10 things I wish someone told me before I moved to Prague

Moving to a new country can certainly be a very strong life experience. No matter how much I was travelling before, and all the knowledge and experience I had accumulated on intercultural learning, culture shock and stuff like that, the fact of actually moving to Prague, Czech Republic in 2015 still hit me like a truckload of bricks.

Granted, Prague is a wonderful place to live in (and one of the main tourist destinations in Europe) and I don’t regret at all my decision. Still, at times it may be hard. That’s why I decided to write this post which will be a bit more silly than the rest of the stories I publish on this blog.

Hope is, this may help others not to make the same mistake and never leave home to adapt more easily when moving to a different country. Or maybe not, but it feels very liberating to be able to put these thoughts in plain text. And anyway, learning about a different culture is also the best way to learn about our own culture, and ourselves.

Don’t make my same mistakes. A new culture can embrace you a bit too tight, sometimes.

A bit of a disclaimer here: I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. The post intends to be humourous and has to be read with a bit of a satirical tone in mind. Plus, if you think that my observations are not complete and comprehensive, it’s because they aren’t. They are just that: observations.

If in the post there is something that offsets you – hey, peace. We can breathe the same air and have different opinions on stuff. Hard to believe, but it’s possible. Maybe you don’t like the music, but please don’t shoot the pianist. 

Edit (after 3 days and about 5,000 visits):

A BIT MORE DISCLAIMING. As I feared, the first wasn’t enough. The post got an unexpected visibility (great!) and with visibility, come people who read quickly and are willing to get offended even more quickly (not so great!). To hopefully end the arguments, the meaning of the word “satire” can be found here.  


Anyway, ready for the list? Here we go!

1) For Czech Republic, Prague is “The Capitol” from The Hunger Games.


In Italy, Rome is the political capital, but there are many main cities with their own distinct identity, and sometimes something interesting happens there too (except in Viterbo, because nothing ever happens there). It’s like the country has more than one centre of gravity, and it’s fine.

But here in the Czech Republic, Prague is really THE city. Everything happens there, and all the power seems to be concentrated in one place. Politics, culture, media, jobs, opportunities. People just live different lives than in the rest of the country, can do strange things like being vegan or have an Asian brunch, they wear fancy clothes and have blue or purple hair.

Prague natives are also somewhat proud of their local accent (which to me sounds funnier, slower, with longer vowels, and seems to be really hated by everybody else in the country).

Salaries are way higher than anywhere else, but so is rent (like two, three times more), eating out and basically everything else.

See what I mean?

But if you travel just outside of the city, you will enter a different country. Small-town Czech Republic will present different challenges of course (be prepared to attract puzzled looks as a foreigner, and almost nobody will understanding a word of English, for example), but it will also provide with unique rewards and many hidden gems.

Like having a full meal or a round of beers for an incredible price. Or meeting people who love to live a simpler, slower life and will be genuinely interested in hearing about you. I had experiences especially in the area around Brno and Ostrava. New companies, farms, NGOs and the local university are very active to create an alternative to the “Capitol City” lifestyle.

If you love art and history, the country has the highest concentration of perfectly preserved castles in Europe, apparently. And the nature is also really diverse, peaceful and beautiful.

Seriously, plan a trip to explore Czech Republic outside Prague, when you have a chance. You will be rewarded.

2) A lot of people seem to be in a bad mood. Always.

The grumpiest of all is probably the president, Milos Zeman.

Aaah, there is something true in every stereotype, isn’t there?

The average Czech you meet in the street will most likely be in a great hurry to be somewhere else than in your presence (see point #7, below), and will look like they just had a very bad day. Even if it’s early in the morning – maybe even worse. This grumpiness extends to driving (= no patience at all for the slightest hesitation or mistake) and public transport (= if you stand in the wrong line or place, someone will correct that. Probably by pushing, elbowing or stomping on your feet).  At least, in Prague. Having to rely on a random act of kindness by a stranger can be an experience that requires patience. For your own good, try never to be confused by the bureaucracy in a public office, and never, ever get stuck with your car on the side of the road.

In a way, it’s a very encouraging learning environment. In the sense that you are encouraged to learn fast. Or die.

3) Language is hard. I mean: real hard


No, seriously. Sources disagree, but I read that it’s one of the hardest in Europe, and possibly in the world. It’s estimated that a person needs about 4 years of study to reach fluency (and I am not studying).

First of all, there are some factors that don’t encourage you to learn it at all. You can live in a social bubble that doesn’t speak Czech, for example. Or, you can just panic and stop going out altogether. I would know, I tried it.

But if you try to learn the beautiful language, at the beginning you feel like everything is against you. Accents and digraphs make for a stunning 42 characters in the alphabet (nice, uh?). Some sounds are also very specific to learn, with the terrible Ř that will give me troubles until the end of my life. It sounds like a drrj, by the way

And then, grammar starts.

7 cases (for the first time in my life I am happy I studied all that Latin at school) and 4 genders (!): masculine, feminine, neutrum and masculine inanimated. The latter still doesn’t make any sense at all to me – as well to anybody else I asked, including native speakers. It’s for objects that are not objects enough to get the neutrum, maybe. I don’t know. The word for car (auto) is neutrum, while the train (vlak) is masculine. Go figure.

There are also (a few) good news. At least there are no articles, thanks to the cases. Which explains why many Czechs don’t know what to do with articles in languages like English or French. And the verbs and prepositions are not such a horrible mess as in Italian.

Not only Czech is a slavic language, but it’s considered the model for many other languages of the group. Which means, more “pure” and with less foreign interferences. Arranging an appointment or a date is a challenge, since you have to learn even the names of the week days and the months from scratch. Your only hope for help is if you speak Polish or Slovak, and that’s not exactly helping my case here.

The longest sentence without a vowel seems to be: Strč prst skrz krk (“stick your finger through your throat”). Try that next time, as a tonguetwister!

Edit: as Petr E commented, the longest sentence without a vowel seems to be different. “Blb vlk pln žbrnd zdrhl hrd z mlh Brd skrz vrch Smrk v čtvrť srn Krč.” (A dumb wolf full of bad drinks proudly excaped from the mist of Brdy forest through Smrk hill into the deers’ district Krč).

“Full of bad drinks” surely indicates that the wolf is not Czech. Polish, probably.

4) Eating & Drinking habits can be equally intense. 


Czech Republic is famous for its beer, and rightly so. Czechs are well aware of it. They seem to be the biggest beer drinkers in the whole world (followed by the Seychelles. Which makes sense. What else are you supposed to do, if you live on a paradise island? Drink until you explode, obviously).

A Czech drinks an average of 142 litres of beer in a year, which makes for almost a pint a day, each day, for every man, woman or child living in the country. Not bad at all.

This helps to put a lot of things in context, for example the first time I met my father-in-law, and we all ended up totally drunk, before having dinner. But no worries, Czechs also love drinking wine, as well as everything else with alcohol. All in the name of health (na zdraví) of course. Of course.

When you are at it, try Kofola. It’s the national alternative to Coca Cola. I find it more refreshing!


Same for the food. Czech traditional cuisine is like other parts of the culture: rich, solid, intimidating. It’s a paradise for high protein, meat eaters. Bara, my wife, has approximately half my body mass. And yet she never ceases to surprise me when she digs into her Svíčková (roasted beef with onion, double boiled in cream and served with dumplings) like it’s a piece of cake. But then, she would never eat fruit after a meal, because “it’s bad for digestion”. Makes sense. 

5) People like to be naked and to go around just like that. 


Now, nothing could prepare me for this. Czechs have a very casual approach to nudity (which somehow extends to sexuality at least in part, but that’s another story). Be warned when you accept an invitation to go to sauna, for example. In most places it’s actually forbidden to enter with your swimming suit on! 

A visit to a “Beer Spa” however (picture above) is one of the things you have to do, before you die. Yes, you are actually bathing in beer. No, the girls are not always there.

