americans.

    It's just the centre that is high-priced, most shops in Prague have normal prices. Besides, Czech Republic is not only Prague. And last, Czech are far from being lowest-income EU country. How about Slovakia, Poland, Hungary,...?

    Actually, this is far above what most Czechs can dream of. USD 1000 is a very good salary, and 600 - 700 is a common one. If I earned 2000 USD a month, I'd live in luxury here.

    This is pure flame...
  5. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Have you been to Czech republic or Europe before?
    Are you sure you will like it here? Maybe trip before relocation is good idea.

    Don't be so sure.
    Do you know you need work permit to work here?
    What about language. Can you make yourself understood in Czech with coworkers?
    Do you have enough money to survive here until you will find job?
    In year 2000 you could have 37 CZK for 1 dollar. Now it's 22 CZK.
  6. CU

    CU Member

    2000 you could have 37 CZK for 1 dollar
    In 1998 it was 42 for a dollar, now it is 22, the math is simple

    Most czechs couldnt tell the difference previously between US and Brits, that has changed...I cant flame a country I am from and love :}

    Fact: Czechs earn the least of all EU countries, recently in the paper, slovaks equaled them.
    FAct: Prague was ranked 28th most epensive city on the world, Manhatten was 27th ( 2 weeks ago in Express) you earn 5 x's less and pay the same.

    Nike is the same price on Vaclavak as it is in Smichov, and dont get me started in electronics, czechs shop in germany for them (front page of iDnes, last month). I just paid 5,990 kc for a pay of Nike Air max 360, in NH and NC they are almost half that price...forget about levis! 25 bucks in maine outlet shop, 80 dollars here!
    |Its not just Prague, Krumlov, Karlovy Vary, all are thinking about Novy Jincin maybe :}

    He wont make 2000, I was trying to be positive for his sake, he will be lucky to make 1300, and u think he can travel Europe???? Czechs dont ski here, it is cheaper and faster and better in the next country also!

    Herna bars and sex shops no??? Been to Zizkov lately? Walked down vaclavak on Sat. night? Oh My darling....sell your soul....from boy bars to Holesovices flea market ( todays 24 hours paper) sex is the main selling point, the town ripped it apart and ruined the atmosphere. It is EVERYWHERE...the new holland.
  7. withoutaim

    withoutaim Active Member

    Praha is reported to be the 55th most expensive capital in the world - behind Budapest, Warszawa. In addition, Prague is the most developed capital among ex-totalitarian countries...
    But anyway, I'd not hesitate and go back to BUSHland... Dont stay here - in ugly hole of Europe. Go, Go, go... 8)
  8. caulfield2

    caulfield2 Well-Known Member

    As an American, I can only say that there are plenty of "ugly Americans" that I've encountered when travelling abroad.

    Usually, it's due to the fact that the majority of Americans who travel abroad are from the upper class (if they're not students) and they don't always treat people very well....especially people who wait on them. OTOH, there's the other 50% of Americans who are gracious, tip exceedingly well and represent my country proudly.

    I wouldn't say that it would be EASY to make $2000, but you shouldn't be discouraged either. I made $24,000 in Colombia last year and the minimum wage is $1 USD per hour, so I was able to save money and travel to my heart's content.

    However, if you're lucky to make $1000-1500 per month, you're not going to be saving much, the cost of living (food, clothing, entertainment, apartment) is going to be eating up 2/3rds of that and you're not going to be able to travel all over Europe unless you do it the cheapest possible way and stay in hostels. That's fine if you're in your 20's, but I'm not sure most thirty-sometings (I'm including myself) enjoy it as much.

    You have to decide whether you want to go into debt and work your way out of it back in the US or Europe after your trip is over.

    Not speaking Czech will cause a problem, unless you're hired as an English teacher....and I am a certified English (not ESL) teacher with a Master's, so universities and private schools might look at me. Without an EFL/Celta (teaching a 2nd language) certification, you're missing out on a lot of other jobs, and the majority of ESL jobs don't pay much around the world.

