Umut from Turkey: There Is a Bit of Christopher Columbus in Me

Meet Umut, an expat from Turkey who has been living and working in Brno for several years. Conversation with him was full of fun and motivational moments! Find out what coffee shops he likes in Brno and what he thinks about Czechs in the interview below!

Umut exploring Europe in Budapest, Hungary

Umut, tell me about yourself. Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Istanbul, which has 15 million people living there. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “If the world was only one country, Istanbul would be its capital!”.

Wow! That’s a huge city indeed. Why did you decide to relocate to the Czech Republic

Well, I was living in Istanbul until my twenties and then I explored Europe with an Erasmus program.  Since my childhood, I was interested in how it feels to be abroad. There is a bit of Christopher Columbus in me. I always want to explore more and more countries. That’s how I ended up here in Brno. 

Nice! Which countries have you lived during your Erasmus program?  

I lived in Poland and spent some time in Lithuania.

And why did you choose the Czech Republic? Why not Poland or Lithuania? 

Well, when I was in Poland I had two career opportunities: one option was Czechia and the second option was Greece. I decided to come here because the company where I am actually working, IBM, opens many career possibilities for me. 

I see. And what is it like to work in the Czech Republic? Are you feeling satisfied?


I am glad to hear it. What about the Czech language? Can you speak it? 

Oh, just a few words. When I was in Poland I learned Polish so, I guess I have reached my peak. After that, I said to myself that it is enough. 😀 Furthermore, English is enough for me to feel comfortable. 

Umut in Wien next to the Schloss Schönbrunn

Good! Umut, can you name three things you miss about Turkey?

Definitely. First it is chee kofta (Çiğ köfte), which is a raw meatball dish traditionally made with either beef or lamb. Then it is baklava – a sweet Turkish dessert. The last thing is the seaside. Until my twenties, I had always lived in the flats, which had a sea view, and when I woke up I breathed the smell of the sea. Every morning started like this. The landscape is very important for me, so I do miss it a lot. 

I see. Do you have Czech friends here? 

Of course, I do.

And how can you describe Czechs? 

Well, they look cold from the outside, but when you get to know them, they are really charming. I enjoy spending time with them. Czech people are friendly and helpful!  

And what about Turkish friends? Is there any Turkish community in Brno?

Ohh, it is time to promote me! Currently, I am establishing a Turkish organization in Brno! As an example, I am planning to organize some cooking workshops where I can promote Turkish food. At the same time, it will be a place where all Turkish people living in Brno can come and spend time together! In addition, I am preparing Turkish language courses for people who are willing to learn Turkish. I want to promote my country more because there is still a prejudice when people think that we ride camels 😀 

So, I will be the one who unites the Turkish community of expats. 

That is really awesome! I wish you good luck. Does that mean that you plan to stay in Brno for a few more years? 

Thank you! We can never know where life will take us but we still can build some plans. I plan to stay here for 5-6 years. I still have some goals to achieve and after this, I will probably relocate to another country. Although, I would not mind retiring here 🙂 

I see. Umut, Turkish coffee is very famous throughout the world. So, can you recommend three coffee shops in Brno where people can drink real Turkish coffee? 

Well, I can’t name three. 😀 I like Cosmopolis Cafe. They have really good coffee and a cozy atmosphere. Also, SKØG Urban Hub is the place where I like to stop by during the daytime.  

Thank you for your recommendations! My last question, can you describe your current life with three adjectives? 

Social, organized and committed.


Would you like to share your experience of living in the Czech Republic? Fill in the form and get featured on our blog or become the guest of our Expat Talks!

Want to discover more about life and work in the Czech Republic first-hand? Read more interviews with expats living in the Czech Republic: Muge, who also comes from Turkey, or Andre, who builds his career at IBM as Umut.  

Planning to build a career in the Czech Republic like Umut did but do not know where to start? Visit our website and buy the e-book “How to find a job in the Czech Republic” – a perfect guide for an expat looking for a job in this flourishing country!

Veronika Khyzhniak

Hello, readers! My name is Veronika, and I come from Ukraine. I have been living in the Czech Republic for five years and definitely know many interesting and useful facts about this country! It is a pleasure to share them with you. Hopefully, you will like my posts! Enjoy :-)

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