As capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is made up of about 2 million people. It is not hard to feel like a small fish in such a large pond. But having been in the city for only a few short weeks, I have learned few lessons when it comes to some basics of surviving in such an amazing place.
1. The Language
The Czech Republic has its own national language, rightfully called Czech. Deriving from the Slavic family, Czech can be a difficult language to learn, especially when thrown the letter R. This isn’t just any letter R, but one that contains an accent mark with a distinct sound (ř), unique to the Czech language. Thankfully, a large majority of the population under 30 knows some English. Some are more open to using it than others and many of the tourist spot attendants and restaurant workers will speak English. But if you are feeling bold, try out a few words, many of the people will commend you for trying.
Going along with the language, it can be a little tricky to find your way around a city where you don’t speak the language. From finding which tram number goes to the stop you want to deciding which direction to take the metro, it’s overwhelming especially if you are coming from a place where public transportation is not common. But as soon as you figure out the system you will be overcome with this feeling of self satisfaction and accomplishment because you conquered something huge.
3. The Food
Coming to Prague I was really nervous about the food. I am an extremely picky eater and typically stick to foods I know and love. But I was pleasantly surprised with what this incredible city had to offer. A large majority of the restaurants, especially in the Old Town area, have menus in multiple languages, including English. You can pick from dishes like Beef Goulash, Potato Soup, Fried Cheese (a personal favorite), and Schnitzel. Basically there is a little something for everyone. And you can’t forget about the unbelievable street food, both savory and sweet!
4. The People
One of the first things our teachers informed us about was that the Czech people are very reserved, especially when it comes to strangers. There is no exchange of smiles as you pass on the street, but upon meeting someone they were unbelievably friendly. Some will talk to you on the trams after hearing your English and others have been very helpful in offering directions when lost. But most importantly, they have been patient with you in lines while you scramble to find the right change in a foreign currency or attempt to speak Czech. But not only are you surrounded by locals but you will meet people from all over. Many people visit from all over and it can be exciting to see such a diverse grouping in a beautiful city.
The world awaits…discover it.