Living in the Czech

by Female Abroad

Not many people think about living in the place they are travelling at that moment in time but what if you decided that the Czech Republic is the place for you? After spending time there with the locals and coming back to Canada where I had a few Czech colleagues I thought that it might be an interesting adventure so I started to look into it more. Plus with it being ranked as the sixth safest place on earth in 2016 (by the Global Peace Index) it certainly has changed since I visited so that makes it even more interesting.

First things first, if I worked there then what could I expect to make since I would have to support myself. I found that the average monthly salary is 26,287 CZK (about CAD 1,600) and if I worked in Prague then I'd make about 30% more. I also heard that being seen as "American" I would probably be overcharged as the assumption that I have or make more will be hanging over my head. Assuming I'm not going to be charged additional costs, comparing it to living in Vancouver, that didn't seem like a lot of money to make in a month so the next thing to look at was living expenses. If I'm only making CAD 1,600 a month then rent must be cheap right?

If I was wanting to stay in one of the Prague municipalities I'd be looking at about 18,000 CZK a month for a one bedroom apartment/flat + 1,000 CZK for utilities which would mean roughly half of my earnings would go straight into accommodation. There is the chance to save some money by moving into a smaller town (the rent is cut in half) but what are my chances of getting a job?

After digging into culture and jobs it looks like there are a lot of muli-national businesses / corporations so it shouldn't be too difficult and there has been a large shift from the communism style of running things to a more Western aligned atmosphere except that the Czechs are probably closer to us Canadians in their politeness and non-confrontational attitudes than the Americans. The biggest hint I was given was that if I'm going to be speaking English a lot of the time then people would prefer me to send emails as this gives them a chance to translate the message and prevent any unclear communication. Working there sounds pretty on par but if I'm not making much then I wanted to know what my benefits might be. 40 hour work weeks are expected with roughly 20 holidays a year and 11 public holidays except if one of these holidays falls on a weekend I don't get a day in lieu if I'm not working. Some companies do provide health benefits but the majority of people pay into the public health insurance through monthly payments (like MSP) which covers the basics just like the Canadian system. If you want everything else covered (prescriptions, dental, etc) then your workplace can deduct a monthly cost from your pay cheques.

With just the basics covered, next I was wondering how difficult it would be to actually be allowed to move there. Without my EU citizenship I would have to obtain a visa for a 90 day stay. Upon arrival in the country I would register with the Alien and Border Police within the month of moving there which would allow me to obtain a work permit at the local employment office (unless provided by my employer). Once I have all of my papers and ID's I have to make sure to carry them with me as the police can check me at anytime.

Doesn't actually seem too difficult really. Maybe I should think about this harder... After all if my husband and I both work then CAD 800/month for rent is a steal compared to Vancouver!