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Working as an expat

Moving to a new country can be a scary prospect, especially when you don’t know much about the culture. Sometimes, having someone to help you can be just what’s needed to make a big step in life a little bit easier.  Ronnie Powell, one such expat, from Houston, Texas, turned to Foreigners, a company offering a host of services specifically for expats, to help him get setup in his new home away from home.

Like Ronnie, most of the people Foreigners work with tend to be single, from across Europe or the US and relocate to Prague to reap the benefits of the capital’s record high in job vacancies.

As for Ronnie, he made the move to Czech Republic on Valentine’s Day this year, after deciding the time was right to start a new chapter in his life. Although it wasn’t his first visit to Europe, he had fallen in love with the continent while posted their in the military, he had no connections there.

“My previous job had a lot of pressure,” explains Ronnie. “Many people probably think it’s a bit of a crazy move, relocating from Houston to Prague, but it’s no big deal for me.”

After retiring from a 20 year career as a police officer, Ronnie came across teaching English overseas. After a little research, Ronnie decided on an intense month-long TEFL certification course. While the course was offered across the globe, Ronnie chose to carry it out in Prague, not only due to the course’s great reputation, but also because of the Czech capital’s great prospects. Prague currently has the highest job vacancy rate in the EU, and the biggest demand for English teachers. The proof in the pudding came when Ronnie received his certificate, with a job being offered to him the very same day. With the search for work being a simple task, the first challenge of his new life came in a more unexpected area.

The hardest task for Ronnie, as well as for the majority of expats, was finding a place to live in Prague. He had assumed apartment hunting would not be dissimilar to what he was used to in the US; a fairly easy process. However, after unsuccessfully trying to contact real estate agencies in the Czech capital, Ronnie reached out for help from Foreigners.

“When I contacted Foreigners, it was like boom,” he said. “Instant.”

Securing an apartment, meant Ronnie could get straight to work in his new career.

Being self-employed, Ronnie gets to set his own working hours and choose the number of students he teaches, letting him keep his work-life balance in check. Making the initial connection with a new student is the most challenging part of his job; trying to make a shy student feel comfortable and getting to know what interests them. Seeing each student progressing, on the other hand, is a hugely rewarding part of the job.

One from Ronnie’s photo collection – The Astronomical Clock, Old Town

Ronnie’s a big fan of his job and its flexibility, as well as the Czech people’s welcoming attitude. In Texas, Ronnie was used to seeing people smiling all day long, while hearing that over in Europe people were more cold and less trustful. He quickly realised, that the stereotypes weren’t so true after all. And with life in the Czech capital being just to Ronnie’s liking, he’s thinking of staying for a while.

“Prague’s central location means travelling around Europe is easy. So, I’ll stick around for a year or two, maybe even forever.” suggests Ronnie.

Are you thinking of finding work in the Czech Republic, or need some help finding accommodation? Reach out to Foreigners and download their job search e-book to make life as an expat that little bit easier.

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