Kevan: Beyond Prague
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to the Czech Republic, etc.
My name is Kevan and I’m originally from Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. I moved to the Czech Republic in 2004. I came here as I needed some big changes in life: Career, location, general outlook and so forth.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I got into blogging in late 2012 on the advice of a friend who also blogs. I didn’t know what I could blog about initially, but the idea eventually hit me to make a blog about the Czech Republic that didn’t have Prague as a focus. The Czech Republic is a lovely country with a lot to offer. Sadly, a large percentage of visitors don’t venture to see much more of it than Prague and that’s a pity.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I don’t have one favorite, but the entry on Easter traditions is one I particularly like.
Tell us about the ways your new life in the Czech Republic differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I think that coming from a fully multicultural county like Canada, it was almost impossible for me to have any true culture shock moments. I suppose one thing that did take some getting used to was that customer service in Czech shops, especially if you had to return something, was pretty poor when I first arrived. It’s gotten a bit better over the years, but the customer most certainly is not “always right” in a Czech shop.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in the Czech Republic? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I don’t think you can ever be 100% prepared for what awaits you in another country. I think the only thing I might have done differently when preparing to come here would have been to take some basic German language lessons before I left Canada. There was nowhere to take Czech lessons in my hometown at the time I was planning my trip and if I think about the number of times I was asked if I spoke German after I said I couldn’t speak Czech, it became very clear that even a basic level of that language could have been helpful. German can still be useful here, but English and a few other languages have been continually on the rise since I arrived.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Too many to pick just one!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in the Czech Republic?
- If Czech language lessons are available where you live, take some!
- Try to make Czech friends quickly, they can be lifesavers at bureaucratic offices.
- Don’t assume that every Czech you meet likes beer and hockey.
How is the expat community in the Czech Republic? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I didn’t go to any special efforts to seek out the expat community when I arrived here. However, the English teaching business certainly has put me in contact with many expats and Czechs with similar mindsets to my own.
How would you summarize your expat life in the Czech Republic in a single, catchy sentence?
I came, I saw, I’m still here!