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What is your favorite neighbornood in Prague?

 
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jasonXkeller



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 14
Location: Redlands, California USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:27 am    Post subject: What is your favorite neighbornood in Prague? Reply with quote

My wife and I have just paid to reserve spots for the July 5 class at TEFL Worldwide. We are determined to stay and work despite apparent difficulties mentioned in other posts. For those who have lived or currently live in Prague, what is your favorite neighborhood and why?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats. I think you'll enjoy the TEFL W. course - it's got a reputation for being well-done, I believe.

As for neighborhoods, the school is located in Vysočany, one of the Prague neighborhoods where I used to live. I liked it, but it's a bit industrial in parts. However, be sure to check out the little park across from the hospital on the tram lines.

I lived in a trendy part of žiskov and I guess that's my favorite neighborhood for living, based on personal experience. However, I have friends in the nusle valley - also very nice. I also lived briefly on Celetna, right off the Old Town Square, but I have to say that, while living in the centre is beautiful, it's not peaceful.

Basically, so long as you're near a main tram or metro line, the entire city's accessible.

On another note: I imagine you're aware that you have got a race against time if you plan to stay in the Czech Rep - or anywhere in the Schengen zone for that matter (google the zone for a list of countries).

The thing is that you will have 90 days legally inside the zone from the day you arrive. After 90 days have passed (end of September for you?) you must either have legal working papers, have filed for them, OR leave the entire zone for at least 90 days. A simple border run no longer suffices to keep you legal.

90 days should be enough time to complete a course and get a job - the problem is that most schools are closed in August and you may not be able to line somthing up until early September, making filing the paperwork a breathless and stressful race to the wire. It's also a bit more challenging that there are two of you - you MUST find schools right away to take each or both of you, willing to handle the paperwork on your behalf, and all in a very narrow window of time.

My suggestion would be to try to contact a few schools in advance, and try to arrange interviews for August, or the first of September at the latest. They won't be likely to want to give you real job interviews sight-unseen, but anything you can possibly set up in advance will help later on.

Anyway, enjoy and good luck!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry - one more word on the neighborhood thing.

There are really lots of nice neighborhoods in Prague. Rather than trying to narrow down where you think you would want to live before you arrive, you might consider just waiting to find out where your employer is located, and where you can find assistance to line up a reasonable flat. You'll need assistance to navigate contracts, landladies, and etc in any case.

Flexibility in terms of neighborhoods and locations will pay off. It's not really like many large US cities, where there are some neighborhoods that are great, some good, and some direly awful. Most Prague neighborhoods are much more equal than they are unequal.
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jasonXkeller



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 14
Location: Redlands, California USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice. I've been reading your posts for quite a while. I am aware of the Schengen zone issue. It's ironic that my choice of date might be a problem. I new the main hiring season was in September. I chose the July class because I thought the August session was cutting it too close. Now, it seems I am cutting it close, not for hiring, but for visas.

If it were possible, do you think it would be worthwhile to transfer to the August course? It's still a little ways off, and at best the transfer fee would be around 100 euro/each. As you said, there are two of us. While I might be willing to endure quite a bit of difficulty, I would not like to subject my wife to any more than necessary. I certainly would not want to set us up for failure after all the planning and saving.

This change would actually help us on the front end as well, because I don't graduate until June 20th. One other question that might help put me at ease. Suppose we are able to find work and start the visa process in September. Will we be granted an extension to see the process through, or must we leave regardless, if it is not completed? It's my understanding that it is nearly impossible to get a visa processed in under 90 days regardless.

If the change itself turns out to be a problem or not possible, I will certainly contact schools in advance to attempt some August interviews. I'm not sure how willing they will be without TEFL certificate in hand, but I can try. We both will have bachelor degrees; mine in English, hers in education. I thought that would be a killer combination, but I'm aware of the current job market, so who knows. If all else fails, we'll come home and return to the old drawing board.

I appreciate your help so far. I've seen the gripes that you are a bit doom and gloom. I don't see it that way at all. It's realistic. I want to know what I'm going to be up against. Sugar coating reality doesn't help anyone. Thanks.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jason, thanks. I truly don't want to be overly negative. The thing is that I've been around for a few years now (12+ and counting) and I've seen a few scary crash-and-burn situtations. This has made me think that it's REALLY important to have realistic plans and expectations. Hopefully All Will Go Well - it mostly does, but when you're far from home, a little bad luck can go a long way.

Yes. If you can transfer to the August course, I suggest you do so. The thing is that most schools and the connected managers will be un-contactable in August. It's really basically a dead month in terms of networking.

So far as extending the tourist visa - nope, not that I know of. The good news is that, in most cases, so long as paperwork HAS BEEN FILED on a work visa, the authorities generally are lenient, even if you are technically over the 90 days allowed before it's all competed. You're right that it's near-impossible to do it all in the time period, but if everything's properly filed, you are unlikely to have serious problems. No guarantees, but it should be ok.