But not only. My friends here have absolutely no problem at all getting naked for a quick swim in the local river or lake, even with people having their picnics all around. It’s just a thing they do.

If I can imagine a scale going from total prudishness to absolute love for nudity, it would probably look like this:


And I was thinking to be more or less in a comfortable middle position.

But actually, I still feel terribly embarassed about that one time I had to take a swim in my underwear…

Being in the Czech Republic and engaging in social activities here, challenged me on how prude I really am.

6) Xenophobia is on the rise. Except, maybe not really. 


Now that’s worrying, when talking about Central Europe. Don’t take me wrong, it could be much worse (think Hungary, or Poland). Things here are still much softer, and Czechs don’t like to take an extreme point of view on racism – just as on many other topics. It’s not a culture of strong, radical opinions.

The country, and Prague in particular, has a very strong international vocation and is right in the middle between Eastern and Western Europe, which is why it has always been a natural crossroads of cultures.

But here is the thing, the whole place is a paradox.  The international presence in the country is strong (about 4.5%), and in Prague, almost 10% of residents are non-Czech. And yet, politicians and opinion leaders manage to pull out incredibly racist or aggressive stunts, like President Zeman who manages to insult someone with every other speech, or like that time when a group of “activists” held an event in the Old Town Square involving a jeep, a camel and firing shots in the air with a fake kalashnikov – creating general panic to “warn against the danger of a Muslim invasion”. Crazy.

Yes, this thing really happened.

Also, to add to the general confusion, two of the most visible political leaders in the somewhat-nationalist-area are Tomio Okamura (Czech, of Japanese origins) and Andrej Babiš (Slovak), media tycoon, Finance Minister and possible next Prime Minister. One would think that the country must be really welcoming towards foreigners, except… they try to convince everybody that it isn’t so.

To make a comparison: imagine a Canadian citizen who moves to USA, manages to join the Republican Party and becomes a member of the US Government; then, on top of that, he makes a coalition with the Democratic President, and together they work to warn people against the danger of a “Mexican invasion”.

It’s not a perfect example (and Zeman certainly is not Obama), but it more or less gives an idea of how intricate things look.

Look. I don’t want to sound too strict or ungenerous. The truth is that the vast majority of the people I have met here have a big heart, a strong sense of hospitality, and are generous beyond words. And every time I try to remind them that I, too, am an immigrant indeed, the comment I receive is “naa, you are fine“.

And after all, I guess that’s the bottom line about racism. People from a different background look and feel scary at first, but after you meet them in person, you realise that naa, they are just fine. And this is valid everywhere.

(The fact that one of them may end up marrying your daughter has probably also a role in how fast you accept that fact, I guess).

So my final opinion on this is: maybe because of the media pressure or the general international situation, Czechs would like to portray themselves as intolerant and unwelcoming. Just to feel like everybody else.

But they fail, because… they aren’t!

7) Time keeping and planning stuff is not a habit. It’s a national obsession. 


Now this came from the words of Sabrina, a German (I said, German) volunteer who was in Prague for a period. “Czechs are totally obsessed with time!“, she cried. As I found out, it’s completely true.

Czechs are almost always in a hurry getting someplace or another, and they just love to keep their agendas as packed as possible, and then some. From the (early) morning till sunset, they just need to be busy. Work, leisure, culture and social time, everything is organised and planned and the more details, the better. When you are 5 minutes late, you are late (and people will be grumpy, see #2).

This is also reflected as they travel. When abroad, if things are not super organised, clearly described and planned to the tiniest detail, they will feel slightly lost and without direction. Which will result in more grumpiness and some (always polite) passive-aggressive complaining.

One of the first sentences I learned is “máte plán na vikend?”, which means “what’s your plan for the weekend?

I came to fear the sound of these words, since when I am not somewhere working I love to keep my weekends as empty as possible, like desolate desert islands where only dead projects and ideas lay, shipwrecked. A space for reflection, inspiration and pure and simple lazyness. 

But Czechs always have a plan for their weekends. Sports (the harder, the better: see point 8 below), trips, family meetings, events. When they really have nothing else to do, they move to their little country houses, where they spend saturday and sunday “relaxing”: that is, working their ass off to repair the roof, fix an old bicycle or weed out the garden. And then, have barbecue.  

8) EVERYBODY is sporty and outdoorsy.

This is to show that, look, I also engage in outdoor sports! Once a year.

Aaaand – I am not.

Please take a second to appreciate how hard this must feel, sometimes. Really, every Czech is a natural born sportsperson and they all – I haven’t found an exception yet – love physical activity. Whether it be cycling, skating, running, swimming, parachute, indoor gym, martial arts – it doesn’t matter, as long as it involves moving, and sweating. And they do it with enthusiasm and total commitment.

This also applies to outdoors activities. Czechs love and respect their nature, and try to spend time in it as often as they can.

A hike that lasts less than 6 hours is not even considered being outside. They all seem to be mushroom and berries experts. In summer (and I suspect, in winter too) the rivers are packed with canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Entire families, babies included.

And a certain disregard for anything even remotely related to safety and prevention of risks contributes to making it a very exciting picture.

Czechs love their outdoor equipment and keep it in perfect efficiency. It’s a second skin for them, and in fact they consider it normal to walk in the city streets dressed as they would be in a forest: boots, backpack, packed lunch, 2 different sport bottles, and all the rest. Which for me is, like, the opposite of “sexy”, but certainly must have some advantages too.

Really, if a zombie apocalypse or if nuclear war breaks out, I would feel really relieved to be surrounded by Czechs. These people are natural survivors. And they can always spare a sandwich.

9) Public transport takes you everywhere, but people still take their cars.


This must be one of the few really good things that Socialism has left in the country. The public transport is excellent: rides are frequent, the system is organised and efficient. I take my car maybe once, twice in a month (how does it feel compared to Italy, I leave to your imagination).

In Prague metro and tram tickets are still a bit of a funny business, relying (incredibly) on the little obsolete, yellow machines which are out of order 50% of times, and only accept coins. Weird. But since I have my yearly pass, I feel I can get anywhere, simply and reliably. This includes extra-urban transport, and every little town seems to be connected to the network in somewhat of a satisfying way. Again, the comparison with Italy is brutal – there, if you live in a small town, you simply need a car to get anywhere; and if you live in a big city, better forget the public transport and take your car anyway.


So why do Czechs still own – and drive – cars? Finding a parking place in Prague is as hard a job as in Napoli, and that simply doesn’t make sense to me. Probably the answer has something to do with #7 of this list, the time obsession. I hear people saying: “Sure, I can go to work by tram, but if I take the car it will save me 12 minutes“.

I still can’t help but smile, every time. In Rome, if you can save 12 minutes by taking a car, it still means you will probably be 48 minutes late for your appointment.

Edit: in the comment section, Vladimir helped me to get a more complete view on this topic. He writes:

“Perhaps if there really is a special Czech affinity for cars, it’s not because of obsession with time, but rather status. This is a common thing for whole central and eastern Europe. We had to (and most still have to) live in relative poverty, therefore we want at least not to FEEL poor. Average Czech would drive to work even if it takes twice as much time as with public transport, because, you know, public transport is for losers. Very common derogatory nickname for public transport is “socka”, as in “social case”. Go figure”.

It’s also true however that, Czechs being the nature lovers that they are, the environmental awareness is growing really fast all over the country. I have seen in person a lot of brave and progressive projects to reduce CO2 emissions and switch to renewable energies, or to reduce the environmental footprint of life in general.

So, let’s not lose hope, becase Times, they are a-changing!

10) Czech Republic is a place where Etiquette still matters. A lot.  


This was a big surprise for me, and it can be very important in a relationship, so listen up, don’t repeat my mistake and don’t underestimate this aspect.

The Czech culture is based on a certain level of conformism. Traditions are important and nobody is expected to cause any trouble. There is no such thing as “speaking in a loud voice” (a common discussion between two Italians on what to have for dinner would appear like an incredibly aggressive brawl, here) and I have never heard people shouting – except when drinking too much, of course.

