Prague voted 4th best city for young expat life… but not the friendliest / Praha zvolena 4. nejlepsim novym domovem pro mlade expatrioty, ale…Prague voted 4th best city for young expat life... but not the friendliest | Czechmatediary
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Prague voted 4th best city for young expat life… but not the friendliest / Praha zvolena 4. nejlepsim novym domovem pro mlade expatrioty, ale…

Everyone loves Prague. I mean, have you ever met anyone who didn’t? Even the prominent British newspaper Daily Telegraph chose it to be the 4th (!!) best city for young expat life. Listen to this: ‘Beautiful and only a short flight away from Britain, Prague offers all the stability of Europe with not requiring a new language, and it has the best beer in the world.”

Radio Prague also gives us some statistics to how many expats live there and what their nationality is:

  • 15,000 Germans
  • 6,0oo Americans
  • 5,000 Britons
  • 3,000 Frenchmen

Most of them are business people, teachers and students.

There is a little glitch in this Prague bliss however, and that are the Prague locals. Listen to Carol, one of the young expats:

“The biggest downside is the closed mentality (of Czechs). What we can observe in Prague – and it might be different outside of Prague – but in Prague it is like that, people are closed, are reserved. You go to a shop and two months after you’ve lived here you’ve learnt that you’re not surprised that people don’t smile at you, either in a shop or a restaurant; you’re not the king as a client, or as a guest. And you have to get used to it. And it takes a long time and even now sometimes I’m really bothered about that, and I just say – it’s just like that, it’s a mentality thing, and you have to get used to it.”

That’s kind of sad because I know what she means but at the same time I know so many other Czech people living in Prague (my friends, for example) that are super friendly when it comes to meeting foreigners. What do you guys think the problem is?

Read the rest of the article here.

CZ: Webovky Radia Praha nedavno upozornily sve ctenare na clanek britskych novin  The Daily Telegraph, ktere zvolily Prahu jako 4. nejlepsi novy domov pro mlade expatrioty. Jestli totiz netusite (jako jsem netusila ja), kolik cizincu v Praze zije, tady je mensi seznam:

  • 15,000 Nemcu
  • 6,000 Americanu
  • 5,000 Britu
  • 3,000 Francouzu

Vetsina z nich jsou but podnikatele, ucitele nebo naopak studenti. Praha je pro ne tedy optimalnim novym domovem. Proc? Svym rodnym jazykem (nebo anglictinou) se vsude domluvi, bydli v nadhernych, levnych apartmanech ve stredu Prahy a po praci si muzou zajit na to nejlepsi pivo na svete. Jednu vec by ale vymenili: samotne Prazany ;). Jsou podle nich dosti nevlidni lide. Ne jednu stranu vim, o cem tu mluvi, ale na druhou stranu tomu zase moc nerozumim, protoze znam moc a moc velmi prijemnych Prazanu, kteri si radi s cizinci pokecaji. Babo rad!

Zbytek clanku si prectete zde.

If you liked this post buy me a coffee! (Suggested:$3 a latte $8 for a pound) Thanks!

42 comments… add one
  • Eurobubba April 22, 2012, 1:23 am

    In the early 90s the figure you would hear — I have no idea where it came from — was that there were 20,000 Americans living here. I never really believed it then, either.

  • Eurobubba April 22, 2012, 1:37 am

    I grew up among Germans, so I guess I never sense the “reserve” or “unfriendliness” that a lot of Americans seem to feel around central Europeans. It’s true that the customer service culture here is pretty weak, but on the level of real interpersonal relations, I think the differences are superficial. I hope Carol eventually discovers that the lack of an American-style smile and easy small-talk doesn’t mean people aren’t open to friendship.