Finally a BA in English won't give you an edge. Knowing the language doesn't mean that you can convey it. A BA in Education is a bit more closely related, but teaching English as a second or foreign language is a field in itself, with many years and vast amounts of research specific to it. A few of the worst teachers I've ever worked with or encountered as trainees were established English or other core subject teachers...the approaches and methodology simply vary tremendously between the fields.

I myself have a (very old) BA Education. Useless in this field. Totally.

However, I still think that you and your wife have a decent shot at whatever 'good' newbie-level positions will be going in September 2010. I'll be interested to know how the job market in Prague is going in general over the calendar year. Hopefully stronger than in 2009. However, please note that the newbs who did NOT find work in 2009 started job hunting in November, never a salubrious time of year!
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parrothead



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 342
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are loads of lovely neighborhoods in Prague. Rent is much cheaper outside the city center. I love Vinohrady, but it can break the bank. It's hard to enjoy yourself if you are always worried about having enough money to pay the rent. The constant money woes really ruined an otherwise good relationship with my girlfriend at the time.
If I were to return, I'd probably look at something in Zizkov, Dejvicka or Vysehrad, but I'd really look around and consider flatmates. The public transit system is so good however you wouldn't need to be that close to Prague 1 or 2 to enjoy what the city has to offer.
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mr tree



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 112
Location: Prague, CzR

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to echo others, you really can't go far wrong. in fact, going for Prague 1 is probably the biggest mistakes newbies make - there's no benefit (there may even be a drawback, as spirl mentioned, in the chaos that the mass tourism brings), and it's much more expensive. we've just been flat-hunting and an unhelpful estate agent tried to foist his Prague 1 shoeboxes onto us like we were inexperienced newbies. we told him where to stick it.

we ended up in north Zizkov (Prague 3) with some great connections (5 trams, a bus, and 5 mins to two metro stations). that's after 2 years living in Letna/Holesovice (Prague 7), which is often overlooked by inexperienced expats but you do find a few long-term people living up here.

Vinohrady's very popular (Prague 2), with the downside being that prices have been driven up. Dejvicka (Prague 6) tends to be underrated imho, and the Andel area is improving (Prague 5). We were also looking around Vrsovice (Prague 10) because of work - it's a bit further out but it could be useful, and it's a good value area.

ask the school if they work in cooperation with any real estate agents, that could be a big help. my girlfriend's did and we got a 50% discount on the broker fee, as well as a lovely flat. otherwise, expats.cz is probably the best place.

and finally, i absolutely agree that the August course would be much better than the July one
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mr tree



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 112
Location: Prague, CzR

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and i forgot, final point, i'd just try to make sure you're near a public transport connection. tram or metro if possible - buses suck!
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smithryansmith



Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prague 7 is nice. has a good atmosphere. and no tourists!
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jasonXkeller



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 14
Location: Redlands, California USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prague 7 sounds like my kind of place!

And thank you to Spiral for the advice about the July to August change. It is done. No charge. No problem.

Thanks to Mr Tree Smithryansmith and parrothead for the advice as well. It's very helpful.

Another thing for Spiral. I do understand that my BA in English does not predicate an ability to teach English per se, but my concentration was Creative Writing AND Linguistics until last quarter. I dropped the last few linguistics classes to graduate early (perhaps not the best decision in hindsight) but I have taken classes in Child Language Acquisition and Adult Language Learning. If nothing else, I think the prior knowledge of the theories will help me weed out schools with practices that are believed to be ineffective to the broader ESL community.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9436
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If nothing else, I think the prior knowledge of the theories will help me weed out schools with practices that are believed to be ineffective to the broader ESL community.

Other than the usual suspects (Berlitz comes swiftly and easily to mind) approaches and methods to language teaching in the Prague job market are pretty much of a piece. A decent school should have a decent library of published textbooks that at least roughly relate to the needs of your students. Innovation is usually encouraged but time for it is limited. Your classes will essentially be expected to be more learner-centred than teacher-centred (don't picture yourself standing before a class, but sitting at a table with it, in most cases). Otherwise, it's essentially up to the teachers - and as their education in the field is minimal, so are the pedagogical demands of schools and students, frankly.

In any case, you'll be a good candidate for all the entry level jobs going, I think, and you may be able to find some nicer (and more professionally challenging and rewarding) niches in second/third years if you want to stick with the work and the city.
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anglicaninpraha



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 18
Location: Praha

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For my partner and I it has to be P2.
Gay-friendly and funky nightlife.
Not so expensive either but only as long as you share (!)
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smithryansmith



Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="jasonXkeller"]Prague 7 sounds like my kind of place!

And thank you to Spiral for the advice about the July to August change. It is done. No charge. No problem.

Id have been surprised if theyd have charged you this far in advance
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jasonXkeller



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 14
Location: Redlands, California USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was hopeful but by the letter they have a fee to change dates once you've made a deposit, so I'm grateful for their concession.
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ovie



Joined: 26 May 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in Vinohrady and loved it
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