    I was making $7-8 per hour teaching university classes, while I was making twice that at a private school with a guaranteed salary. A common mistake is thinking that just because you make $75-100,000 in Europe or the US means you will be in demand and be paid comparatively in another country. If you have connections, maybe you can make a good living, but just showing up in a country without a job isn't the easiest thing to do. You might quickly learn that you're not worth as much as you thought you were! But keep investigating and weighing everything you hear, both positively and negatively.
  9. Halef

    Halef Well-Known Member

    Average income in Slovakia, 2.Q 2006: 18 324 Sk, that is 14 256 CZK
    Average income in Czech Republic, 2.Q 2006: 20 036 CZK

    Sources: Slovak and Czech statistic offices.

    This site says: New York 10th, Prague 50th.

    Yes, the branded goods are quite expensive in CR.

    Never been to Zizkov, actually. Have you ever been out of Prague? In Brno center, I know about a pair of night clubs, and one little park where you can meet "social workers" at night :) That's all the visible sex there is.
  10. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Yet in 1994 and 1995, the exchange fluctuated very little, between 26 and 28 CZK to the dollar. Sure perhaps the exchange rate has been better than currently (at least from the American perspective), but it's not much different than 10 years ago.

    I'm curious as to your source (i.e. which paper, which date), because all else I have read indicates that Czech salaries are typically higher than in Slovakia. Halef's stats cited from reliable sources contradict your statement as well.

    Fact: Upstate NY is much cheaper than Manhatten, similar to how Brno (for example) is much cheaper than Prague. That was Halef's point. He never argued the Prague wasn't expensive.

    Shoes and electronics aren't exactly a good comparison to illustrate Halef's point, as they are not typically in demand by tourists (tourists can buy shoes in whatever county they have come from). Plus, Nike and Levis are imported, so of course it will be expensive in the CR. Compare the cost of Bat'a shoes for example on the streets of Prague to imported Italian shoes in Manhatten. In general the cost of such items (shoes, jeans, etc.) is probably a larger percentage of the average Czech income as compared to the average Americans, but still they are not the biggest expenditures by far. The big differences one sees in the costs regionally by city or in different regions of Prague are in real estate (and therefore rent) and restaurant prices (among other touristy types of good/services). The cost of these things can be even 5 times cheaper in other cities (e.g. in 1995 $225/mo for a 2-room flat in Prague 9 versus $50/month for a twice bigger by square foot 3-room flat in Jihlava--and I doubt that this disparity has changed much, although probably the overall prices have increased).

    I don't think Halef disagrees that such things exist, but to characterize the entire country as being flooded by such is ridiculous. Such places are largely confined to small areas in Prague, and the German border regions. Sure one can be propositioned on Vaclavek at night, but many American cities have places where such occurences are not unusual as well.

    I don't know how much time you've spent in the Czech Republic or where and when, but it seems apparent to me that your experience with Czech culture as a whole has been limited to a small, seedier subset and perhaps as well to a narrow geographical region.
  11. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Sorry, CU, you seem very misinformed. Try some serious statistic (ČSÚ, EUROSTAT or, my favorite, OECD) instead of these "hamburger index" statistics used in tabloids.
    You misinterpreted even the statistic you wrote about. It wasn't about prices, but about rental in prestigious commercial areas, and "Na Příkopě" wasn't 18th in the world, but 18th in the list of most expensive areas for each individual country.
  12. CU

    CU Member

    Sorry wer, but you seem to be unable to comprehend the czech language. čtk news souce, todays paper again, and I quote: Pražská ulice Na Příkopě je osmnáctou nejdražší na světe

    what part of that is debatable???!!!!!
  13. alenastef

    alenastef Well-Known Member

  14. CU

    CU Member

    17th, 18th whats the damn point, it is over priced and you earn 5 times less, thats the point.....give good advice!
  15. CU