In CZ, people really care for things to be – and look – proper. You go to theatre, you dress up. There is no limit “up”. But you just don’t walk in a theatre (or God forbid! Opera) in your jeans, unless you want to attract a lot of attention of the wrong type.

As well, men are supposed – no, expected! – to perform little actions such as opening a door, holding the chair, helping ladies with their luggage or taking on and off their coats.  Apparently in the local understanding, there is no “gender inequality” value attached to it. So don’t try to judge it with your metrics: it’s just the way things work. If you want to blend in, you just adapt to it.

All boys and girls take ballroom dancing lessons as part of their education, and many companies and organisations hold balls in the festive season, which are attended with enthusiasm. Also, in a country that is surprisingly not attached to any religion, people still follow traditional festivities, go to church on Christmas eve, visit the cemetery to pay their respects.

All this, combined with what I said in #2, can be dangerous to the unsuspecting foreigner. In a tram, failing to leave your seat to an elder will attract so many bad looks, you will wish to disappear. Equally bad is when you mess up with the tipping in a café or a restaurant.


And that was my decalogue this time. Thank you for reading! You can follow our facebook page here. It means a lot to us!

Edit: an article with my reflections and comments on the insane success of this post can be found here.

Again, my point was not to offend anybody with this post. This is not a scientific study and has not been validated by a panel of experts (although if you made it reading so far, you probably got that).

I will be happy to react and edit any information that might be incomplete or wrong. Writing was mainly my way to celebrate my almost 1 year and a half in Prague. I love the city and the life here, and I continue to discover more and more parts of its rich and fascinating culture.

And how is it for you? Did you have a similar experience when moving to a new country? I would love to have a little discussion in the comments section. All stories are the welcome!


2018 Edit: this article is still getting a lot of clicks, it’s awesome! Thank you!
In the meantime, I started my activity as a stand-up comedian! If you want to check out my activity in Prague (and elsewhere), you can follow the page https://www.facebook.com/carminestandup/.
I would really appreciate it!

Maybe you want to check out also the follow-up story, about ways Czech people love to spend their free time:

5 very Czech ways to spend a weekend

And finally, if you are a returning reader or if you just want to support my work, you can do so at my Patreon Page. You can get involved in the conversation and get exclusive benefits :)


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687 thoughts on “10 things I wish someone told me before I moved to Prague

  1. Nice article .. Your sense of humor is akin to my own. The nudist graph is absolute confirmation of this. Im thinking of doing some extended traveling in Prague this spring/summer.. thanks for the tips !

    Liked by 1 person

      1. i find it kind 9f strange you call them racist over warning of a muslim invasion. what is your precedence? you know afghanistan was budhist, right? and lebanon was christian? lebanon let in too many muslims, and once tjeir numbers get big enough, they are to behave until then, but then are obligated to start war and take over. it is no joke, they are no joke, it is not about ethnic background, it is about the edicts of a very intense and successful mind control program. have you seen the videos of muslims in europe saying they will do just that as soon as numbers allow? you don’t respect them? you don’t think think they can do it?

        you know italians were once blond and blue eyed? you know soanish were the same? why are they not now? muslim invasion.

        there will be civil war in europe in yiur life time. british and european men have become soft, muslim men have not.

        you dismiss the koran, which tells them to obey the laws of any land they enter until there are enough of them to take over, when infidels can convert or be killed and the women sex slaves.

        muslims have never stopped practicing the slave trade, mohammed was a slaver, so that gives them official permission for the practice. thanks to obama & hillary, libya is a hitbed of slaver blicks on which black africans are being sold by arab muslims. it is no joke.

        and you take none if this seriously at all, you dismiss the power and conquest achieved by those in tje islamic mind control program.
        czech kerping a hold of their country means when u.k and europe break into civil war ( and they will), czech, hungary, poland will be well out of it. you laugh at and dismiss islam with no understanding or recognition of it’s power, and point a finger and hiss racist at those who do. i watched last kingdom on netflix recently. at the start, the lead character as a child tells his father he sees ships coming. his fatjer yells ‘they come as vikings’ and they run and prepare to fight. everyone was white, so no one could hiss ‘racist’, so they were free to defend themselves. you, my dear, have forgotten how to man, if you ever knew. and i don’t say this to be mean, but as fact. you are so soft, you cannot conceive all men are not as soft as you. well, muslim men are not soft. i mean, are paying attention at all?

        many realize this is coming, this floiding the west with islam is not being down by mistake, elites want this civil war, they have a specific way they wish to mold the ashes once it has all burned down. hungary, poland, czech, slovak, are countries to move to if you want western without an upcoming civil war.


        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was about to delete this comment (something a strong man would do, perhaps, in your understanding) but I won’t.
        It’s a deluded rant. Your facts are all wrong (Italians blond with blue eyes? There were few, like there are now. “Muslim invasion” has nothing to do with it) and you repeatedly confuse Muslim (a religion) with Arabs (an ethnic group). This means you are really badly informed and talk about things you don’t know.

        You go on and on and voice your paranoia (UK and Europe into civil war?) but every day you choose the reality in which you live and believe. Those beliefs will shape the world that your eyes will see.

        I choose a reality in which people with different ideas and backgrounds are not afraid of each other, they meet and discuss. Violence and conflict is not the only way to settle differences. It’s the most primitive. We are not in the age of crusades and viking invasions anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Very enjoyable, personable reading! My origins are Czech although I have never been there. Interesting that so much of what you say does seem to be part of our family values and traditions

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi, thanks for sharing your experience. I really enjoyed reading it especially the funny parts re nudity etc. :-). Are you still there or have you moved on?


  2. Living here for quite a month now (and already 2 years with a Czech girlfriend) and had to laugh + widely agree. Thanks a lot for this amazing collection!


  3. Has to be most accurate article on prague i have read so far! Nice city no doubt but has drawbacks in a weird n funny way

    After visiting the city and reading this article certainly matches up all my thoughts n a great summary overall :)

    Thanks and great job!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I am from Romania and my partner is from Czech and to be honest we decided to move in prague.We curently live in London but as she can find a better job in law in Prague ,i think is good move.I have an extensive experience in casinos over 20 years so i will try to move in one in Prague but the language scares me:))))


  4. I LOVED reading your article filled with personal observations! Very insightful, indeed. I was born in Czechoslovakia, but my family left (1968 Soviet invasion) for Canada, when I was still a little kid. I grew up in Calgary. When we arrived, I was old enough and observant enough to experience a culture shock of my own. Sort of like your experiences but in reverse. I didn’t want to leave my birthplace, was too attached to my wonderful childhood there. That made my culture shock so much more intense. Till this day, I feel somewhat displaced and observe both cultures as a foreigner. I would love to write about my experiences, but have never found the right opportunity. Just to put it down on “paper” would be very cathartic. It may also be enjoyable for someone else, who can relate. Maybe someday…
    Sure enjoyed your article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joseph! I have been learning so much from comments and stories like yours.
      I am sure that your observations as a “double expat” will be interesting for many. We live in times of high mobility and so many can relate.
      And yes, to write them down can be very liberating. Not to mention, great comedy material :)
      Maybe this will inspire you to start your own creative project! Don’t forget to let me know :)


  5. “Now that’s worrying, when talking about Central Europe. Don’t take me wrong, it could be much worse (think Hungary, or Poland). ”

    this line is interesting seeing that when EU asked people from each country: Would you feel comfortable if your child was in a relationship with ___? (black, asian, muslim and jew), Czech republic people were more against it then polish people(in some cases TWICE as much).

    Before you call some country racist check your facts first


    1. Thank you for your comment. Now, where to start.

      First: you took a single sentence out of the context of a 2,000+ words article, and used it to prove your point, whatever it is. That hardly seems like a high standard when it comes to discussion.
      What is the source of your information, by the way? “The EU asked people from each country” doesn’t sound like something people should take at face value.