  • Eva Z April 22, 2012, 12:55 pm

    I agree with Eurobubba about the customer service culture. While living in Czech I never thought it was bad until I moved to the US. Now when I go back I’m often stunned and turned off. There are a few exceptions too and often if you give a smile first, you get it back. And I think it’s getting better, especially in international chains and hopefully it will catch on everywhere eventually. Because I know that the people are very nice and friendly in CZ but I guess mostly outside their jobs. 🙂

  • Tanja April 22, 2012, 5:39 pm

    I always thought that Prague had the biggest number of Americans not Germans. Where were those Germans hiding when I used to live there? I guess there weren’t enough of them since my teacher of German was actually a Hungarian lady 🙂

    Eurobubba, I think what Carol was pointing at is that you can be coming to the same grocery store every day for 5 years and you get the same blank and unfriendly look from the cashier/store clerk. That would make me think that they are not open to any kind of friendship. But who knows, maybe Carol did not try enough, maybe she was looking grumpy as much as they did 😉

  • marek April 22, 2012, 7:22 pm

    I noticed the same kind of reception in Bratislava; I assumed it was at least partly a remnant of the past century or so of distrust… >>

  • Vlastimil April 22, 2012, 8:01 pm

    After seeing New York, even Prague’s unfriendly people seem to be real angels 😉

  • Pavla April 22, 2012, 8:51 pm

    When I lived there, I never thought about it…I mean, you grew up there so you took it as “normal” behavior. But, visiting Prague after some time spent here, oh boy! You are just amazed how invisible you feel – unfortunately not in a good way. Do not get me wrong, I LOVE PRAGUE, but it is not the friendliness city in the world. I think smaller cities in CR are a bit different, but not too much. On the other hand, the village people are super friendly!

  • Pavla April 22, 2012, 8:54 pm

    As my MBA schoolmate (from Portugal) told me 10 years ago – when I arrived back home and got out of the plane in Lisbon and people were smiling at me – I immediately checked my wallet if I still have it or I was just robbed… sad, right??

  • Tanja April 22, 2012, 9:35 pm

    Pavlo, totally! When I lived there that was the normal behavior but when you come back there after 5 years or so you feel like a butterfly with broken wings – all of a sudden all of this ‘normal’ behavior seems much more hurtful.

    Vlastimile, really? New York is worse? Like how? Example please!

  • Tanja April 22, 2012, 10:32 pm

    Haha Marku, that’s a good one! Exactly what we are talking about here.

  • Eurobubba April 22, 2012, 11:21 pm

    New York has a reputation for being abrasive, but I’ve found people to be very outgoing every time I’ve been there. Brash maybe, but very friendly.

  • Marika (ta druha) April 23, 2012, 3:36 am

    I’ll just say that God I speak several languages and I ALWAYS speak the language of the country I go to ( because I learned my lesson) NO ONE is very nice to foreigners these days. The word tourist has an added synonym= headache.There’s enough literature, web sites, for everyone out there to plan their trips when visiting another country and not acting like a tourist. And if someone gives you a mean look? look even meaner ;P

  • Marika (ta druha) April 23, 2012, 3:38 am

    I would have corrected the ‘thank God’ part and the capped the L in my last sentence, but Tanya you have no edit button and I just hung myself from shame 😉

  • Transient Drifter April 23, 2012, 5:57 pm

    When I lived in Cheb I worked over a grocery store and was there EVERY day buying food for lunch. The two or three clerks who were friendly always ended up leaving 🙁 Most of them, sadly, acted as though being friendly was below them. Ah well. My students were all wonderful, so I never let bad customer service effect the way I felt about Czech people 🙂

  • Tanja April 26, 2012, 9:49 pm

    I will be visiting Prague soon after about a 5-yr break so it will be interesting to see if the customer service seems better to me.

  • Eurobubba April 26, 2012, 10:35 pm

    When are you coming? I’d love to get together for a coffee or beer. (Except that I’m headed the other direction next month and will be away most of the summer….)

  • Vlastimil April 27, 2012, 9:06 am

    Marika, if you ALWAYS speak the language of the country you are visiting, then your “lebensraum” must be quite limited 😉

  • Vlastimil April 27, 2012, 9:07 am

    Why do you complain about Prague? Go to Moscow 🙂 ….I know what I am saying …..

