Moving to a foreign country is a complex process. And even if you’re good at time management and planning, in case of relocation one simply can’t take care of everything in advance. Let’s say, you have great chances of finding an apartment before you enter the country by contacting a reliable agency in your future home country. That’s minus one thing from your relocation to-do list. However, there’s a long list of other important things awaiting for you after you move to a new country. And sorting them all out can be tricky.
I must say, that all the situations described below are 100% real. However, nothing is black and white, and every person, every situation needs to be treated individually. I’m not trying to accuse anyone, and certainly not seeking for justice. I just want to show the real, not the most pretty part of the relocation process.
One of your early on responsibilities is to let Czech authorities know, that you have entered the country and plan to stay here for a while. That’s where you get the first taste of dealing with Czech offices and an understanding, that it’ll be anything but easy. The procedure itself is basically very simple: fill in the papers at the countrer, wait in line, submit the papers together with your health insurance and lease agreement / proof of accomodation. Then hope the officer is in the good mood and won’t put you into any trouble.
Why Foreign offices employees DO NOT speak English?
We’ve all been wondering Why, oh why? This fact has no logical explanation. However, off the top of my head I can say, that Czech people in general have the mentality “We speak Czech in the Czech Republic, deal with it”. Hard to blame them for such attitude, Czech is their mother tongue, which Czechs are very proud of it. However, as one of my friends pointed out, when a foreigner comes to your home country you want to give him the welcoming impression, to show that locals are polite, well-educated etc. Unfortunately, very few people from the foreigners related government sector truly care about it. I must admit, though, things have changed for the better over the past 10 years. At a new students’ workplace in Prague 6, for example, more employees seem to speak English. Funny thing is they recommend you to bring an interpretor anyway :)
This is a topic all parents will definitely come across at some point. A friend of mine (British citizen) moved to Prague from Germany a month ago with her 6-year-old boy, who was supposed to start school this year. She sent numerous emails to all schools nearby and got no reply at all. She contacted the authorities and got a reply … after 3 weeks saying that “your son will not be offered a school place, however, you have to demand it officially. Please contact the schools” :D Only when we started approaching the schools in Czech things seemed to start moving in the right direction. After countless “sorry we’re full, try it again next year” responses, one school finally said YES and we couldn’t have been happier.
I decided to make a separate chapter for the post office as I often hear my friends complain about this particular organisation. The most popular complaints? How rude the employees were and that they refused to communicate in any other language but Czech. The most recent story was told by my friend who carries a Russian passport. She had to approach the post office to verify her signature on some sort of a contract. I saw her signature, and it looks like a hook, an abstract sign (after all, it’s a signature). However, the lady at the counter refused to verify it as she “could not read Russian” :D. No matter where you come from, before entering the Czech Republic make sure to create a new, latin signature :D
EU or non-EU, whose life is easier?
There are no exceptions, Czech offices make it equally difficult for everyone :) Citizens of the countries outside of EU tend to think EU citizens are more priviliged. From my personal experience, I can assure you not at all (the stories above are meant to prove the same point). At the offices they hardly make any difference. It’s true, that EU citizens have a much more friendly visa policy etc. But as soon as they’d like to stay in CZ permanently, they have to deal with all the same issues as non-EU.
Communication is the Key
How to bring down the stress level? Speaking Czech is crucial, I’m afraid. Or you can use your charm and sign language :) Although, if you know anyone who speaks Czech, ask for help, there’s nothing wrong about it, and it’ll definitely save you loads of time. Or contact Foreigners.cz, our personal assistants are there for you 24/7.