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Can I just show up??
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Knight



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:05 am    Post subject: Can I just show up?? Reply with quote

Hello all. This is my second post (from Korea.)

I am Canadian (no E.U. pasport.) I am mature and well travelled, and easily adapt to new places. Culture shock is of no concern. (It's kind of exciting.) I realize it's a whole new culture, and that's why I want to come.

I'm very interested in Prague. This winter I took my CELTA in Bangkok (at IH). I have twelve years teaching experience and excellent letters of reference from all my schools. I am a serious teacher (please no jokes) in Korea. Some of us teach. I teach everything, not just texts and grammar (pronunciation, stress, rhythm, etc.). I have often been praised for the wonderful rapport I build with my students.

Is it realistic to just show up this summer and knock on doors? Or, would you strongly advise taking a job before arriving in the Czech Republic?

I have enough money to cover myself, if needed. I don't have any debts, and live simply. I'm not timid or naive. I'd actually like to meet potential employers, face to face, before I sign on to anything.

I trust you living there are the experts. (Just as I know about Korea,) Perhaps my biggest concern is if it is OK to just show up, for visa and immigration reasons.

PS Other than Dave's, can anyone supply some of the better website addresses with job postings in CZ Republic, please, please? Thank you. (At least I can have a good look around.)
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9130
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, the norm in Europe as a whole, and the Czech Rep is no exception, IS to show up. Most reputable employers don't hire from abroad - they've been burned over the years by candidates who don't show up, or who prove to be less than professional and responsible when they do.
I realize this is in contrast to most of Asia.

The regular contract period is Sept-June. Ideally, get to the city sometime mid to late August. With a professional look and your CV in hand, you'll be far more likely to land something decent in person.

As for rapport, well, you'll find Czechs quite a bit more reserved than the students you're used to. However, you seem to be aware of cultural differences, and I expect you'll adapt quickly.

On the issue of legality, you will need to apply for working papers asap. However, you'll need a job first:) You have 90 days inside the Schengen zone (CR is a member, you can google the entire list) 'free.' You must apply for legal papers before this time period is up. There's a thread somewhere below (I'll bump it up for you) that describes the current process - though changes are possible!!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9130
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, I don't find it. Sorry. One word of advice: be sure you sign on with a school that will give you support in getting legal working papers. Any other approach can lead into muddy waters.

Also, just to be up front about my bona fides: I haven't lived in Prague for some years, though my spouse is Czech and we have a flat in a small town outside the city,where I spend about half of each year.

However, I have long-term ties in the city and with the teaching scene there, including a good friend who has owned a language school there for 16 years now. Other friends run one of the training centres in the city. In the past, I worked for one language school in Prague, and two teacher training centres. I'm often in the city, and do keep in touch with the job/hiring scene there.
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Knight



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Spiral. That's very helpful to me.
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ITTP



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 343
Location: Prague/Worldwide

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Knight.

Yes, turning up and looking for work is best.
The main reason for this is because schools which advertise abroad often offer lower rates than offered locally. Also, teaching for a school isn't just about money and contract conditions; it's also about the people and the feel of the school.

Teaching positions are available all year, with September/October and January being the main hiring times. august is snail paced but summer camp positions are often available to the early birds who snap them up in June/July.

You can stick around in August and pick up intensive classes or substitute classes but my advice is to take the month off if you can and travel.

Hezky vecer!/Lovely evening!

Neville Smile

ITTP Prague
Jungmannova 32
Prague 1
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Knight



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks ITTP. What you just outlined was kind of what I had in mind, but then I wondered if that was wise. It seems it's OK. I haven't been to Europe for 20 years, so I plan to buy a Eurail pass and see some things. My contract (and visa) are up, here, July 31.

(I've been doing my travelling in Asia while I have lived here. So much to see!!!! Leaving Asia will be very difficult. I know I'll return. But, I'm tired of Seoul, at least for now.)

I guess my next mission is accommodations. Is it realistic I can find a (cheap) wee hovel in the city centre? Anyone?? I'm used to Asian-sized pads. I need running water, a heater and a cooker. (I live in a shoebox now-- Asian city life.)
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9130
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Housing's not cheap in Prague, including wee hovels. While you might get lucky and find something that's still rent-controlled (very rare these days), you're more likely to have to pay 8,000+ for a flat on your own ( a substantial percentage of an average net salary). You may opt to flat-share - many newbie teachers in Prague do. This helps your salary go much further, obviously. Housing's been somewhat problematic on a teacher's wage for a long time.
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ITTP



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 343
Location: Prague/Worldwide

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Knight wrote:
Thanks ITTP. What you just outlined was kind of what I had in mind, but then I wondered if that was wise. It seems it's OK. I haven't been to Europe for 20 years, so I plan to buy a Eurail pass and see some things. My contract (and visa) are up, here, July 31.

