Prague may offer job opportunities, a rich landscape of arts and culture, and an international airport, but that doesn’t make it automatically the greatest place for expats to live. Life outside the Czech capital comes with its own set of benefits.
You’re Forced to Learn the Language
My Czech was far better when I lived in Liberec than after I moved to Prague. Why? Because I was forced to use it every day. There will always be options for English speakers in a popular tourist destination, but day-to-day life in smaller towns offers the ultimate motivation to up your language skills as fast as possible. It helps that most small town establishments won’t automatically switch into English at the first hint of a foreign accent.
You’re a Novelty, Not Just Another Tourist
Residents of any town outside of Prague will immediately want to know why you chose or ended up in their home, and are often flattered that you did. The patience required to answer, “Why are you here? And what do you think about Czech Republic?” with each introduction becomes a lot easier when the askers seem genuinely interested.
It’s Even More Affordable
If the cost of living in Prague is lower than your home country, you can take it a step further by leaving the city limits. Compare the average rent of a one-bedroom flat outside the city center in Prague (10,885 CZK*), Brno (8,648 CZK), Hradec Kralove (7,000 CZK), Plzen (6,500 CZK), Liberec (6,166 CZK), České Budějovice (5,750 CZK), or Ostrava (5,636 CZK). Granted, salaries can also be lower, but for anyone working online or for an international company, the savings can add up.
You’ll Witness Traditions In-Person
You know how everyone says that to see the Easter tradition of whipping your neighbors you should go to a village? This applies to lots of customs and festivals. Small town life gives you a glimpse of local celebrations, from choirs of Christmas carols in the local square to ples (formal ball) season. With fewer events competing for audiences, it’s easier to choose what to do on any given night – and it’s almost guaranteed to be packed with locals.
It’s Easier to Avoid the Expat Bubble
With an added interest in your presence and without a built in network of native speakers, it’s easier to expand your circle to include Czech friends. While this is absolutely possible in major cities, it can require a little more effort. Smaller populations often welcome newcomers as an interesting addition to their social calendar as opposed to trying to squeeze another new friend into an already busy life.