Who are you?
My name is Chloe’, and I’m a traveler, ESL teacher, spoken word poet and treehugger.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Czech Republic (“Czechia”) in 2014 on a Fulbright fellowship to be an English assistant in a small-town grammar school (gymnázium).This is not my first time living abroad however, as I have also lived in Israel.
What challenges did you face during the move?
I am a native New Yorker so it was a big change to come to a town of 8500 people. It was also difficult to find people my age who spoke English.
Are there many other expats in your area?
There are about three others within a 10km radius, that I know of. There are, however, many in Brno, the second-largest city after Prague (25km away).
What do you like about life where you are?
Though it was a shock at first, being one of the only foreigners in this area meant that everyone knew me and wanted to introduce me to their town. I now have a wonderful feeling of community here. I also live close to nature, as there are hills a two-minute walk from my front door, and I know many people who have greenhouses and raise their own chickens and rabbits. Plus, it’s a necessity for me to learn Czech as I need it to communicate, so there are plenty of opportunities for language immersion.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Living in such a small place means never being anonymous, and sometimes the gossip can get to you.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
Czechs can be cold at first, which is a legacy of Communist times when you could not trust your neighbors. However, when you get to know them they are much warmer, humbler, and more genuine than Americans are (in my experience).
What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?
I love Czech food, but it is very hearty and unfortunately easy to gain weight on it. My favorites are Svíčková na smetaně (the national dish – beef tenderloin with a vegetable cream sauce) and španělský ptáček (sausage and pickle rolled in a piece of chicken and served with rice).
My least favorites are anything with liver, anything with poppy seeds, and “sweet lunches.” The beer culture is amazing, and it’s little known outside Central Europe that Moravia produces fantastic wine!
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Czech Republic is a country with great quality of life, including health care and family life. You can find something for you whether you are a city or nature lover. Though people may not seem welcoming at first, showing interest in their culture and language will have them opening up to you quickly.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to get my Master’s degree in speech therapy/linguistics. My future is open; the only certainty is a lot of travel and great experiences.
You can keep up to date with Chloe's adventures on her website, Chlohemian.
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