      Second, the “facts”. My facts are what I observe in my everyday life, as I repeated a hundred time in the post, what I wrote is solely based on my observations and doesn’t want to be an academic paper of universal value.
      And what are my observations? Racism is rising in Czech Republic, true, but people keep it to a minimum, mostly pub talk. At least for now. I have witnessed one hate aggression, but apart from that the country seems to me welcoming and open. Much more than people care to admit.
      In Czech Republic I haven’t seen thousands of “patriots” marching in the streets, singing hate slogans and waving flags. The same cannot be said about Hungary and Poland.
      If you are so worried about what people observe about the place you live in, work to make it look better. Instead of blaming the observers.

      I am not a big fan of nationalism (or as some people call it, “patriotism”). For me, it’s a XIX century ideology that was maybe useful in the past, but by now has made much more damage than the good it was initially designed for. There is no way it can lead to “win-win” scenarios, and to a healthier future for us as a species. That is my main concern. And that much is clear to anybody who follows my work regularly, rather than reading some random lines from a single blog post.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. here is source:

        map is made based on eurobarometer survey, direct link to it:

        Click to access ebs_437_en.pdf

        Maybe you should visit Poland before you decide to Judge it.

        The march you mentioned was March of Independence Day, yes there were some racists there but NOT whole march, there were only few slogans among 60,000 people. and those racists are now persecuted for their slogans.
        There is horrible amount of misinformation about this march in other countries.

        Reality is that in poland asians lived for MANY years(we had Vietnamese people sicne 70s) with no problems and I NEVER saw anyone saying anything negative about them.

        also recently my brother had to go to ophthalmologist and ophthalmologist taking care of him had tanned skin, beard and name Ahmed and no one had problem with him.


      2. good on your brother.
        What makes you think I didn’t visit Poland? In fact, I am coming again in 10 days. I travel a lot. I have been all over Europe.

        Look, I understand history hasn’t been particularly generous for the Polish people. I really do and I feel sympathy.

        Just, I believe that if we don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past, we need to change our approach to the challenges we have.

        Marching for “patriotism” is not the solution. It has never been, because force is always opposed by force. It opens the door to problems. And let me be very clear: if honest, good willing people are walking side by side with guys who want a “White Europe” (doesn’t matter how many) and do nothing to stop them, for me THAT is a problem.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Cześć, Mr. Sadkowski.
      Be so kind and stop spreading that EU survey rubbish, because it was done very poorly.
      Namely, the translation of the survey questions was botched – they didn’t consult linguists or anybody sensitive to language nuances. As you can imagine, in statistics such as these, it is extremely important that the question is identical (or as identical as possible, given language differences) in each country.

      This is the original question in English:
      Would you feel comfortable if your child was in a relationship with a black/asian/muslim/jewish person?
      This is how it sounded in Czech as well as in Slovak:
      Would it make you happy if your child had an affair with a … person?
      1) They used an expression that still used to mean “relationship” about a century ago. In modern Czech and Slovak, however, it has negative connotations, and can even refer to “extramarital affair”.
      2) “Feeling comfortable” is fairly neutral. It means not being actively opposed to such a relationship. The expression used in Czech and Slovak suggested one should actually derive some kind of pleasure from the situation.

      If they had asked the same question about dating a white christian person (sadly, they didn’t), the responses would also have been very negative – only due to how the question was posed.
      Very few people would be _happy_ if their son/daughter had an _affair_ with anyone, no matter their race or religion. And few people managed to rephrase the question in their mind before answering.

      Statistics offer a dangerously skewed reflection of reality, if their sources aren’t carefully checked.
      Peace to Poland.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the insight, Agnus. Never really did think about it, as we tend to take it for granted that pains are always taken to make such polls unbiased.
        Independently of any nationality, I guess people are often offended by any kind of behavior that could be seen as xenophobic and stop seeing people as they really are and only focus on how they sound when being defensive of their culture, nation etc. I say that because once you put yourself in someone’s shoes, you notice we all have worries. A very good friend of mine, a Brazilian living in Switzerland for a long time, with two Swiss born children once told me how happy she was when her young kid invited a new student over for dinner, as he was trying to make friends with him, who as not Swiss and was a gypsy. My friend was proud her son was being so considerate and free of prejudice, but confessed that at the same time didn’t know if she should hide the silverware. I know this might sound shocking, but this is how it is. We hardly ever confess how deep inside we have to struggle to be model human beings, but are quick to judge those who might be naive enough or really simply inconsiderate to show their defenses against traits they do not approve of or that scare them for some reason.
        I love Poland, and have a real love affair with the CR. Actually, I started learning Czech before visiting Prague for the first time as it intrigued me so much and because it sounded so beautiful to my Latin ears.
        People say all we need is love, but I do believe only love is not enough. Only love can make us a bit fanatic. All we really need is perspective. The love will come with it.
        Thank you and Carminerodi for giving us perspective on culture and for being generous enough to take the time and explain. Most people shake their heads, assume no one is really worth it and just shut themselves.


    3. I have been to Poland, and dated a Polish girl and I can say that there are a lot of really nice and warm and welcoming people, but I had a lot of problems. In Lodz, in a restaurant in 2016 I was surrounded by a group of guys in a very highly respected restaurant and made to eat pork in front of them or they would “kick my ass” and then I was followed from the restaurant where I was surrounded by the same men (8 in total) who wanted me to prove I was not Muslim. I was with friends from that city who were all telling the guys that I am not what they think I am (I am 1/4 Sri Lankan, 1/4 Italian, 1/4 Irish & 1/4 Jamaican but people think I am Spanish or Italian). People passing by, instead of helping, they joined in and there was a mob of around 20+ people surrounding me, spitting at me and threatening me and it wasn’t until the police came that the situation calmed down. They all though (even though I have a thick London accent) that I was a Syrian Refugee.

      In Sopot when I was there with an ex girlfriend, 8 times in 1 weekend I almost was assulted, I had monkey noises made at me too.

      In Katowice where my ex girlfriend was from, I was attacked in a store for simply walkin gin there and told “No Muslims”.

      Even at her brothers wedding, the guests and her family all crowded me while I was eating pork, scratching their heads. The only question over 2 days was “What is your religion?” or “What do you think of Osama Bin Laden?” and even 1 guy requested Sting “English Man In New York” and some of the guys said “Yeah this is aimed about you, because you look like a Muslim Immigrant”.

      The thing is though, I still go out there, as it is such a wonderful and beautiful place, and just because I have had a number of racial related problems in a country, does not mean that I will stay as far away as there are good and bad people everywhere. And I have more amazing experiences with people I have met in Poland than bad experiences too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry to hear, man, these are bad stories. Nothing like that happens in my experience in Czechia, people in general are more reserved and mind their own business. Poland – again, in general – has a stronger national identity and people are very proud of it.
        Also, by the number of ex girlfriends, your dating seems to be very successful, regardless of racist incidents, so good job there :)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The thing is that Poland in its history was always a country that was diverse, Jew’s had high positions in poland and we even have muslim in poland living in peace in form of tatars, ironic is that our muslim are in conflict with foreign-born muslim because both sides want to represent islam in poland but their view are incompatible since tatars are progressive muslim while foreign-born muslim are conservative.

    Poland also had great religous freedom in the past, churches of different religions were standing side by side. of course this diversity was ruined by many events in history of poland. I am not saying POland is perefect, it isnt, there are polish people who sold out jew’s during WW II but there was a lot polish people risking their lives to save them, there is no country wh has more “Righteous Among the Nations” then poland

    I disagree that patriotism is bad by itself(and I say it as not very patriotic person), its only bad if it goes too far, patritism is what made poland survive Partitions of Poland which out it Poland wouldnt exist right now.

    What did you exactly expect people to do, beat them up ? maybe people told them to leave and they didnt want to, I dont know I wasnt there but I am happy it didnt end in violence.