  • Vlastimil April 27, 2012, 9:11 am

    I actually never had issues with customer service in Prague….. I think it is improving surprisingly fast … And besides, I like adventure …

  • M. Novák April 30, 2012, 1:56 am

    As Czech, I must say, I hate arrogant behaviour of expats. Prague is our city, not theirs. They are comming here, behaving like some kind of superior race. They even don´t bother to learn our language! I hate their behaviour in streets, tramway or subway. After all, they should remember that they are just guests. You Tanja live in US. Do you expect that Americans adjust to you?! Nope! As Czech I expect that foreigners when live in Czech republic should adjust to Czechs, not vice versa. When you are in Rome be as a Roman.

  • Girl In Czechland May 2, 2012, 9:22 am

    Interesting that Prague made it into the top 5 although those expats such as myself who love it there will not be surprised 🙂 I can’t find the original article anywhere though despite repeated Google searches: could someone post the link for me?
    Girl In Czechland

  • honziknl July 14, 2012, 7:01 am

    @M. Novak really ?!are the expats really arrogant and do they really see themselfs as being superior?!
    Some maybe ,I’m sure there are some douchebags that think because they make twice the amount of money than the avarage czech person they feel the need to show off,but i’m sure this is more something from the nineties and the czechs still feel bitter about that.. but I think you and a lot of czechs with you (with this kind of prejudice and xenofobic mentality) like to think like that. Just because you are so reserved and closed that doesn’t mean people from other countries who have (thank god ) another kind of mentality are arrogant or see them selfs as superior just because they are a bit louder and smile more and are more spontanious.
    In what other way than learning of your language should they adapt to the czechs?be grumpy and stop smiling?would that be good for starters?be glad they bring a bit of spontaneity with them!You could probabely learn from them.
    You and a lot of your fellow country men/ women love to label expats or tourists really quickly as a frajer(=show off).For example a group of italians are talking loudly italian and are dressed in good clothes.
    I’m willing to bet that atleast half of the czechs who will pass by them will label them as ”frajerzy”.
    I speak czech but i grew up in Holland (my dad emigrated in 1968) I’m coming my whole life to the CR on holidays and I have even tried to live there for two years,because my family has returned there and I think the country is beautiful and it’s much cheaper to buy a nice house than for instance in Holland.
    I would love to live there ,the only thing that bothers me is the mentality of the people.
    I think the main reason that expats are seen as arrogant ,is because the czechs suffer from jealousy and envy and have themselfs some kind of major inferior complex ,and combined with years of oppression created this crazy xenofobic mentality.
    The crazy thing is ,the czech people can be really friendly once the ice is melted and notice you maby aren’t that much of a frajer as they thought you would be.
    Mr. Novak ,you sir and a lot of your fellow country men/women should first look in the mirror before you start pointing your finger too much.

    peace !!

  • M. Novák October 21, 2012, 9:50 am

    honziknl It´s maybe cheap for you, but definitely not for us. Can you imagine, what is to be second class citizen in your own land? As for arrogance, many of foreigners live in Czech republic for more than 10 years and they don´t bother to learn czech. Isn´t it arrogant?

  • Eric October 21, 2012, 9:21 pm

    M. Novak,

    I hear you. I am an American and I had the opportunity to visit Prague last year for a week. I found the people to be very warm and friendly. I think what many tourists see is the same reserve we would have with any foreigner or stranger until we got to know them.
    As for “second class citizen in your own land” we have many here legally and illegally who come across our southern border who don’t bother to learn the language. They get much of the benefits of our social services and don’t pay anything into it. When dealing with any customer service over the telephone we have to press “1” for english. I guess it’s getting bad all over.

