11 Tips for Living in Prague
Expats in Prague offer advice to newcomers about living in Prague. Topics covered include international schools, best neighborhoods for expats, clubs for expats and more.
Prague is the largest city in Czech Republic and home to approximately 1.3 million people (2.6 million in the metropolitan area Wikipedia). Prague was under communist rule from 1948 until 1989. In 1993, Czechoslovakia dissolved into the Czech and Slovak Republics.
Prague 6 is the Best Neighborhood for Expat Families
In a thread about moving to Prague, a newcomer asked about the best neighborhoods for expat families. One expat replied, "Prague 6 for me everytime, especially with kids, lived there for 8 year."
"I am an American expat who has been living in Prague 6 for the past 13 years. I have four children who have grown up here and attended both private and Czech schools (Czech Mother). I can say unequivocally that Prague 6 is much better than Prague 2 for family life... especially an American expat family," added another expat living in Prague.
Prague 2 is the Best Neighborhood for Young, Single Expats
"I would recommend the same, Prague 2 for younger, single people and Prague 6 for families," said one Czech woman on the forum. Another expat said, "We live in an apartment complex close to downtown Prague (Praha 2, Nove Mesto). Our apartment has a small garden, a common area, a swimming pool and fitness facilities. Other expats live in our building, but many expat friends live in houses outside of town."
Schools in Prague for Expats
The Riverside School welcomes students of all ages and has early years school (3+), a primary school, a junior high and a senior high. "I personally love Riverside School, but I am very fond of the director there so I am probably not unbiased. My children attended there for many years. Presently the two youngest are in Czech school and one attends English College in Prague....which is probably one of the best of it kind anywhere. They must be 13 years old to start there. Riverside starts them from 3 years. If there is anything you would like to know specifically just write and I will try to help," wrote one expat parent.
International School of Prague
Prague British International School
Prague British International School (PBIS) welcomes students from 2 through 18 years of age. The school has 3 campuses. Vlastina is in the west of the city and serves students through Year 9. The 2 other campuses are located in the southwest of the city. One serves students through Year 9 and other serves students from Year 10 through Year 13.
Parklane International School
Parklane International School has 2 campuses. The Primary and preschool (nursery - Year 5) building is located in Prague 6. The Primary and Senior School (Year 6 - Year 13) is located in Prague 1.
English College in Prague
The English College in Prague is a unique school in that it was founded to provide an English-based education to young people in Prague, the majority students are locals not expats. Most graduates go on to attend universities in the UK.
Crime in Prague
According to the US Embassy in Prague, "While violent crime in Czech Republic is rare, theft is, unfortunately, quite common. 'Pickpockets' are especially frequent near tourist attractions and on public transportation. Thieves often work in groups, allowing them greater access to unsuspecting tourists and opportunities to escape. If you are the victim of a theft, report it to the Czech police as soon as possible. The Foreigner's Police is located at Olsanska 2, Prague 3, 974.820.238. A police station is also located next to the Embassy at Vlasska 362/3, 974.851.730."
Cost of Living in Prague
A person thinking about moving to Czech Republic asked, "Could someone describe the cost of living in Check Republic, like homes, apartments, food and shopping. I see $1US Dollar=$25 CZ Koruna. Would an American be able to retire here comfortably. What is an average monthly income for CZ people. Happy to see CZ does not use the Euro!" A member replied, "Easy answers: average salary is 25k CZK, monthly rent of appartment is from 6k CZK to 20k CZK, the cost in Prague is doubled than outside. Single person can easy live with 1000 USD/month, with 2000 USD you are very comfortable even in Prague. Many Americans are in Prague."
Meeting People in Prague
International Women's Association of Prague hosts meetings, luncheons, events and has a number of special interest groups including a happy hour group, a cinema group, a book club and an American Women's Group of Prague that meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at various cafes around Prague. Prager Runde is a club for German-speaking residents in Prague.
Obtaining a Driver's License in Prague
According to the US Embassy in Prague, "Long term residents for more than 1 year and permanent residents are required to obtain a Czech driver's license (DL) to drive in the Czech Republic within 3 months of issuance of their long term stay/permanent residence. A precondition for the issuance of a DL is the successful completion of a test of driver competency, on the basis of which – provided that other conditions, such as age, adequate health, and others, are met – a person is granted a Driving Entitlement(s). Applications for DLs are processed by the appropriate office (based on the locale of the applicant's permanent/residence) of the Driver Registry of the municipal authorities of municipalities with delegated powers, or by the town hall of a city in the Czech Republic. Application forms may be obtained at any office of the Driver Registry of the municipal authority of municipalities with delegated powers, or at the town hall of a city. For more information on obtaining a Czech drivers license please check the webpage of the Ministry of Transportation of the Czech Republic dealing with drivers licenses at www.mdcr.cz. A list of driving schools can be found at www.firmy.cz or www.google.com."
What Expats Appreciate About Living in Prague
"There ARE some manners I like. People willing hop up to give somebody older their seat on the bus/train. People offer the help with directions a lot. There are no standards with dress, everyone wears what they want to wear! It's great. There is no corporate standard.. levels within society. Most people like to relax and enjoy life.. with a beer," wrote one expat in a report about culture shock in Prague.
"Once you have friends, they are wonderful friends. The food is not so healthy but delicious, the beer is the best. Magical architecture, beautiful countryside, Prague has excellent, inexpensive public transportation," explained another expat living in Prague.
Challenging Aspects of the Living in Prague
"Culture shock for me was pretty intense. I'm used to people smiling on the st, saying hi, good vibes, welcoming culture and it was actually the opposite here. People are rude, they don't walk around you, they walk into you. People don't say 'excuse me'. These small things were hard to take for the first month or two. Now I'm getting used to it more, I'm more 'immune' to it," explained one expat.
Another expat added, "I think it's a leftover from the communist era, the mistrust, the retaliation for a slight you didn't even know you committed, no one will make a decision in the Visa office. It's necessary to work through your job or an attorney. My friend got rejected because he did not "have a purpose. He's retired and was told point blank, after many months, that he could not be here just because he wanted to."
From the US State Department:
The Czech Republic (official short name: Czechia) is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of the Czech Republic's website for the most current visa and entry requirement information and its FAQ section on Schengen visas.
- Passports should be valid for at least six months beyond the arrival date into Schengen, to avoid difficulties entering and traveling within the Schengen zone. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
- You may enter the Czech Republic for up to 90 days for tourist, business, study and most other purposes (except work) without a visa. This is counted along with presence in all Schengen countries for up to 90 days out of any 180-day period.
- You will need a visa for longer stays or to work for any period of time in the Czech Republic. When a visa is required, submit your application to the nearest Czech diplomatic mission at least 3-4 months in advance of traveling to the Czech Republic. The U.S. Embassy cannot help speed up foreign visa applications.
- The Czech Government requires travelers to be able to show proof, upon request, of sufficient finances to cover the cost of a traveler's stay.
- You must also carry proof of a valid medical insurance policy contracted for payment of all costs for hospitalization and medical treatment while in the Czech Republic.
Finding a Job in Prague
About the Author
Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.
Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.
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