    My problem with your article is that you made it sound like poland and Hungary are very racists countries compared to Czech Republic which is not only not true but oposite is actually closer to truth acording to statistic.
    How would you feel if I said that Poland should watch out to not become as racist country as Czech Republic ? it isnt nice thing to say isnt it, and you know what I would never say something like this because I believe that there is more to people then just what statistic say.

    also in reddit link I earlier provided some czech people agree with statistics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not deny what you are saying. I am well aware of the great things Poland-Lithuania represented for Europe in the past. Although that is one of the problems with history – it’s mostly a story.

      I will just explain a little bit more my position, then I believe we had a good and fruitful discussion, but I am not here to change your opinions on anything.

      I understand as I said before that nationalism was (maybe) necessary in the past, but I believe we need to leave it in the past, if want to progress and overcome the problems of our present.

      The challenges we face today are global (space exploration and climate change for example) and I don’t think we can face them if we keep thinking in terms of tribes. My people, my interests, etc.

      Migrations are an inevitable fact (in fact, we are only at the beginning of climate migrations), and it’s impossible to deal with them if we don’t learn how to deal with diversity.

      And once again, I am not judging you. Sorry for the bad start (I had a bad impression by your first post, I apologize), I really think you expressed your ideas calmly and with depth of argument.

      you wrote:
      > How would you feel if I said that Poland should watch out to not become as racist country as Czech Republic ?

      As long as we agree that racism has to be contrasted, I would feel happy :)
      Really, no problem about it. I don’t have a faction in this party. My argument is, nationalists marching do not work in this direction (I believe).

      > it isnt nice thing to say isnt it,

      I don’t write to be “nice”. When I want to be nice, I send flowers :)
      As I stated everywhere in the post, my observations didn’t want to offend anybody. Said that – if anybody (or an entire country) gets offended from a line in an article, or a joke in a comedy club, then that person’s opinions are a bit vulnerable. When a finger touches a wound, the problem is the wound, not the finger.


      1. Sorry for sounding less then pleasant in my first message but very frustrated with many western articles portraying my country as some kind of racist place, especially since many of wester articles either doesnt do their research or out right lies to push agenda.
        For example in USA some left-wing people said that migrants do less crime then local population but after some people did some research on this topic they found out that it is true but only for legal migrants, illegal migrants on other hand do much MUCH more crimes in proportion to population.
        I believe that going too far left is as bad as going too far right.

        I believe I am pretty liberal person, I have absolutely no problem with people of different races(one of my closest friends is dark skined person from USA) I also have zero problem with gay people or anyone like that(I believe everyone has right to be happy as long as they dont hurt others), I am also Pro-EU person and I would support Federalisation of the EU if its done properly. And yet I do have patriotic feelings about my country, there are things in my country that I am proud about and also things that I am not proud about.
        I believe that abandoning patriotism is only fine IF everyone does it(at least in same group of countries like EU), and I am sorry to say that I dont see it happening anytime soon, look at germany its very anti-natinalistic country but its still country that focuses on its own prosperity first and foremost, like trying to build nord stream 2 that could be damaging to poland and in general make EU more dependant on russian gas, even though EU was planing to become less dependant on russian gas,
        Also Germany trade surplus in general is bad for economy of other EU countries.
        EU is sadly responsible for rise of nationalism in some countries, for few reasons, one of them is that it doesnt treat all EU countries equall, Germany and France broken deficit rule in 2003 and were not punished because they were too important.

        another example: my country cutting the ancient forest(I am strongly against what goverment of my country is doing with the forest) and EU wants to punish my country, and yet in germany they are recently decided to cut their own ancient forest to expand mine and no one from EU mentions it. when I see stuff like this I am starting to lose faith in EU, I think EU should have interfeared in both cases and not only in case of Poland.


      2. I agree. The EU has huge responsibilities in why less and less people support it.
        But it’s a human organization, and it can never be better than the sum of the people who compose it.
        The European decision making process was designed with a very complex systems of checks and balances, so that (for example) the big countries cannot decide anything alone. They need the support of small countries, 2/3 of the total number of member states have to agree on a decision in the Council for it to be approved (like for the economic sanctions).

        Plus, there is the parliament, where (theoretically) people are elected to represent the whole EU and not only their countries.

        In theory. What happens in practice? Many smaller countries are not strong or brave enough to oppose the will of the big ones, and instead become “satellite states” that vote in a way or another in order to maximize immediate political gain, and not long term vision.
        I will not make names now because I don’t want anyone else to get offended, but I am sure you get what I mean.

        Plus, the members of the European parliament forget their international mandate too often, and behave as representatives of their respective countries. Again.

        So you see where I am going. It’s national and local interests, again, what work against collective and superior good.

        I am really saddened about the whole story with the economic sanctions, I think it’s idiotic and counterproductive, because what will happen is that states (=families, taxpayers) end up paying for the bad policies of the government.
        Plus, the government will have an easy task to turn the story around and say “see? Europe is evil! They are all against us!” and get even more support for their policies. Rinse and repeat. I see it happening all over Europe by all the populist factions.
        We need to be careful not to support this narratives. There is no “west Vs East”. In fact, the “liberal west” (whatever it is, I don’t think it exists) wants Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, Hungary closer, not more alienated from it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Keep calm and call our country CZECHIA, please. Our country has more than 1200 years old history and only very small part of it is the history of republican system. Leave that cold and clumsy formal name Czech Republic for politics. Czechia is a geographical name, which is independent on time and state-political changes in the country, thus, it can be used for our country both in historical and contemporary context. The name is very old, coming from Latin and has its equivalents in all languages, e.g. Chequia (ES), Chéquia (PT), Tchéquia (Brazilian PT), Tchéquie (FR), Cechia (IT), Tschechien (DE), Tjekkiet (DK), Tsjechië (NL), Tsjekkia (NO), Tjeckien (SE), Cehia (RO), Çekya (TR), Češka / Чешка (HR, RS), Чехия (RU, BG), Чехія (UA, BY), Τσεχία (GR), etc.. It is translation of Czech
    geographic name ČESKO. More, Czechia is an official geographic (short form) name of the country


  8. It is controversial for people who are not used to it and do not distinguish universally applicable geographic (Czechia) and transient political name. Political names change, geographic name represents stability and historical continuity. The use of naturally transient political name (which was changed here 9 times in recent 100 years) is only bad habit, ingrained by long term exclusive use of it. But, political name alway stays on the lower position than geographic – Czech Rep. is nothing more or less than the current state-political formation in Czechia.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. what about using Bohemia? this is the right Geographical name, also considering that there lived also other nationalities for centuries… ;-)


      1. If you say just Bohemia (or “Čechy” in Czech) you are bound to have twenty Moravians who go after you. And if you to please them by saying Bohemia and Moravia, it sounds to most here like “Böhmen und Mähren” (Google that phrase), and you really don’t want to go there.


  9. Hi!
    I just happened to read your blog as I’d like to stay in Prague for a while. Curious thing, maybe because I myself am Eastern European (North-Eastern, to be exact), I found czech people very kind and at the same time pleasantly not annoying during my visit to Prague. They seem maybe distant, but then maybe I do even more, we Estonians are very reserved, too. I got lost in the city, it was night and I just knocked on the glass door of the police station. Everybody was very helpful and a policeman escorted me to my hotel. And the people everywhere were the same. You just have to ask and they will kindly come. Otherwise they think you maybe want to be left on your own. That’s how Eastern Europeans are, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am very glad to read your story :)
      Well, I have been lucky and sometimes not so lucky in my encounters (I had trouble with my car and really, people just didn’t want to stop and help me – I guess I was just unlucky!).
      It’s definitely true that the attitude you bring with you, very often influences the way people react to you. Thanks for the comment!


