Since March 1st, there is a new person who helps our clients with visas, translations or nostrifications in the Brno office. This person is Honza Valošek, a law student and an outdoor enthusiasist who is married to an American expat.
Honza, tell us something about yourself.
I was born and lived in Ostrava. During my school years, I was very lucky. My elementary school was just behind the corner and the grammar school I attended only one street further. And since I lived with my mom and grandma (becase my parents got divorced) I was spared the school cafeteria food which was (as we all know) not very tasty :-)
You said you lived together with your mother and grandmother. No siblings?
No, I am the only child and I have never missed a brother or a sister. I think I have always made friends easily thanks to that and I have never felt alone. Also, since I was 6 years old, I was taking latin and standard dancing classes for more than 11 years.
That’s impressive. Why did you quit?
I liked it a lot and I visited many countries in and outside the European Union due to it but it was time-consuming and I didn’t want to dance professionally. But I have to admit I miss it sometimes, especially when I see some of my friends in the TV shows and competitions.
Do you still dance?
Yes, I go to dance from time to time here in Brno.
How often do you go back to your hometown?
I travel to Ostrava once per 2 months usually. We also have a cottage in Beskydy mountains where we go once in a few weeks.
What did you study?
I spent 8 great years at the grammar school. After that I studied at The University of Economics, Prague for two years and then I switched to Masaryk University Faculty of Law in Brno where I am at the fourth year currently.
This topic is related to your work because you are an Expat & Immigration Consultant at Foreigners.cz. It’s not your first position in the company, though.
No, it’s not. I started to work at Foreigners.cz in January as a Relocation Consultant. After about 3 weeks I changed the position to the current one.
Why did you want to work at Foreigners.cz?
I was looking for a job in real estate but it was very hard to find a good real estate agency. Then I saw a job offer from Foreigners.cz and it made sense to me. I am very satisfied working here. There is pleasant atmosphere and my colleagues do what they really want to do.
What do you do as an Expat & Immigration Consultant?
My work is surely various which I appreciate. In one day I handle 6 different cases: visas, employee cards, I am sending a suitcase to the other side of the world… And I work with people. That’s great for me.
Is the studying of law helpful in your work?
It is. At least I know where to find information I need.
Have you ever lived abroad?
Yes. I spent 1 year in Minnessota, the United States of America when I was a teenager. I was a threeseason athlete there, playing football, golf, and skiing. Later, I did an internship in Los Angeles. I was lucky and could try many different possitions there.
What were your first thoughts in the United States?
Well, everything was bigger, better, and more interesting. But my very first experience wasn’t very pleasant. They lost all my luggages so my first way lead to WalMart to buy a toothbrush and other basic needs. The first three weeks were tough. I think my English was good but I wasn’t used to communicate in a foreign language on daily basis. But then it settled and everything was cool.
You are not connected to America only because of your travels, though.
No, my wife is an American so we go there pretty often to visit her family in Houston.
Where did you two met?
We got to know each other in Ostrava when I was working while I studied in Prague. We had some friends in common and I remember very well that we first met in the pancake house where we had been tasting a new beaujolais.
You got married quite soon after that, right? And you were pretty young, considering contemporary customs.
That’s true. I was 22 when we had a wedding. But I knew I had met the right one so there was no reason to wait and I know it was the best decision of my life.
In which language you talk to each other at home?
We use both English and Czech because she speaks Czech very well. Sometimes I speak to her in English and she replies in Czech which is funny.
Have you found any cultural differencies since the time you met each other?
Yes, there are many things like that and we still discover new ones. What I remember now, it’s a shower in the morning for instead of evening, for example. Or in the United States there is nothing like: „Don’t sit on the cold ground.“ which we heard from our moms frequently. But I think I am pretty „Americanish“ and she is „Czechis“ so our relationship is balanced.
What about holidays such as Christmas or Easter. Do you celebrate them in an American or Czech way?
Both. We celebrate Christmas one year in the Czech Republic and the second year in the States. So when we are here we have a fish for dinner and we unwrap gifts on December, 24 in the evening and when we are in Houston we do it on December, 25 in the morning wearing pyjamas :-) Neither of us celebrate Easter in the Czech traditional way but we both love Thanksgiving Day. That’s our most favorite holiday. A few times already we made Thanksgiving dinner here in Brno for our friends and it was very nice each time.
Do you like Brno?
Yes. I think it’s a great combination between a big and a small town. It has the luxury of the big city, it’s multicultural but people are close to each other. And me and my wife love discovering new restaurants in Brno. It’s our „weakness“ that we like to eat out. The best one for me is Castellana Tratoria so far.
Besides eating in restaurants, what are your hobbies?
I like traveling and any outdoor activities, so climbing, biking, camping, for instance. And my wife shares this passion with me since she used to go camping with her dad. So it’s perfect.
You also have a dog, right?
That’s right. We have a standard poodle named Rosie. She’s our darling and already makes her space in our bed. And it’s a great start of a day when we walk her in the morning wearing slippers and jammies!
Do you feel like home in Brno?
Yes. But feeling home is not about a place for me. It’s about people. I can live anywhere but I can’t be without my family and my wife.
What message would you send to foreigners who are thinking about moving to the Czech Republic?
I would tell them that the Czech Republic is a wonderful land full of treasures. There are marvellous people and the friendships you make in the Czech Republic they last forever.