    CU Member

    Sova, the exchange rate is irrelevant; I live here and work for kc.
    From 42 to 22 is quite the drop, and no fault of the Czechs (Bush is to blame, again)

    The GDP and PPI are the leading indicators of ANY economy, and the CR shows strong results, which has not been passed onto their citizens. A formal government with a stable health policy is warranted. (Great care, but not for foreigners, see Prague Posts foreigners pay more article, VZP great stuff!). Hats off on finally getting a government this week, ours is no better…

    The rate of rents 10 years ago is not relevant, he speaks no Czech and will NOT end up in Novy Jicin, he cannot work there. Albany may be cheaper than Manhattan, but what’s the point, he MUST live in Prague or Brno, HE SPEAKS NO CZECH! NO CZECH=NO WORK outside of those two cities, and even in Prague, only a slim chance of making a living that will allow him to travel!!!

    He is not some backpacker looking to telemarket or teach English, he has made his point clear, along with his education. There is ZERO chance of him making enough to travel...ZERO, ok, give it a 10% chance...but not really!

    Cost of goods: once again, you slide over the news that even Czechs shop in Germany for electronics. Yes, bread, beer, cigs and public transport are cheaper ( beer for 15 outside the center, up to 125 in the center=75 cents up to $5.50, a six pack of Heineken is only 6-7 dollars in the states, so its not that cheap, but tastes better). Transport is a bargain, 460 kc a month, clean and punctual.. What math tells you that making so little is worth living in a country where things are so expensive? Give good advice, you don’t work for the tourism industry!

    You said: but to characterize the entire country as being flooded by such is ridiculous.

    I didn’t say the whole country. We have already established that he is limited to Prague or Brno, and I was speaking of Prague, and quoted Zizkov as an example.
    For the boy from Sumperk, were you in Prague in 1991? Civil disorder was the norm, thousands of prostitutes; I mean thousands swarmed Vaclavak, mostly gypsies, of whom the police feared. Riviera club next to Redutta had no less than hundreds of 15 year olds selling their bodies. Disco’s pumped out 120 db of techno music onto the streets (90 db starts ear damage) and no laws were enforced to stop it. The sex industry was new and thriving. Now, Pavel Bem is a great mayor, and probably the least corrupt of all of them, but a tad of zoning and compliance is in order. Out with the boy bars in the center, but leave Oh my Darling with its tacky old limo taking up 5 spots right in the heart of the town??? Add 40 Africans with little to no Czech to try to drag in the hooligans, and then complain that they come here for stags, after you introduce 50 euro flights from the UK, push boy bars to Vinohrady and Zizkov, no more perliva ulice night walkers, and you think you solved it??

    Mostly, I am offended that when I walk out of my home with my kids, down one block in a completely residential area, I have a German neighbor that slapped a huge sign on his house named MANS LAND. The boys come and go all day long, cameras guard all entries. Now, you know where in Prague I live right??? It’s been in the papers for years. How about Holgar, the life destroyer. Also well published and imprisoned for prostituting young boys, his outfit has changed location dozens of times, all to the demise of thousands of youngsters. Hey, come on, on Žerotínova in Zizkov, there is a night club where the Russian ladies come and go all day ( there is more than one in the 4 block radius) its red light glowing till the morning, RIGHT NEXT to an elementary school ( but there is no smoking on the street there allowed)! The kids walk right next to the whores, unknowingly….

    Outside of Prague, we can all read. From Usti to Karlovy V. they child sex rings are well in place. Prostitutes are available on the roads from 6 am …

    Now, my wife and kids are Czech so, I say: F*** this, it must change. It can’t you say, look at times square. Not until the people complained did that happen.
    But factually, adding more herna bars and sex shows in the town is a big mistake. Your tourism industry is already known for a sex vacation, other than that, it is a 3 day vacation for historical sites, if you don’t go to Krumlov or a spa….