(I've been doing my travelling in Asia while I have lived here. So much to see!!!! Leaving Asia will be very difficult. I know I'll return. But, I'm tired of Seoul, at least for now.)

I guess my next mission is accommodations. Is it realistic I can find a (cheap) wee hovel in the city centre? Anyone?? I'm used to Asian-sized pads. I need running water, a heater and a cooker. (I live in a shoebox now-- Asian city life.)


Hi Knight.

Accommodation is a real gray area.
When I was teaching full-time I managed to find a lovely little (and little it was), attic apartment right by IP Pavlova - 8,500 CZK per month including bills. I don't think I could find the same place today for the same money.
It really depends on what you consider as being the 'center' and really the rest is just down to luck.
Accommodation tends to be the biggest expense for teachers and its made more complicated with almost every new arrival wanting to live in Prague 1.
My advice is to try for a place in Vinohrady or Dejvicka.
Both are 5-10 minute rides on the metro to the center and are considerably cheaper than renting in Prague 1, plus you don't get the tourist traffic.
My advice is to share with other teachers as this will reduce the cost of rent and mean that you can live in a better apartment than if you rented alone.
One link which I swear by is:
http://www.spolubydlici.cz
It's an apartment sharing website and the advantage of this site is that you also get the opportunity of sharing with locals, who can show you where locals eat and drink, etc.
NEVER arrange accommodation from abroad.
ALWAYS arrive and see for yourself.
The following site is good if you have a Czech friend to translate for you:
http://www.sreality.cz/ (is also in English but not all offers are on the English version of the site).
Other options are posting on local expat forums but these will inevitably be for shared apartments. If you want your own apartment in the center then I would recommend offering language exchange; you teach English and he or she helps you find a cheap place to live Smile
For interim accommodation the Boathouse comes highly recommended:
http://www.hostelboathouse.com/ (far out of the center but comes highly recommended and is safe and secure).

The rail pass would be an option for 'Old Europe' but for 'New Europe' I would just plan on buying single tickets because, even though train fares are increasing, the cost of train travel is still very affordable.
You might also want to take into consideration the option of just flying with one of the many discount airlines which are clogging up the skies here:
http://www.airninja.com/
Also, whilst you should be aware of the potential dangers of hitching, I have nonetheless hitched throughout Europe without incident and for me France and Germany are the best options for this.
Or, pre-arranged hitching:
http://www.spolujizda.cz

So, I would chill in S.Korea and just focus on getting money saved up and then sweat it upon arrival.

Hope it helps!

Neville Smile

ITTP Prague
Jungmannova 32
Prague 1
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Knight



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, thank you ITTP. Both you and Spiral have been a great help. I love the idea of iterim digs. I was hoping to find something that I can take by the week, or month, until I find my own little pad (shared or not.) I've stayed in the Japanese Capsules, so I can stay anywhere.

[Centre means nowhere near the burbs. Will check out the websites you posted.]

I am very calm and patient, and pleasantly persistent. I chose Prague and plan to make it work. Money is rarely my first consideration, if even at all. I'm more of a vibes-type-guy.

No. I am not rich, but have saved some loot. Enough that I won't arrive desperate and grabbing at whatever comes along first.

It's kind of a big move after 12 years. I'm all snug and set up here in Seoul, but I need a change. I hope to make a similar nook there.

Chilling is what I'm best at, so I'll take your advice. Spring has arrived here and I'm off next week. Lots of tme to do research.

My next question (for anyone) is where are the popular expat hangouts? There's no better way to learn about your new surroundings than from some expats. I've helped tons of people that have arrived in Seoul.
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ITTP



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 343
Location: Prague/Worldwide

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll start the ball rolling Knight...

1st and foremost, in Spring and Summer I recommend the beer gardens on Letna Park and Riegrovy Sady.