      1. Hello, I am from Brno (CZE) and about helping someone – there is many studies (not only on Czech people), that say the number of people who are ready to help some stranger is lower when there are many observers and higher when there are just few of them. It is typical here, I think. And it depends on a type of situation – we care more about old people, kids and dogs :-P.
        And the second thing – there are some bad experiences with robbers and so on, which says, that it is not secure to just stop and help and take a risk of being robbed or harmed somehow. Especially in some areas.
        If you travel on highway, there are official phones to call help. On other roads, you should take a yellow or orange vest, put out a triangle and try to stop some car – it would look more like a real accident and people should help more ;-). If they are not too grumpy from waking up in early morning :-D. They often are…

        Your article is very funny and true and I hope you still enjoy your life here :-). And come to Brno ;-).

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Czechs don’t want refugees. And that’s a good thing. One of the reasons I came here is because of the lack of 3rd world migrants. So #6 is confusing to me…


    1. I think, that we (Czechs) don’t have a problem with any foreigners, who want to study and/or work here, when they at least try to adapt to our system, at least try to be self-supporting and do not take pressure on us with their philosophy (from being vegan to religion). Just like “Live and let live.”.
      But in situations, when one side of disagreement would try to win by power (strong words, high volume, sometimes even light physical contact, …), there will be a problem and it could be Czech vs. Czech or unicorn vs. unicorn, people won’t let anybody dictate something to them.
      And about migrants – we can see, what problems are in Sweden, Germany, Italy, … And we don’t want that here, we want our peaceful, calm, secure life… Almost like Hobbits from Lord of the rings :-D.


      1. yes, excellent metaphor – but that’s only the first chapter of The Lord of the Rings. Later the hobbits will have to find out that the calm, secure life is only an illusion and that they can’t stay hidden from the rest of the world. Finally some of them decide to take the journey, join the rest of the world and face the big challenges outside. And in the process, they become heroes.
        TLOTR teaches us that nobody really lives in a bubble.
        Thanks for the comments! You really spent some time navigating the blog :)) Appreciate it!


  11. Moving to Prague this year, hope to adapt like you did and quickly find a job to start my life there ;). Thank you so much for your article! Hoping to meet you someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Moving back home after more than 15 years living in the States. I am scared to death. Especially all the administrative stuff like taxes ( I will still have to submit the tax return in The US which can get very costly doing it from abroad, I know of few expats who decided to give up theirs citizen ship due to the dual taxation) , health insurance e.g. I should clarify I got dual citizenship CZ/US. Any advice , any reliable source I could look at? And yes, I totally agree with your observation. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your feedback. If you are still a Czech citizen, and speak the language, the bureaucracy will not be such a nightmare for you.
      You may find some staff intolerably rude coming from a US perspective, but that’s common in the old continent (Italy is not easier or better in any way, for example).
      Health insurance in the Czech republic was a relatively easy business for me, my wife helped with the language but I sorted the contract, have to pay every month, and that’s it.


  13. I had a very fun time reading your post. We are a homeschooling family in Ohio and my son recently made a penpal friend in rural Czech. It has been so interesting exchanging emails with his mother and I was looking for more information about what people are like there—just more of a “feel” for the culture and I am looking forward to reading your other related posts. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You are right about the Prague accent. I think its not bad thing, Its curiosity. I am slovak, Czech and Slovak country are very close, because we have similar language and culture. And I like czech old school actors and actresses. They are very talented, with great sense of humor. They dont have problem to make fun of themslelf. I mean the older generation. They made Great movies, comedies.


  15. Czech President Milos Zeman said: “If we can not sing with angels, we have to howl with wolves.”…….So this comment says it all.. Problem is we have corruption here in Europe, in iour countries but we also have good artists. Some people care about culture some dont.


  16. Moving to Prague in one month and a Czech friend sent me this article. As a Ukrainian American living in Ireland, I’ve had some experience as an expat, but it takes a while to learn the cultural norms…people won’t necessarily tell you until you obviously mess up. Thanks much for writing this article!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m enjoying reading your articles and love your humor! Although I’m living in the US but I’m dating a Czech guy and I couldn’t help laugh out and agree with most of your points, especially the obsession in planning to keep himself busy, sporty and outdoorsy!! He is very charming and well-mannered but Unfortunately I’m totally not an outdoor person, as I always enjoy the night life in cities better than hiking :P Thanks for the article and I hope I read this article earlier so I could better equipped myself for outdoor activities :)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Capolavoro caro Carmine! :) sono Ceca (non di Praga quindi senza quel’accento divertente che descrivi nel articolo :D) ma a Praga vivo da tanti anni – con sincerità posso dire che ci sono molte cose vere nel tuo articolo scritte in un modo troppo divertente :) complimenti. Se qualcuno si dovesse offendere direi che gli manca un pezzo di cervello :D

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wish i had of read this article before i moved here and had 2 kids with a Czech woman. Yours observations are spot on my fried. Unfortunately Czechs don’t know how to relax. Don;t get me wrong, i’m a sporty guy and a do’er but christ, do they not realise that sometimes its nice to sit down with a newspaper on a Sunday afternoon and just chillout?! Does my head in.


  20. Dear you,
    Just read your fantastic article. I am thinking of moving to Prague as I just visited for two days, and I loved it, plus my life has turned upside down. Thank you for what you wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think that you should listen to YT channel BLACK PIGEON SPEAKS.
    The Czechs, Polish and Hungarians have no problems with foreigners, they have a problem with muslim invaders (refugees).
    BTW, the Hungarian leader is one of the best leaders in the world.


    1. I have been living in CZ for almost 4 years now and I haven’t seen one single refugee. Not a single one. It’s hard to have a problem with something that doesn’t exist.

      I would like to know, “one of the best leaders” according to what indicators? And who are the others?


      1. ” It’s hard to have a problem with something that doesn’t exist. ” – Hey,Not true. Police caught many refugees – hiding in trains and foreign trucks.
        Also the are some brutal rape cases – african refuggee from Germany cross the border a rape young girl from nothern Bohemia.(i think 16 old).


  22. Just wonderful, man! I was laughing as hell! OK some of it was sort of exagerrated but Im sure you know it. Or even in your eyes it is that way. Anyway its so great to read st like this, especially from someone having an Italian experience. I only wish we would be so mad about sports. Though it may seem like that sometimes with rivers full of boats and roads full of cyclists, the sad truth is only 25 percent of children under 15 years are registered in some sport association… And I could go on. Also Prague and the rest of the country is a huge difference…. Good luck in here!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hey, I stumbled upon your article and I had a great fun reading it! As a Czech person I could really relate to many of your observations :D I just want to provide you with my theory of why people from Czech are a bit xenophobic. In my opinion, people are afraid of the foreigners, in a way. Until the 90. we could not travel freely and even after that it was still quite rare for Czechs to travel beyond Europe. Nowadays, things are changing and people are travelling more, and that opens their minds. From my own experience, all my friends and peers are really welcoming and open-minded (20 or 30-year-olds). But the older generation is more conservative and reserved. Also, you would rarely meet a person who would insult or said something negative in front of the foreigner (never happened to me).

    But this is just my point of view, of a person who has been studying abroad for 5 years now so my perception might be a bit different :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Vero, I couldn’t agree more. When people talk about “racism”, I don’t think there is racism in CZ. It’s more xenophobia, as you correctly point out, fear of strangers. Thank you for visiting my blog!


    2. That’s not right.It’s not about the era of communism (“only” 40 years). There were a lot of foreigners in that time – Vietnamese workers, students from Cuba, Russians, also students from Africa.
      I think, it´s more about “deep history” – Our country was constantly under the control of foreign powers – Soviet communism, Nazi Germany, Austrian – Hungarian empire etc. People are distrustful..careful..It´s not easy.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I am not from CZ, I am from Serbia. Reading this article I understood how much similarity there is between our two countries.
    In Serbia, you will dress up for Opera or a theather, ofcourse you will leave your seat on a bus to an eldery or a pregnant lady, for sure you will leave a tip..
    For me it is shocking that this is not natural in all countries in the world ( respecting older for example)
    Thanks for your article, nice to learn about CZ and find similarities:)

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Awesome post. Totally different story from being a tourist. I have thought this is the city I would embrace if I become an EXPAT (Berlin is in the same list).

