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Tips for Getting Your First Job in the City
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An ESL job is possible in the Czech Republic? Shocked

I thought Europe was off-limits for non-EU citizens.

The Czech Republic is now on my list.

First, Asia. Then, Europe.

Check!

Smile
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 320
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Americans can find jobs in CR, but it's difficult. Nine times out of ten you need to be in the country to get a job, and if you're flexible, you should arrive in late August.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9438
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'll need an on-site cert (because 95% of newbies on this job market have one), and if you're serious about the Czech Rep, it's probably advisable to get one in Prague. There are quite a few good on-site courses in the city.

You'll have start-up costs - you need to plan to get yourself here, and to support yourself until your first paycheck. Housing is relatively expensive: you can count on 30-50% of your net pay for this - and you'll probably need to pay for the first month up front, a month's rent as security, and possibly the equivalent of a month's rent to an agent.

Wages are very basic - if you are successful at landing a job where the employer will give you a full schedule and help you with visa applications - good - and you should make enough to live on and enjoy the city, but not to save up much or pay off debt back home. Travel around the CR is do-able, and if you're frugal you may save up enough for one or two trips in other countries, but it's tough here to save much.
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
You'll need an on-site cert (because 95% of newbies on this job market have one), and if you're serious about the Czech Rep, it's probably advisable to get one in Prague. There are quite a few good on-site courses in the city.

You'll have start-up costs - you need to plan to get yourself here, and to support yourself until your first paycheck. Housing is relatively expensive: you can count on 30-50% of your net pay for this - and you'll probably need to pay for the first month up front, a month's rent as security, and possibly the equivalent of a month's rent to an agent.

Wages are very basic - if you are successful at landing a job where the employer will give you a full schedule and help you with visa applications - good - and you should make enough to live on and enjoy the city, but not to save up much or pay off debt back home. Travel around the CR is do-able, and if you're frugal you may save up enough for one or two trips in other countries, but it's tough here to save much.


On-site cert? Expensive housing?

On second thought....

Shocked
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maastricht



Joined: 11 Feb 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:


On-site cert? Expensive housing?

On second thought....

Shocked


Everything is relative, isn't it? I live on the east coast of the USA and housing in Prague looks cheap to me at the current exchange rates. Your location says California so maybe it's cheap for you too? I looked at the fees for major TEFL schools in Prague and they all looked cheap compared to the cost of education in the US.
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 320
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maastricht has a good point. Plus, you're going to have start-up costs no matter where you go. CR isn't alone in this regard.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9438
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

housing in Prague looks cheap to me at the current exchange rates

It's not a matter of dollars converted to Czech koruny. It's a matter of the percentage of your net wages that goes for housing. Unless you're coming with enough dollars to just live off those....
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maastricht



Joined: 11 Feb 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My advice is that with any financial risk, set your stop-loss point in advance. When you reach your stop-loss, you cut your losses and bail. Same principle you use when starting a business, trading stocks, or gambling at a casino.

Income and expenses are variable and can be unpredictable. In my opinion, it's fine to run a deficit as long as you haven't reached your stop-loss. New businesses often run deficits at the beginning, as do stock traders and professional gamblers. If losing your start-up capital is going to make you cry, don't put it at risk in the first place. Try for something like JET Program instead, where the government eats most of the risk.

When looking at the worst case scenario (no income), I think you can survive longer in Prague than in NYC or Tokyo, but not as long as other places (Bangkok, Cairo?). So you have more or less time before reaching your stop-loss compared to other cities.

With CR, there seems to be a stop-loss built into the new visa laws. My understanding is that when applying for the D visa (based on zivno), they will want to see that you have sufficient start-up capital. The new initial D visa is only six months, so to get a renewal I think you have to show sufficient income (I have to check the text of the laws again, but I think it's "sufficient and regular income.") So from what I can tell if you are flat broke during these two critical visa points you may be shown the door. In effect the Czech government is stop-lossing for you.
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'll go to Asia.

Europe later. Maybe.

Confused
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9438
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When looking at the worst case scenario (no income), I think you can survive longer in Prague than in NYC or Tokyo, but not as long as other places (Bangkok, Cairo?). So you have more or less time before reaching your stop-loss compared to other cities.