    And Boy Sumperk: the land of Bush isn’t a flame? How many Americans live in Prague? Less than 1000 are registered in the embassy, maybe you could double or triple it.

    200,000 Czechs live in the states, 70,000 illegally, what percentage of your nation is that!

    You do the math, and don’t just tell him to go for it, for it is bad advice…

    from todays
    That's a question I wanted to ask you - how difficult is it for you to let the British public know that there is more to the Czech Republic than Prague?
    "It's definitely very, very difficult and it's definitely a challenge to promote other parts of the country."
    Is there any particular section of the British public you're aiming at? Is there a particular type of British tourist you would like to bring to the Czech Republic?
    "One of our tasks is to change the structure of British people coming to the Czech Republic. As everybody knows, Prague became a very popular beer and stag party destination a couple of years ago. So of course we try to persuade 55-plus people to return to our country."

    But wait, this one is even better:
    But I can never help but wonder how many visitors are here more for the latter than anything else.
    Don't get me wrong, it's true that there are some great nights out to be had, and the beer is some of the world's finest. Yet when bars begin to display signs that read "NO STAG PARTIES" prominently in their doorways, as I've seen in quite a number of places, there is definitely a problem emerging with the "get drunk quickly" mentality, which accompanies them. The arrival of low cost airlines in the capital a few years ago brought this new wave of stag-party tourism to the Czech Republic, and it's now the most lucrative part of the tourist industry in Prague. I've met Czechs who actually find it fairly funny to see, say, a group of 30 people, men and women, all wearing pink bunny ears and tails and many people don't have a problem with this.

    The most lucrative part eh, but .....but nothing, its turned into a big whore house with casinos and herna bars. The new Amesterdam, but no smoking outside at the bus stops, only inside at the resturants! Brillant!

    But its just me you say, and the source isnt one of yours therefore it hogwash eh?

    the parents of Daniel Radcliffe, the teenage actor who plays Harry Potter, did not want him to film in Prague. The reason: the city's wild night life and sex industry. Those reports were subsequently denied by the family, but not before UK-based Czech journalist Jan Jun and his son Dominik wrote to the Radcliffes, rejecting Prague's reputation - particularly in Britain - as a centre for sleaze
  16. caulfield2

    caulfield2 Well-Known Member

    CU, are you Czech, European or American? I'm assuming your wife is Czech? Why don't you live in the country you originally came from, if you're not Czech?

    Why do you live in Prague if you see all these problems? What are you doing to help change them? Are you going to run for City Council?

    What kind of job do you have?

    Obviously every country (and city) has its good and bad points, and the grass is always "greener on the other side."

    Is Brno really that much ahead of other "secondary" or "second-tier" cities? Why has that happened? Would there really be a disproportionate number of English speakers there, as compared to Olomouc or Ostrava?

    Having tourists is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's one of the primary indicators of a successful country, and one that is safe to travel to. After the Borat movie comes out, it will be interesting to see Kazahkstan's strategy! At any rate, I know there are lots of "natives" that hate tourism and tourists, and lots of natives that couldn't survive without them.

    In Cuzco, Pero (near Machu Picchu) 80-85% of the people working there must be involved in different touristic pursuits.
  17. CU

    CU Member

    caufiled, my first post stated I was from the USA. I am married to a Czech, therefore, I have long term residency here. This does not enable me to run for council, and i would not be qualified for that. My family is here, therefore, I have a vested interest in seeing this turn around. Plz note that most of what I've stated was pasted, they are the words of others. As you can see, it is not just my opinion! But to deny its existence is delusional.

    Its not the tourist that did this, they buy into it. The czechs allowed their city to become one big herna bar full of sex klubs, strip shows, brothels, and it is destroying a great land. My point is, dont advice someone to come when they made their reasoning clear: to make enough to travel. It is out of the question...
  18. caulfield2

    caulfield2 Well-Known Member

    May I ask why you don't want to live in the US?

