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debating on teaching in Prague
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Joined: 22 May 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey darko. I just left Prague a few months ago after teaching there for a year so I'll fill you in. This'll be long, but here goes:

First off, if you're looking to get certified it's a good place to go. There are loads of schools and it's cheaper to live there for a month than, say, Spain. I did the Trinity and I say you definitely do that or the CELTA (you'll want something that's recognized for all that money you're shelling out).

2. Yeah, the best time to get work is Sept. Then again in early Jan. But finding work in between is not so bad. I say good average pay is about 16,000 Koruna/month for about 25 hours/week. More if you want to work on the side. There are loads of schools so plenty of options but a good amount of bad schools in the mix. The school I started off with, Institut Jazykoveho Vzdelavani (Institute of Language Education), sucked. They had Fortune 500 clientele but the owners were greedy... (well, i'll watch my language). Anyway, the schools are mostly private. Worst part about teaching in Prague is the split-shifts. You may have a lesson at 7 a.m. then 12 p.m. then 6 p.m. It's tough but you get used to it. Qualifications are generally a Bachelors and a TEFL cert..

3. Rent is the worst part about living Prague. You can share a place for 5-9,000. Single for 9+. To answer that question about cheaper rent for locals this is generally true. After the revolution they put a freeze on rent so if you were living somewhere you got to keep that rent. Even till now. So there are some who are paying 1000 kr for a 20,000 kr apartment. As for the rest, foreigners generally pay more because those few owners who are comfortable speaking English know they can get that much. Foreigners are only paying that much because they can't speak the language and they're too lazy to really look on their own. I picked up a local classified, texted the owners and asked if they spoke English (in Czech, of course--about all I know), found one who spoke a little broken English, and ended up with a sweet 2 bedroom in a landmark across from the castle for cheaper than what Czechs are paying. Anyway, for disposable income, you won't have much of it but still enough to give your liver some problems.

4. Red flags: Definitely watch for the pickpockets. I grew up in Chicago and tended to look down on victims of pickpockets for being so absent-minded but, man, it's like an artform in Prague. A personal poll would guess about 1 in 3 falls victim (Czechs and myself included).

5. And I brought maybe about $1700 with me (don't bring it with you, of course, use an atm) and by the time I was settled in my place with a job, I was broke and waiting for a paycheck. And mind you, I wasn't really partying. Figure rent for the month while you're on the course, and then if you decide to stay, rent + security deposit, phone, etc. But if you're hard up, you can eat for $10/week.

Anyway, this is long enough. P.M. me if you have any other questions, I'd be glad to help. But honestly it is a bit of a tough decision right now going to Prague. You're (just like I was) catching the tail end of what was once a really great place to live in. Rent's gone way too high and pay has barely moved an inch. A beer used to be about a quarter at the bar and now it's about a dollar. And there are way too many foreigners and tourists. But I do miss the people (especially the girls who are probably amongst the most beautiful in the world). Czechs can be hard sometimes but they're mostly very nice people. You can try a small town, like I did for a couple of months, but pay goes down with the cheaper rent.

Anyway, good luck to you.
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go with the flow

Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife and I spent our first year abroad teaching in Prague and loved the city. Yes, there are tons of tourists, but only in the touristy areas. Get beyond that and you'll find many 'normal' people, both surly and not. The city is a living architecture gallery (OK you don't have to remind me about panelaks - they are horrible) and there are many galleries, concerts, and museums if you're interested.
And you can venture into the tourist areas in off season (like the Christmas and Easter markets) and find relatively fewer gawkers and more Czechs.
The money is not great if you want to do more than just live. We dipped into our pensions and savings to travel around CR and the neighbouring countries but we don't regret a $ of it.
For us, Prague was a wonderful experience and my friends may have gotten tired of us raving on about it.
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Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 342
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an American I found it difficult to gain legal employment, as opposed to Britons. Many job adverts list their preference for an EU passport holder; it's simply easier for the employer. Private teaching often involves countless hours commuting from one client to the next. The headaches are huge once you do land a position with a school. Plan on a month or two to go through the visa process. Some schools will probably let you work as long as things are being processed and if they know you will eventually have your work visa.
That being said, Prague is not as cheap as it once was, and it is easy to delete your reserves if you don't have money coming in. A recent study found Prague to be the 28th most expensive city for expats. If you come as a tourist it's inexpensive, but if you come to work it can be difficult. The average pay for a typical Prager is anywhere between 12,000 and 24,000kc/mo., and as a foreign English teacher working 40hours a week one can also plan on making that much. The difficulty for many expats, however, is that they have to reserve between 5,000 and 12,000kc/mo. for rent (depending on shared apartment or private), whereas many Pragers own their flats.
Let's do some math, shall we.
Base pay (high end): 20,000kc/mo.
Take home: 15,000kc/mo.
Rent (shared flat) - 6,000kc/mo.
Phone card - 400kc/mo.
Food (including eating out) - 5,000kc/mo.
Entertainment (+internet) - 2,000kc/mo.
Transportation - 400kc/mo.

Savings = 1,200kc/mo. (Currency conversion=$50.00USD)

Keep in mind this is living a modest lifestyle on a good salary. You can do it for less of course, or you can spend a lot more.

If you love the Czech Republic (and these days I don't necessarily consider Prague to be the essence of the Czech republic), head to smaller cities, like Olomouc, where the cost of living is lower, the people are friendlier, and the beer, amazingly, can still be had for 10kc.
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