One of the first things you’ll notice about the Czech Republic is the beauty of the old buildings and the rich history. As a country, there is a lot of diversity; Prague is a relatively modern city and finding services and help will be substantially easier there than compared to smaller towns. When I lived in the Czech Republic a simple Google search brought what I needed most often, otherwise I just asked a local. In general Czech people are somewhat cold, but still helpful, especially if you try to speak some Czech. Aside from Prague and Brno, the majority of older people will not speak English, but it is common for English to be taught in schools so most young people should know some basic English.
Depending on where you have lived and travelled, you might experience some culture shock when arriving in the Czech Republic. Particularly in the touristic areas you will find a large number of beggars. The biggest culture shock I observed when living in the Czech Republic was the number of men who would drink beer on the trains and trams as early as 7am!
During my time in the Czech Republic I was faced with very little hostility. For the most part, the locals are welcoming of foreigners and tourists, because they understand that a substantial amount of their country’s wealth comes from tourism. You might find that a Czech person will be genuinely surprised when a foreigner chooses to immigrate here.
The police in the Czech Republic are rumoured to be somewhat corrupt. They’re firm, approachable, but in a somewhat typical Czech fashion, they’re particularly unfriendly. Dealing with Czech Bureaucrats can be tiresome and it is advised, where possible, to deal with them in person early in the morning, taking along someone who speaks Czech. When I was applying for my Working Holiday Visa, my email containing questions was literally forwarded around the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ten times.
Finding cheap, private accommodation is not too difficult in the bigger cities in the Czech Republic. Compared to Western Europe, property prices even in central Prague are low and your money will stretch much further, an average two-bedroom apartment in Prague will cost between 15,000-25,000 CZK (€600-1000). For short-term stays such as for a short employment contract or for an academic semester, it might be worth looking into renting a fully furnished apartment. You can use a bilingual real estate agent to help you find a suitable property, or alternatively, you can browse the following property listings directly.
The most helpful sites listed primarily in English are shown below:
You might have more luck finding a suitable property browsing Czech websites, we suggest the following:
There are Czech property laws that protect the tenants, although they are notoriously in favour of the landlord most of the time. For more information on Czech property laws visit this site:
Your ability to find a job will depend very much on your experience and whether you can speak Czech or not. For foreigners who do not speak Czech the positions you will be able to find will be somewhat limited. If you’re interested in teaching a language, particularly one that is in high demand (English mostly, but also German and French), you will find it relatively easy to find employment in Prague and the larger cities.
If teaching is not something you are interested in, here are some common types of employment expats find themselves working in the Czech Republic: Computer industry, service, graphic design, architecture, freelancing of any type, business consulting, small business ventures and recruitment.
One of my friends found a great job working as a business consultant for an international company; he applied for the job in London and was offered a position in Prague. The advantage of this, aside from living in one of the most charming cities in the world, is that he earns a Western European salary while paying Czech prices.
Czech women are renowned for being some of the most beautiful women in the world. The men on the other hand, do not have quite the same reputation. Czechs are romantic people and they are not reserved about kissing in public. You’ll find many couples kissing passionately in parks, around Charles’ bridge and more surprisingly on the metros and elevators. Any time, it seems, is the perfect time to show your affection.
Czechs are famous for inventing beer, producing some of the best in the world and drinking the most. It is not surprising then, that most of their social activities are focused around their local pub, downing the delicious pivo. If you’re looking to meet a local Czech partner, the easiest option will be to head down to a local pub, not one crammed with tourists. Czechs warm up considerably after a few beers, so this is a good way to establish a Czech social group and potentially meet a partner.
Younger Czechs are much more open and interested in socialising with foreigners and the fact that you are exotic will make you inherently attractive and interesting. During my time in the Czech Republic I found that young people genuinely enjoyed practising their English on me, which made for a good conversation starter.
Due to the somewhat closed society of Czechs, your biggest challenge might be meeting a Czech person you’d like to date. If you’re not into pubs, you could try a popular “speed dating” night hosted in Prague, more information here:
Sexiest stereotypes are still present in the Czech Republic, with the man the breadwinner and the woman solely responsible for the cleaning and cooking. Now it is not uncommon for the woman to work as well, but she will still be responsible for the housekeeping. If you’re planning to take a Czech lady on a date, be prepared to foot the entire bill for.
Immigration rules will vary greatly depending on what country you are from. I was very lucky to be able to apply for a one year Working Holiday Visa, which is only open to nationals of New Zealand or Canada. Another route is to apply for a “Green Card” which is open to a few more nationalities, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, Canada and Japan. This can be valid for up to three years, but there is also the possibility of extension, so long as you are a skilled worker. See more information here:
Bare in mind if you are looking to teach English as a native English speaker, candidates from England who do not need a visa for the Czech Republic will be favoured. Applying for a visa in advance will dramatically increase your chances.
It is particularly difficult to get permanent residency in the Czech Republic as a foreigner. Instead you will be likely given temporary residency, which could be defined in the following parameters: 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years or “forever” – akin to permanent residency.
The best way to find out what is appropriate for your circumstance is to visit the following website:
The Czech Republic is a beautiful country, rich in history with a number of great attractions to visit depending on the time of year. One of my favourite things to do in Prague, during the summer, is to sit in some of little bars huddling along the river.
Lake Lipno: located about 30 km southwest of Český Krumlov, turns into the largest outdoor ice-skating rink during the deep of winter. It’s a great activity that delights everyone; young or old. Skating from one village to another, stopping for a beer and a light lunch, before returning back, was one of the highlights of my time in the Czech Republic.
Olomouc: a very charming and beautiful city that is far off the tourist route. Perfect for people watching, while sitting in a trendy café, during summer it comes alive with numerous festivals including the largest beer festival (very Czech) in the country, a music festival and a ten-day city festival. The St. Wenceslas Cathedral was one of the most impressive churches that I saw in all of all Europe.
Telč: A small gem, often overlooked by the hoards of tourists that make their way from Prague straight to Český Krumlov. The beautiful square, lined with gingerbread-like houses, is home to one of the most enchanting castles in all of Czech Republic. I really enjoyed the guided tour through the castle, seeing all the elegant rooms and learning a little more about the deep and rich history of this country.
Check the prices of your removal to Czech Republic.
Written by Christine Berry, a New Zealander who cherished the opportunity to work in the Czech Republic for six months as an English teacher. I spent the majority of my weekends exploring towns I’d never heard of, ice-skating, skiing and enjoying pivo a little too much. There’s something absolutely magical about living in the Czech Republic, a country that’s come so far in the past two decades.
Contribution by Michael Pawlicki
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