Šárka Brandová is a former cabin crew skilled in the art of making everyone feel welcomed and comfortable. Now she does the same as the Office Coordinator at Foreigners Prague, just 30.000 feet below her usual! Why did she quit her job in the aircrew? What is her favorite country and what is her hometown famous for? Find out in the interview!
Šárka with her former crew! (she’s the second from the left)
Hi, Šárka! What are your main tasks as the Office Coordinator at Foreigners Prague?
My main responsibility is the first contact with clients, that can be via phone calls, emails or personally. That means answering the questions that might come in minds of our clients and addressing them to the proper colleague of mine, so that they can solve it, given our many services. It can be a request to see an apartment, some help in order to obtain a long-term visa or an employee card, for example, I take care of the back office as well, to make sure that my colleagues have a suitable working place.
Being at the front office means that you are the first person that our clients see when they visit. How do you like this part of your job?
I like that part indeed, as I like to welcome people and make them feel comfortable, even I can see sometimes that they are in a kind of difficult situation and are coming to ask for help.
Šárka is friendly with everyone, apparently!
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Definitely, it is multitasking! It might happen that I’m dealing with money transaction at the reception because a client just got the official translation we provided. Suddenly the doorbell starts ringing and I have to open the door and welcome the client. Of course, at this point, the phone starts ringing as well, with a call I was expecting from someone.
So I have to prioritize and do it in a short time, it can be overwhelming. I can spend 20 very quiet minutes and then 10 minutes with too much to do!
Where were you working before joining us here at Foreigners?
I was working as a cabin crew for an international carrier in the United Arab Emirates – Etihad, I did it for 4 years and I loved it! At the time, I lived in Abu Dhabi: its airport was the one from which my flights departed. It is a fundamental junction from which many routes depart. So it happened to me many times to be on intercontinental flights and I’ve been in so many places that it’s easier for me to make a list of the countries I’ve never been, instead of the opposite!
Do you have a favorite one?
Of course, it is Malaysia. That’s because it’s a country with an atmosphere profoundly different from the western one; culture and way of living are not the same, not just the language. Also, the differences are inside the country as well: Malay people (which are Muslims), Khmer (Buddhist) and Chinese people all live together in harmony, despite having little in common, not even the language.
You seem to be a person that really likes to travel. Why did you stop working as a stewardess?
Well, it’s a job that doesn’t go well along with quality sleep! You often sleep in a hotel, country and timelapse differ from the night before and that quickly becomes stressful. Also, after 4 years, I started to feel homesick: I wanted to stay closer to my family. I loved my job, but all those things were starting to take a toll. But I will always keep fond memories of that time!
Do you have any unforgettable memory?
Well, once our flight got stuck in New York for one day. So we, the crew, were able to spend one more vacation day in the city and had a lot of fun. Something that is bad for the company and the passengers turned into something good for us even though I know it’s odd and funny to think about it that way!
The Kremlin in Moscow
Why did you choose to work for Foreigners?
I have always been attracted by an international environment with different cultures and welcoming atmosphere. And that was what I could see from the beginning when I saw Foreigners advertisement saying they are looking for enthusiasts to join their team. I felt I was the perfect candidate! Given that they hired me, I think that the feeling was mutual! Now instead of traveling the world to meet foreign people and different culture, they come straight to my office desk.
Where are you from? Also, do you have any hobbies? Tell us something more about you!
I was born in the city of Pardubice, in Eastern Bohemia. It’s a medieval town that lies on the river Elbe, with a nice old town and a beautiful castle. It is famous for gingerbread baking and horse races (the city crest, which can be found on the historical buildings is, guess what, a horse on a red background).
My lifetime hobby is traveling, getting to know different cultures and places. I fell in love with traveling as a child and since then it has always been part of my life. And on daily basis, I like to go for a walk with my partner. I also like reading and when I can find some free time to read a good detective novel I feel good as well!
Our Prague Office Coordinator in front of the Niagara Falls
Thank you very much for your time, Šárka.
Do you want to know better other members of Foreigners Prague?
Read an interview with our Executive Director Radoslav or the Expat & Immigration Consultants Dana and Zuzana.