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi thanks for your article. I am moving to Prague in June 2019. I will be getting my CELTA and hopefully getting a teaching job there. There has been this little fear in the back of my mind about moving here with the xenophobia. I am a Caribbean American (Boston raised). I have kind of been sheltered in my liberal state of Massachusetts and have not experienced overt racism. So your article kind of alleviates my anxiety but it is just one persons (who is more similar looking to Czechs) point of view. I have a little anxiety but I also feel that I will have a wonderful time there and meet wonderful people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you will, Claire. Accusations of “racism” are mostly unfounded although you may attract a few curious looks. With time you may get used to that.
      The attitude is rather “blend in, don’t cause problems, and you will fit in just fine”.
      Also, especially at first try to make a few friends in the local international community or among Czech colleagues who can speak English and hang out with you. They will help you to integrate quickly and start appreciating the amazing lifestyle here.


    2. You can meet many foreigners as the expat community is strong here and create your social circle. With the Czechs it will be harder, but still try to focus on the positive. Life in Prague can be fun and nice if you make it such for yourself. Believe me, I am trying hard to ignore the negative and focus on what makes me happy. Good luck!


      1. indeed it’s possible to have a happy and fulfilling social life, Prague is fantastic in this regard and its cultural life is booming!
        It’s a matter of time, of trying and eventually finding the right people.


  27. Hey Carmine, I record podcasts for expatfocus.com and would love to have you on as a guest to talk through some tips for other foreigners moving to Prague/the Czech Republic. If interested please do let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. omg i couldn’t agree more with you about all of this. I just came here from canada for a week, boy was I shocked,
    at first I was just thinking they were just being ignorant to me and then I seem to realise that it was everybody, not just one person, I would never survive living here !!!!!


  29. amazing insight into the czeck culture, ive been there a couple of years ago and know thanks to a friend im moving there and trying my luck after living in London for 2 years, seems like a great pace to live only that the racist theme (wich is very touched upon on the comments) got me a little worried since even tho im from south america i look like a middle eastern person.
    Ive only encountered racism towards me in Australia and ive been literally around the world (NZ, Aus, USA, Italy, Germany, Prague, Copenhagen, Brasil, Argentina, Malasia and Thailand) hopefully i wont have any of this dumb people in my circles there.
    Thank you for your post, amazing and keep up the good work =D

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Driving home from work takes me 40 minutes longer than the 10 minute tram ride, so there’s not exactly a lot of time to save, and I think the drivers in Prague are so grumpy because they subconciously realize they are wasting several hours every week in traffic jams.. the real reason some Czechs refuse to use public transport is because they are either too concerned with trying to look rich to travel by anything but their private car, or because they are too poor to live in the vicinity of the vast public transport network. :D

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I really appreciated the article! I’ve been living in Brno for 5 years now and I can tell you that there are many common points, however here it’s quite different :)

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thanks for the article, I do see and agree with most of your content and definitely experienced some of it while living here. However there were some aspects I was not aware of and I will definitely try to see it from another angle now that I read it.
    Like nudity….I am very open in that sense myself so I didn’t get that feeling anywhere. And by the way…saunas are meant to be attended nude, it’s not a Czech but Finish thing. :)
    My social circle is mainly foreigners (apart from my work colleagues) so some of the things are still a mystery to me. Like why are they so rude and nobody seems to find that strange or inappropriate.


    1. “Like why are they so rude and nobody seems to find that strange or inappropriate.” – What? Maybe there’s a problem with you…
      I really hate these comments. If someone is just different, he is bad person.


  33. Nice blog Carminerodi!

    I lived in Prague for 10 years ( from 2008), I enjoyed almost every single day for 10 years (except when im broke, but there are many things you could afford in Prague even if you are down to your last crown – that is why I love Prague). I love the people, the city and everything in it. Everything in Prague is based on humour (History (Ok,maybe not History), Politics, Social Life, even something as serious as Business Deals! I was a student at Charles University – Přírodovědecká fakulta. Man, the Public Transport System is impressive. The food, the night-life/daylife is incredible, plus the girls are beautiful. I visited all (almost all) castles in the Czech Republic. It is a wonderful experience (try it if you are there for a bit ). After my Studies, i went to Austria but well, (too many spies there-kiddin’), i was back in Prague 2 months later (Prague is just too good – it’s like a freewheeling office).

    OPPORTUNITIES: I started attending corporate events (expos), i love the Prague Design Week. Im now back in my country in the business world ( thanks to investors i met at Prague Design Week). Im not yet done with Prague. I WILL BE BACK! (in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice).

    Much Love from Africa!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Hi! I would love to know your observations about same sex relationships in Prague and the country in general, if you have them. Also have you seen any references about feminism or similar topics? Thank you for your article! Is very funny and helpful 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Nuala. Same sex love and relationships are very well accepted in the culture, I think. There is a very active gay scene in Prague (I cannot speak for other cities, I don’t know them so well). In general, the Czech culture has a “mind your own business” and “be discreet” attitude and that reflects into religion, politics, sexual orientation.
      Different story for “feminism”. Socialism did much for the equality between sexes, although glass ceilings still exist in some sectors like business, politics and so on. But they didn’t call it “feminism”.
      I think when people hear the word, they most commonly associate it to the most militant versions from Europe or the US, and it is sometimes received with skepticism as it’s considered too aggressive or extreme. Remember that a central element of Czech culture is “please don’t cause troubles”.
      Some gender roles and expectations exist in society (at home, in how to raise kids, who fixes the car, who opens the door, how to look “properly” dressed) but in general they are considered more like elements of etiquette, rather than fixed societal norms. I think society can actually be rather matriarchal, Czech women are often the highest authority in the family, and now it’s not uncommon that they are also the main bread winner in the household, with a fast changing and growing economy. The very long maternal leave (up to 3 years for some jobs!) can mean however that women stay out of the active work force for quite some time. And if they choose not to, they can be judged or looked with suspect by other people for not being “proper mothers”.
      Anyway, it’s complicated. And things are changing fast, especially among younger generations.
      As I said, it’s tricky 🙂


  35. You nailed it! The grumpy I have said too so much before I read yours. I might be a few years late, as I have just seen this post, but I don’t tho k it has changed since when you published it. Haha Thank you, it was a nice read.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. You’re right about most things, but make no mistake these people are racist. Not only are they racist but they’re also xenophobic. I’m talking about the vast majority.

    From a foreigners point of view it’s unlikely this will manifest into dangerous hostility. Highly unlikely you’ll have people shouting “Go back to your country” because Czechs tend to shy away from direct conflict.

    Instead from practical point of view you can expect any (or all) of the following in your daily life (and in no particular order).

    1. An extreme difficulty in securing and keeping any REAL friendships (outside of drinking / good time buddies).

    2. A general sense of mostly everyone keeping you at arms length.

    3. Verbal hostility in the service sector. Or passive aggression. The worst offenders here are nurses in the healthcare industry or at times counter clerks.

    4. A sense of generally not being taken seriously.

    5. A general sense of being a second class citizen.

    6. Vast amounts of being spoken of in the 3rd person in your presence. Even if you can speak Czech well enough already.

    7. Exclusion or being bypassed at work unless you really fight for your rights.

    Now I can’t say it’s getting worse but what I can say is that after roughly 12 years of living here I understand a lot more of what’s going on around me. So I assume it was always this bad.

    All of the above is taken from a non Prague point of view.

    It was just yesterday I had a medical checkup and the nurse was rude. Rude enough to show her passive aggression but just not rude enough to warrant any formal reprimand.

    When I left, I heard her in an elevated voice saying “Nejsem racist”, and repeating this an additional 2 times. Left in the room was another patient and a trainee nurse.

    Yes treatment like this really makes you feel right at home here! So while i appreciate your positive vibe and writing style. I just don’t think it truly represents reality. Fact is that besides not having a yellow star on my arm. It’s very much like being a jew in 1930’s Germany here at times (lite edition).

