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Jérôme: Canada, Love, and a Change of Plan

After studying in France, I have always wanted to live in a foreign country for at least one year; I have always wanted to experience daily life in English. After several short experiences abroad, I was ready to go for it in Canada — I had a two-year work and travel visa in my hand. I didn’t know that I was about to meet my lovely Czech girlfriend in Barcelona during a short trip in July 2015, a very special person who made me rethink my plans and head to Brno in the Czech Republic.

I did not know Brno in 2015. I barely knew Prague. I’d been to Brno twice and realized that it was a town where I could see myself living. So, I moved there on 2 January, 2016. I am sure that my family thought I was crazy. Some friends imagined I was moving to a “developing country” located in eastern Europe.

I encountered many challenges at the beginning. Finding an affordable studio was complicated: with my girlfriend’s help, I contacted many landlords who did not reply or were scared of renting their flat to a foreigner, so I had to follow the advice of my local colleagues and share a flat with a girl I did not know — I’d only known my girlfriend for a few months, so I did not want to live with her straight away. Opening up a bank account was not easy either. Even if the staff spoke some English, they did not know whether I had to register with the Tax Office to be allowed to open a bank account, so I went there on my own to try to figure it out. I found helpful staff there, but no one who could speak English. With the help of my company’s HR Team, I found out a few weeks later that no registration was needed after all.

I have never regretted my choice of moving to Brno. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I have met so many interesting people that I would have never met if I stayed in France. I have been discovering a part of Europe that I had never been to before — I wasn’t even planning to visit! This experience is forcing me to learn a Slavic language with a different logic, so I can better understand the culture. Learning Czech is also challenging my brain and memory.

Starting a new life from scratch has not been easy at all. I had to put aside some personal expectations. But it is a great personal journey and invaluable experience. It has forced me to change. It has helped me to be a more open-minded person. Today, I truly experience a real international life.

 

Jérôme is an expat currently living and working in the Czech Republic. After almost becoming an expat in Canada, he decided to move to Brno where he could join his girlfriend. Living abroad has provided him the opportunity to learn Czech and given him a different outlook on life.  His favorite part of expat life is getting to experience day to day life in a new country, and meeting people he wouldn’t have had the chance to back home.


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