  • Honziknl October 22, 2012, 3:10 pm

    @ M.Novak You’re right, if you compare it to the real estate prices in Holland ,it’s indeed cheaper for me,
    but I also meant it from my own perspective when I mentioned that.
    I agree that if someone lives in a country (whereever)for over 10 years and doesn’t speak the language
    it could be seen as arrogance ,but it could also be just plain laziness .They probably don’t really have to speak the language for their work, and might I add that the Czech language isn’t the easiest in the world to learn either.Not that it’s an excuse but in combination with the friendliness of the czechs (forgive my irony) it might be a subconcious deterrent to continue( if they even started) to learn the language.I’m not making any excuses though,they should learn it if they are ( planning )living there for a long time .My girlfriend is Brazilian and because of her I started to learn some portuguese and if we would ever decide to go and live in Brazil ,I know that in half a year I would speak the language in a way that I can have a normal conversation,but not everyone is like that.Not everyone has got the talent to learn a language and especially not Czech .
    Do you think if those same expats lived in Shanghai or Moskou they would learn the native language? I bet most of them wont if they won’t need it, but some surely will..
    So don’t take it so personal ,everyone is different (even expats)
    There are people in Holland who came from turkey and marocco who are there for almost 50 years and if they speak 2 sentences in Dutch it’s a lot.
    So don’t come with your ; can you imagine what it’s like to be a 2nd class citizen in your own country .I can !!and I know that feeling about a 100 times more than you do sir..
    Come to Holland and walk around in the centre of Rotterdam for a while and compare it to Prague,you’ll change your point of view very quickly ,and then imagine living there with all the cultural clashes between the Dutch and the muslim’s.Then my friend you’ll really feel what it’s like being a 2nd class citizen in your own country..
    The bottomline is ;
    should the expats learn Czech if they want the respect of the locals? Yes
    Will the Czechs respect them more if they do? maybe ,but I’m sure they will find something else to complain about.
    Is it a major problem ? No ,expats are like that everywhere ,it’s not personal.
    Is Czech xenophobia a problem ? Yes ,a major one.. it’s deeply rooted and only if the people will become concious about it it can change .You mr. Novak seem like a reasonably intelligent person but it also seems that based on your comments you are a perfect example of how xenophobic the avarage Czech person is.

  • Eurobubba October 23, 2012, 1:50 am

    Wow Eric, was the Mexican-bashing really necessary? Such disdain, so many inaccuracies. Spanish has been spoken in our Southwest for centuries longer than English, so your comment about “bothering to learn the language” is way off base. Who decided English gets to be “the” language, anyway? And most immigrants do indeed pay taxes, whether they entered legally or illegally. In fact many of the ones who are undocumented have social security and medicare taxes deducted from their pay just like everyone else, when they may never be able to collect from those programs — so in some cases who’s paying and who benefits is precisely the opposite of what you’re suggesting.

  • Tanja October 23, 2012, 9:02 am

    Eurobubba, I actually live in that Southwest region and I must agree with Eric. It is bad. Most Hispanics do NOT learn the language although they have been here for 15 plus years and they don’t bother to do so because almost everything here is bilingual (so it’s really the government’s fault). Most of them are illegal yet they are still eligible for scholarships, free after school programs, free meals at schools…..yet I never was although I was even a bigger minority then them (2 Czechs in the whole school) and I was always legal.
    I am now part of the school board at my daughter’s school and the biggest part of the school’s money goes to ‘English learners’ while the other kids are left in the dust. And c’mon, saying ‘ who decided English gets to be the language..’….really??? How would it look if all of the immigrants spoke their language and not English?? It would be another Tower of Babel!! I came here and did not know a word of English and I knew I had to learn..and quickly. And I did.

  • Eurobubba October 23, 2012, 9:23 am

    Point is, Spanish in the Southwest is not an immigrant language. Yes, of course there are lots of immigrants who speak it, but there’s also a Spanish-speaking community that’s been there much, much longer than the English-speakers. So why should English be privileged?

  • Eric October 23, 2012, 5:51 pm

    Call it Darwinism, “survival of the fittest”? or perhaps “to the victor go the spoils”. Let’s just say that our country was established, and expanded by western European english speakers and it is exceedingly difficult to maintain a civil society unless there is a unifying language. I don’t really want to get pulled in to a conversation about our treatment of native Americans or indigenous peoples here, as the subject was the Czech Republic in general and Prague specifically.