Close to Riegrovy Sady you can head to Palac Akropolis if you get tired of the grilled sausage park scene:
http://www.palacakropolis.cz/
Borivojova Street is a GREAT street for cheap pubs and restaurants and here you can find the Clown And Bard hostel (which also have longer term rooms for rent) :
http://www.clownandbard.com/
Along the street from the Bard you have a wonderful little restaurant (also with beer garden) :
U Hudku
Borivojova 110 P3 Zizkov
Tram 5, 9, 26 Husinecka

For Prague 1 hanging out I really like Casa Blu:
http://www.lacasablu.cz/

A lot of our trainees also like Chapeau Rouge:
http://www.chapeaurouge.cz/en/

Every week ITTP has a meeting for clients past, current and future:
http://www.kavarnavelryba.cz/

Having been in Prague now though for 14 years I find a wonderful and reassuring calmness in roaming university cafes and occasionally popping into a friend's opening or one of the last remaining authentic Czech local pubs left in the center.

Lastly, Louvre has (in my opinion) ok-ish food, terrible service and an excellent atmosphere:
http://www.cafelouvre.cz/en/

Radost does a pretty decent job at vegetarian dishes and combines a bar and club with music and video outlet:
http://www.radostfx.cz/

But hey, I'm 37 and have a wonderful daughter so my socializing days are over alas Smile
When I have a bit of time to unwind I almost always head out to the country, just 50 km from Prague, to perhaps the best kept secret of all (and that's the way it's going to stay Smile ).
Enjoy and looking forward to other contributions!

Neville Smile

ITTP Prague
Jungmannova 32
Prague 1
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Arab Strap



Joined: 25 Feb 2004
Posts: 247
Location: under your bed

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.......you forgot to add that the best thing about Prague is the train to Brno!

Knight, why confine your experience to the capital?

There's more, a lot more to the Czech Rep and certainly a lot more 'bohemian' to be found outside Bohemia.
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Knight



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're (all) certainly making my plans seem more real with all these posts. Till now it's just been (more of) an idea. Thanks again.

When I arrive, I will be on vacation. As I will arrive in Prague (most likely), first I'll scope it out. If my heart sings, I'll stay. If not I'll start looking elsewhere. I am not limiting myself to the capital, but as I don't know the country, it's a good place to start. Once I get a feel for Eastern European life, things might change. (See, I've also considered other countries too.) And, I've kind of gotten used to Asian mega-cities (Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Bangkok, Hong Kong, etc.) and crowds. (I found NYC a bit quiet when I visited.) Call me weird, but it seems to be true. Toronto/Vancouver seem like "hamlets" to me now, and very quiet. Yet, I also love the countryside, just don't like the burbs.

A big part of this whole move is about seeking art, beauty and culture, in a gorgeous setting. The Asian mega-cities can't compare on these levels. They're very funky, but not Europe. I need a dose of Europe. I want lots of people around and things going on. That usually means the capital.

By the way, I very much enjoy teaching and teaching ESL (in case anyone was wondering). I do plan to be a serious worker. I'm one of those driven types when I pursue something. In my spare time though... there's life to be lived and experiences to be had.

I chose Prague because I know it is a gem. I'm also a European History major and dig seeing places I have studied. I'll want to vist Berlin, Warsaw, Kiev and St. Petersburg too. When I was last in Europe, there was still an Iron Curtain. (Imagine.) You needed a visa to enter West Berlin from Western Europe.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9130
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget that 90-day limit on your time in the Schengen zone, as you consider travelling around to find the 'perfect' European city! You'll need to land a reasonable job with a school that will help you file for legal working papers before your time runs out...
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johnnyappleseed



Joined: 26 Jun 2007
Posts: 84
Location: Vsetin Czech Republic

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now wait. The visa process can take up to four months. So if you apply in Europe your time allowed in the Schengen Zone will be up before the visa is completed, right? Or do they make exceptions for people if they have a visa pending?
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ITTP



Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 343
Location: Prague/Worldwide

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Don't forget that 90-day limit on your time in the Schengen zone, as you consider travelling around to find the 'perfect' European city! You'll need to land a reasonable job with a school that will help you file for legal working papers before your time runs out...


Good point there Spiral.

Knight, you could manage it time-wise by traveling for 2-3 weeks and then using the 4th week of your 1st month in the zone by applying for jobs, interviewing, etc.

The other way round would be to arrive and get the work set up first and then head off for a couple of weeks.

So, either arrive early August and do the 2-3 weeks of traveling and then get your head down for work, or arrive late August and get a job lined up to begin mid-late September.

Btw, ITTP will be starting lots of new language courses from September so feel free to get in touch with us late August to see if we have positions available (our grads get first dibs) :
info@tefl-prague.com
web@tefl-tesol-online.com

Neville Smile

ITTP Prague
Jungmannova 32
Prague 1
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