Keep in mind that you only have 90 days on a tourist visa in any case. If you are going for an employer-sponsored visa, that's an automatic stop - if you have no employer, you'll have no visa, and legally must leave the Schengen zone 90 days after arrival (and stay gone for 90 days).

If you apply for a zivno, your other scenario above applies.

In a nutshell, yeah, it's likely that most newbies lose a bit in year one or possibly break even in terms of wages/start-up costs.
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maastricht



Joined: 11 Feb 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an American, I wasn't even going to try for a work permit. I am thinking "zivno or bust." Maybe a school would sponsor me but I am not counting on it.

Still, I don't think the situation is that bad in CR. In contrast, I have read the UAE forum posts; the people there seem positive and upbeat but I have read elsewhere about the debtors' prisons and that some expats (from third world countries) are treated as slaves. It seems to me that if someone is financially unstable they should stay away from UAE at all costs. In CR, if you fail to pay your rent, do they throw you in a dungeon?

My point, spiral, is that the struggles of Americans in the CR have little to do with CR. It's just life. An 18 year old American might take out a $150k loan to attend a private US college and get a worthless degree and become a debt slave for the rest of his/her life. Or he/she can get a $5-6k loan to take a TEFL course in Prague and stay for 3 months. $5k is currently pocket change in America, especially for any kind of educational program that can actually get you some type of job. The risks an American takes in paying for a TEFL course and job searching for 3 months in Prague are pretty minimal and without serious consequences.
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mr tree



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

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maastricht wrote:
In CR, if you fail to pay your rent, do they throw you in a dungeon?


clearly you haven't met my landlord Sad Laughing
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9438
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The risks an American takes in paying for a TEFL course and job searching for 3 months in Prague are pretty minimal and without serious consequences.


I'm not trying to discourage Americans from trying out the job market in the city. You're right - the financlal risks are generally short-term and fairly low level. Worst-case scenario is USUALLY that one finds oneself bumming temporary housing from friends or co-workers.

The upfront costs that people may not take into account and probably should (perhaps I'm repeating here, but, well, ok)

1. Landlords usually want a month's rent as security and the first month up front. One may also have to pay the equivalent of a month's rent to an agent.
2. Schools usually pay monthly - at the end of the month worked, so expect a lag time before pay starts.
3. Initial expenses such as travel passes are something to consider - though if you find a full time employer who is sending you across the city to work, they should pay for your pass as a part of the employment package.

I've probably forgot important stuff, but there will obviously be a lot of miscellaneous things as well.

Anyway, it's wise to have enough to fall back on, and to be sure one can always get home at need.
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maastricht



Joined: 11 Feb 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good advice. Maybe you know the answer to this question concerning leases. When a non-EU citizen first comes to CR on a C (Schengen) visa, his/her legal period is 3 months. In order to apply for a D Visa one needs a lease or the equivalent.

So during the Schengen period is it better to get a 1 year lease, use it to apply for a D visa, and then break it if the visa is denied (or negotiate a sublease clause)? Or is it better to get a short-term lease (say 3 months) and try to apply for the D visa with this short-term lease?

Also, is there a "business district" in Prague where most larger businesses are located? Would that be Prague 1 or in another district?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9438
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cannot speak for the current visa process (I'm not subject to it myself and am not currently involved in the newbie teaching scene in the city to this degree - I'm a civilian, not a school owner or a trainer).

I expect others will come along shortly with better/more info on this!

However, I can say that my experience is that landlords don't always want a lease, exactly. It can be more often a month-to-month thing, with at least 30 days notice required on your side (renter) to break. There is usually some legal document (in Czech) laying out renter's obligations. Assuming that you find a full time job at a school, they should assist you with this process. Many teachers flat-share to reduce costs - you usually get one bedroom in a two or three bedroom flat, with shared bath and kitchen.

Business district. Hmm. Many schools are somewhat concentrated in prestigious Prague 1, though there are many attractive areas outside the tourist centre. I worked for a school based in Skalka (you can google locations if you're interested, of course) and also Vinohrady. Because Prague's got very efficient public transit, it's not an issue to get around.
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