    I ask this from two, the fact that I was married to a Russian and my worst nightmare would have been trying to make a living and raising a family there, simply because her city was not as open to tourism and "outsiders." I was totally helpless there without Russian, of which I knew about 25 words.

    Obviously, as you've noted, there are plenty of what are the positives from your perspective, besides the fact that she's close to her family (this is my assumption)...her church, friends, doctor, things she's comfortable with?

    How bad would it have to get for you to leave and live in another EU country or back in the US? Having gone through the K-3/visa process, it's obviously a bureaucratic nightmare.

    I like the idea of living abroad and I had plenty of opportunities to get married again to a Colombian (while I lived there), but the women in Latin America aren't independent enough for me, and majority don't have higher education like in Europe or Russia. Beauty only goes so far. And that country simply isn't safe enough or educationally-advanced enough for me to consider living there long-term.
  19. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    It is not the whole story. She (Wendy) is bored to death with life in the USA. Security and adventure rarely go together.
  20. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    You brought up the topic of the exchange rate, and yet in spite of saying it's irrelevant, you bring it up again. Why is the fact the "from 42 to 22 is quite the drop" of interest if the exchange rate is irrelevant? My point was that the exchange rate had risen previous to this drop by almost the exact same amount. Yes, fine you work for crowns, and so the exchange rate to dollars is only of interest to you if and when you go back to the U.S. Also, if BoredintheUSA wants to travel in Europe, then the exchange rate is of interest to her, although perhaps not to dollars.

    I have met several Americans living in such towns, knowing next to no Czech, who survived just fine. Not without difficulty, perhaps, or without learning basic phrases, but it is possible with a concerted effort on her part (and dependent on her aptitude for languages).

    I apologize. I had assumed you were speaking of the entire country, and this largely because it had not been established that we were limited her options to only Prague and Brno. Such had never come up during the discussion. And as I mentioned above, I think there are possibilites outside Prague and Brno, however, much slimmer.

    I never said that the absolute rate of rent was relevant, but rather the relative rate between Prague and the other cities. Even Brno, which you don't deny as unavailable to her, is significantly cheaper.

    This is probably true, regardless of where she lives in the Czech Republic, but this is due largely to the exchange rate between Czech crowns and other currencies. Perhaps to Slovakia, Hungary, and some other former eastern bloc countries and infrequently at that.

    Actually, I assume that since she was looking on TEFL certification sites, that she was interested in teaching English, in spite of her educational background.

    I never said it was worth living there, nor did I give advice either way. It's a big decision and not one to take lightly. Rather, I was posting my objections to your statements, which I consider misleading and representative of only a small fraction of the Czech experience. In addition, BoredintheUSA has indicated that money is not the only thing that makes it "worth" living someplace. I can't imagine, from you've said previously, that you are living in Prague for the money either. Yet, it apparently is worth staying because of your family. BoredintheUSA perhaps values still other things that she may well find in the Czech Republic. Hence she seems to be doing some research to find out if it's the place for her.

    As for the continual rantings about the sex industry, in the 7 months I lived in Prague, I was never propositioned, and rarely saw any such activity. Now whether this was because I didn't happen to live in such areas, or because it was 10 years ago, or because I'm not one to go to pubs or touristy areas late at night, I don't know. But the fact that the sex industry seemed virtually invisible to me during that time indicates that it is possible to live there and not be affected by it. Another thing, if it affects you and your family so much, then do something about it or move to another place. Perhaps you're not Czech, but your wife is, and no doubt you both have Czech friends. You're an American, so you should know how change can be affected in a democratic society. Do you think a few isolated complaints changed Times Square? Start organizing your neighbors, friends, etc. to put any pressure on the politicians (they won't listen to a single individual). If you're unwilling or unable to do such for the good of your family, and this problem has really gotten to the point that you fear for your children, then I can't imagine why you stay.

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