1 August 2016

Pierre Groues - Expat in Prague, Czech Republic

Pierre Groues - Expat in Prague, Czech Republic

Mr. Pierre Groues is a 35-year-old Customer Relationship Manager in the Czech Republic. Mr. Groues is originally from France and has been living in his host country for 9 years now. His decision to move to the Czech Republic was easy, as he has travelled the country as a tourist years ago and is already quite familiar with the place.

According to Mr. Groues, socializing with other people, expat or local is not difficult in the Czech Republic “Meeting people is very easy. Prague is an amazing expat place and it is normal to start chatting with someone in a pub, shop and sometimes in the street when you notice someone is in need for help (tourists most of the times). My circle is very cosmopolite but as the time passes there are more and more locals amongst them. The biggest challenge he had as an expat is the language barrier. “The most difficult part was the language barrier. I remember going to restaurants or pubs and not being able to read a menu or make myself understood. The Czech language still is a challenge for me but the country being so open to tourism and foreigners, there is no more any issues with any type of day to day communication.” Mr. Groues explained.

Language is one of the most common hurdles an expat can face abroad, especially if the local language in your chosen country of expatriation is completely different from your own language. The best solution for this is to know more about the country that you are moving to. If you have the time and you’re willing to exert effort into learning the local language, do so. If not, then just know at least the basics that you’ll need when ordering food, public transportations, signs and daily greetings.

Read more about Mr. Groues’ life as an expat in Czech Republic below.

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: I am originally from France

 

What made you move out of your home country?

A: I have decided to move out of my home country in 2005 to find more interesting job opportunities. Being in the mid-twenties at that time, mid-level management roles were not accessible for someone my age in France where positions must be acquired by seniority.

Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Choosing the Czech Republic as a new country of residence was an easy choice. I had travelled to Czech Republic and Slovakia at the beginning of the 2000’s and I knew enough of these countries to accept an offer I received on spot. The opportunity was great and the economic situation of the country back in 2005 was just amazing.

Q: How long have you been living in Czech Republic?

A: I have been living in Czech Republic for 9 years already. 

Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in your host country?

A: Overall the experience was and is still great. The most difficult part was the language barrier. I remember going to restaurants or pubs and not being able to read a menu or make myself understood. The Czech language still is a challenge for me but the country being so open to tourism and foreigners, there is no more any issues with any type of day to day communication.

Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in your host country? What was your experience with these?

A: Coming from an EU country I did not have to go through this. My wife needed a visa the first few years and I don’t recall that public administration here is more of a hassle than anywhere else.

Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: I met my wife here in the Czech Republic and because she is not from this country either, we are taking this place as our own.

Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Czech Republic? How did you manage to find a social circle in Czech Republic?

A: Meeting people is very easy. Prague is an amazing expat place and it is normal to start chatting with someone in a pub, shop and sometimes in the street when you notice someone is in need for help (tourists most of the times). My circle is very cosmopolite but as the time passes there are more and more locals amongst them.

Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: Beer, Beer, more beer and some beer food to go with. This is the country where the beer is cheaper than water, where you can find over 470 different types and where a person consumes in average 150 liters of it per year.

Here is the most useful tool for this purpose: http://www.nelso.com/beer-price-map-of-prague/

Q: How does the cost of living in Czech Republic compared to your home?

A: An espresso is around 2 euro in non-touristic areas in France against 1.5 euro in Czech Republic. In CR, that would be the lunch version where you can usually eat for around 3 euro. In France, the cheapest option was a fastfood… maybe 5 or 6 euro. If you decide to go for the most expensive places in Prague, including the drinks, you may pay 70 euro per person. In France, I have been to places where this amount was not enough to pay for the food. Pack of cigarettes is I believe around 7 euro in France whilst you can find some cheap ones for 2.5 in CR.

Q: How do you find the local culture and people in your host country?

A: Being from EU, the same.

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in (host country)?

A: Security, peacefulness and economic stability are the great positives of this country. The locals also love nature and use any opportunity to enjoy it as often as possible.

The negative is the language, quite difficult for a non-slavic person.

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I miss the good food, the great service and friendliness I can find in the south of France but nothing else. I have met new people from different nationalities that I can call friends, my family is visiting us when we are not able to go over there. The way to cope is to be surrounded by nice and amazing people on which you can count if necessary.

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: No, not really.

Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Going through the public administration ordeal is usually hard enough in our own native language. But having to do it whist you don’t understand a word the person in front of you (who is getting increasingly upset with the fact that you are an ignorant foreigner) is trying to say is not a pleasant experience.

Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Learn enough language to manage basic tasks; what I call survival skill: order food, drinks, a taxi, learn the greetings, the numbers… this should be enough to get a smile from the locals and enjoy a pleasant experience when shopping, dining out or else.

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about your host country?

A: I have to say that I use extensively expats.cz for all answers I may need about legislation, economics, politics,… On a more practical point, Aukro.cz and Heureka.cz are my favorite sites for online shopping!