    My response to M. Novak was to acknowledge and show some sympathy with his feelings. When you consider the history of the region and everything the Czech and slavic people have been through, I think they have earned the right to be more than a little wary of strangers.
    Also, I can see how after coming out from under the shadow of Communism, which is never good for individual prosperity, it must be frustrating to see comparatively well off westerners come to your country and act like sailors on leave.

    As I said above, I visited Prague last year for a week, and found the people to be very warm and friendly. It was not only my first visit to the Czech Republic, but my first trip outside the U.S.
    I now find that I’ve fallen in love with the place. Prague is a beautiful city, the ladies are incredibly lovely and the Pivo is very very good. If they’ll have me, I hope to return soon and spend more than a week. I know Americans have a bad reputation as tourists abroad and I hope to do my part to rectify that image.

  • Eurobubba October 23, 2012, 10:37 pm

    Well Eric it seems we do agree on something!

  • Honziknl October 24, 2012, 3:51 am

    @ Eric Sure I can also understand that oppression helps to cause this kind of behaviour…but to say they have earned the right to be more than a little wary of strangers ?!
    That’s like saying a murderer has a right to kill people because he had a rough childhood.
    A lot of countries in for example South America are dealing and have dealt for a long time with horrible things and often in those countries the people are quite friendly inspite of major poverty,high crime etc that goes on there as we’re speaking.
    I’m sure you had a nice experience with some people there,and that’s great especially if it was your first trip outside the U.S..I also know a lot of really nice Czech people but,with all due respect ,you went to the Czech Republic for a week .Go and live there for some time and then let’s see what your opinion is like.

  • Eric October 24, 2012, 5:10 am


    Whew!, Comparing wariness and distrust of strangers to murder is pretty rough.
    I do take your point about other countries though.

    None the less, I’m open to your suggestion of living there. I just need a way to swing that.
    I’d prefer to be self sufficient so as not to take a job away from a native especially in this economy.
    I also wouldn’t want to be a burden on their system which I haven’t paid into.

    If you could recommend something I’m listening…

  • Riva February 2, 2013, 6:52 pm

    Já jsem potkala lidi, kteří nemají Prahu rádi—Brňáci. 🙂

    Ale jinak je Praha asi moc oblíbené město.

  • Tanja February 2, 2013, 9:24 pm

    Haha! No jo, Moravaci jsou takovy veseli :))

  • Jared August 25, 2013, 4:20 am

    One of the worst places in Europe. Miserable weather and overrated place, shit food and cuisine. People are rude and unprofessional. The city aint that special as they make it out to be. Unsafe at night, you ll see streetwalkers from 8 pm, drug addicts and drunken loonies. It is also dirty full of rubbish and porn leaflets everywhere on the sidewalk. A complete waste of time and money its best to save it for some other place where at least people are professional with tourists besides there are far better places in the world to visit.

  • Eric August 25, 2013, 8:12 pm

    Go and take your light to one of the better places. I’m pretty sure the Czechs won’t miss you.

  • Jared August 26, 2013, 5:17 am

    No offense but the truth isn’t always pleasant to hear. Apologies for not agreeing with you

  • mac September 4, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Jared, I don’t know where you were but I’m in Prague right now and it simply isn’t like that at all. Safest place at night that I’ve been in a while. As for drunks, ever been to any town or city in England on a Saturday night??

  • Eric September 5, 2013, 3:48 pm

    From what I’ve read I think most of the drunken hooligans are British frat boys on a stag weekend…

  • Jared September 10, 2013, 2:48 am

    Perhaps but I am not English and I haven’t been there either 😉

  • John Smith September 22, 2013, 2:08 pm

    The plain fact is that most Americans especially the hipster variety you find in Prague are loud, stupid and annoying.

  • Eurobubba September 23, 2013, 2:04 pm

    Then again, some of the commenters here are pretty stupid and annoying too. Not saying who.

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