    Sure no one is outright out to kill you, but there’s this constant plain old fucking nastiness and hostility you


    1. hi, and thank you for stopping by.

      I am sorry for your experience and without a doubt, the episodes you mention can happen and do happen in the Czech Republic. I also think (with some due differences) that these incidents are common enough in the life of foreigners everywhere. I friend of mine is working in NYC at the moment and she keeps reporting how ethnic micro-aggressions (“go back to your country!”) are happening basically everyday to her – and that’s New York City. It’s a sad sign of the times we are living.

      My point is not to judge or dismiss. Just to understand. This is a country that has been – sadly, I think – largely mono-ethnic and mono-cultural for a couple generations. Now, suddenly, it’s all open and cultural relativism hits like a hammer. People were used to thinking “this is our way, and this is normal”, and now their normal is challenged. It’s a big thing to process.

      It’s certainly xenophobia in the original term, fear of the stranger. If you challenge a behavior calling it “racist”, people will probably be very surprised at that, and completely dismiss the accusation. Because they are not even aware of if. A Czech friend of mine calls it “casual racism”. I think it’s a good description of the process.

      Now, I obviously don’t know your story and I don’t know if it was your choice to move in, or what are the motivations for you to stay. However, we are part of the process now. If a person meets me, they will have an experience of meeting and interacting with a foreigner that will influence their future judgement. I’ll try to make sure that experience is positive.
      I honestly don’t think that sweeping statements help much (“these people are…”). Or a comparison with nazi Germany. Think about the tone there. I wouldn’t want to be described that way.

      I agree, it’s hard to make good friends. But when I look at it, it seems that it’s just the way it is here. In general, people have small social groups and stick to them. Drinking buddies yes, but a few good friends. And a newcomer wouldn’t probably be invited to join. To be honest, I experienced the same when I moved away from southern Italy – I was still in Italy, but people were not that friendly. It took me a long time to find a new community.
      Like everywhere, here too there are good people, and bad people. People who do their best to educate themselves, and people who don’t. Even if it’s not easy, try to stay on the positive side, because every action you take influences the field around you and eventually contributes to create the whole picture. This is what I believe :)
      Have a nice day, and I hope to talk again soon!


      1. Hey, Cam, I like your positive attitude and diplomatic skills, but on the other hand, I’m quite upset that you’re still out of position: I’m the gog guy from the west and they’re bullies and comrades from the east that we have to fix and import our idea and all the problems … I don’t think the world is black and white or that you can distinguish people from good and bad. What if it’s the opposite? Or what if no one is good? Or what if we’re all actually bad?
        The guy you’re reacting to is a typical example of why it’s all starting to hate foreigners … He suffers from paranoia, exaggerates local / individual problems and insults the whole nation … which is de facto racism in its original form. I often have the problems he describes, and I’m an ordinary Czech, so it’s definitely not about locals vs foreigners. Sometimes it’s about the economy, politics, the system, the administration, sometimes it’s about bad luck, sometimes people are just in a bad mood … and the nurses are just under a lot of pressure. In addition, the public health system suffers from a lack of people and a total of underfunding at all .. but this is a long debate ..

        In any case, one of the biggest problems for foreigners is that at every failed opportunity they insult the whole nation and curse people into racists. This definitely closes the door and you can never expect a positive response. Plus, it doesn’t even make sense. Our country was never an empire, we never had colonies, we never practiced black or Asian slavery (unlike many Western countries). We have never conquered the world … So racism does not make sense here, there are no foundations or roots for it. Mono-culture cannot be taken as evil either. Thanks to that, there is no racimus here, we have never had to solve your stupid Western problems like ultra-feminism or LGBT. The First Republican constitution was very progressive, and even under communism all people were simply comrades, and women could do virtually anything if they had the education or ability to do so … while in France, for example, the suppression of women’s freedoms was still being addressed in the 1960s. In America, blacks still did not have freedom and there were wars whites vs blacks every day..It was never here..and that basically in the 70s there were already a lot of Vietnamese and various students from Cuba or Africa.
        It’s just that the problems are more in you and in your thinking.
        You cannot consider every rejection or negative experience to be racism.
        Another problem is that many people just want to live in Prague, because “wow … it’s a beautiful city, like a fairy tale, I want it”, but they forget that it is the capital of CZ, that it is a different culture, zermi, different laws, different traditions and must also adapt to local customs … not the other way around. The earth revolves around the sun, not the sun around the earth. Nor can everyone be expected to speak English and no one can demand it. And if someone refuses to talk to you, consider it a rasimus. In the end, the truth is that the only and main official language in CZ is the Czech language … so it is good to try to learn something as well. :)
        Maybe it’s also a good idea not to take everything seriously, to drop political correctness, not to deal with stupidity and leave your western problems at home in general and just admit that you are in another country and you have to adapt. and not require everyone to fall at your feet.
        Also throw away Western imperial arrogance, find out what racism actually means, and don’t expect everything to go easily and immediately.
        After all, people are pretty closed and you have to prove yourself. It’s a fight. :)

        I’ve stretched it out a bit. : D Well, it’s just a long discussion somewhere over beer. : D


  37. Thanks for the article. I read it in hopes of not offending while visiting here and it was good. For example I mistook the english custom of not tipping food waiters as common across europe. Your article showed me I was mistaken.

    In my very short time in cz and not speaking the language I have found the people to be friendly and helpful. Perhaps a bit reserved, but not rude at all.

    As for the EU, coming from the US I am amazed the EU even exists. Getting different states in the same country to cooperate is tough enough in my country. Getting multiple independent countries to cooperate to the extent they do in the EU is nothing short of amazing. My hat is off to the EU for what they have done.

    My observation is that xenophobia, and the related fear that immigrants will change society, is probably the default response in most countries. Certainly is in mine. However my experience also is that once you get to know individuals in a particular ethic group your opinion changes. It is easy to fear a group that you do not know – it is hard to fear or hate an individual that you do know. And while the first generation may have a difficult time adapting (because most of the time it is difficult) the second generation integrates very well because children have an easier time learning languages and customs and they want to fit in. The end result is a richer set of customs, food, and experiences that lifts everyone up – if we can get past our initial fear and distrust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha. I am fascinated by the fact that there is still a great deal of discussion about tips. We just prefer “real” tips. If you are satisfied, give the waitress 5-10% as a bonus for taking good care of you. Or in a regular pub, regulars and local drinkers like to round off the bill. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, and that’s the point of the tip.
      What is happening elsewhere, especially in the US, is completely wrong in every way. After all, the customer does not have to pay or subsidize the company’s employees. This is social and economic nonsense.
      With that reservation..That’s probably why there are a lot of disgusting embarrassing myths about us. and those nonsense about racism and rudness. People just don’t feel any hatred or fear of foreigners. People just look at themselves and play in their own sandbox, they don’t have much need to be friends with everyone and talk to everyone.
      Such is simply society here. I understand that it must be difficult for foreigners. All you have to do is try and give the people around you some time to “test” you properly. : D

      About EU.Don’t be so naive. It’s a fight. Very fierce political struggle. It is easy to set up and join the EU, but then it is a political battle. Everyone wants to have the upper hand, everyone wants to rule. To be more than the other, to have more money, more power. Macron, in particular, decided at one point that he wanted a double EU. VIP EU a nd EU fot losers.
      And especially the EU intervenes sharply in those independent states and their legal systems, dictates, determines, changes.

      An hey..What about our rum? Thanks to the EU, our rum can no longer be called rum because it is not like the Caribbean. It is technically similar, only it is made from beets and not cane, which is not a typical crop here.
      And there is more nonsense. Instead of important things, the EU often deals with these nonsense. : D


  38. Great readings, but I miss the 11th point and it is sense of humor, although even if here the political correctness is on rise, czechs are still able to tell jokes about dead children, beating a woman, jokes based on stereotypes on people’s origin, religion and color etc… and laugh at them as they are aware it is just a joke and no one consider it as something triggering or inspiring to something bad…


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