Meeting People in Prague
Expats.cz looks at how to expand your social circle
Maybe you've just arrived in Prague or you've been here for several months, even a year or so, and you still really don't know anyone besides your flat mates. Time to open your eyes and ears to the world around you—you're in Prague and you need to take full advantage. Prague is the kind of city where people come and go on a daily basis, literally, some staying for a few days, some for a few years--some forever. The kinds of people you will meet in this enchanting city can change your life forever—or at least for a few weeks. So stop downloading unaired episodes of Dollhouse, get off your IKEA couch and start spreading your social butterfly wings!
· Put your dancing shoes on—or at least check out some second-hand shops by I.P. Pavlova or by Centrum Nový Smíchov for a pair. And this doesn't mean another 80s music video night at Lucerna. When you sign up for salsa lessons, you'll automatically be placed with a partner—there couldn't be an easier way to meet new people. Doesn't mean you'll become BFF, but it's a nice kick-start to your social life in Prague. Try Club Mánes at Masarykovo Nábřeži, or Palanca at the top of the old Kotva department store (you'll have to take a rickety lift to get there) by Náměsti Republiky.
· Muddum, Kostelní 24. Delve into your creative depths at this venue's various workshops, including pottery or drawing, conducted in English, Czech, French and Italian. Or simply chill out with other curious souls at the “info-cafe,” complete with board games, various fiction and nonfiction books and a hammock.
· Kavárna Potrvá, Srbksá 2. Although many of their theatre-based events are in Czech, you will certainly find that much of the young, easy-going and arts-inclined crowd at this Charles University theatre-student-run cafe speaks English.
· Duende, Karoliny Světlé 30. A cafe/bar frequented by students from the nearby school of architecture, with incredibly unique décor (almost but not quite to the point of being kitschy), friendly staff, and small but comfy tables and chairs arranged closely enough so that by the end of the night, you're bound to have made a handful of new friends.
· Start up a language exchange (tandem) with someone. Check out university bulletin boards and online classifieds for ads—you'll quickly find that there are many people out there looking for help in a wide variety of languages, not just English and Czech. Or, if you can't find the specific exchange you need, put up your own ad.
· Volunteer! An excellent way to participate for free in major events and festivals in Prague, or to help out local NGOs is to volunteer your time and skills. At the same time, you'll benefit too by meeting plenty of people who more than likely share your interests and passions for the same cause. Contact an NGO like People In Need or try various events throughout the year, like the annual Prague Writers Festival held each June.
· If you're a musician, join or start a band, or just find some jam sessions. It's as easy as replying to or placing an ad in the online classifieds. Bands come and go, but the people you'll meet might just turn out to be the beginning of an endless network of local musicians. Play a little something at an open mic (Red Room, Royal Oak, Hush, Globe, Brick Bar) and find yourself some new friends and new fans. Open mics usually also allow for poetry readings, spoken word, etc.
· If you're working with Czech people, make the move from colleagues to cohorts by agreeing to or suggesting outings after work or on weekends.
· Meeting people is really just a snowball effect—make one friend who introduces you to some other friends, who might each introduce you to a whole different group of people, and on and on. BUT, you've got to take initiative if you're not getting the invites that you seek. Get numbers, get emails, become friends on Facebook. If you agree to attend a concert or exhibition, don't flake out.
· Sign up for newsletters. Anytime you find yourself in a cafe, club, gallery or store, take their business card, stash the brochure/program/catalog in your pocket (you can always use them to make a kitschy collage or just recycle them later), or write down your email on their newsletter sign-up sheet. The more open you are to opportunities, the more you will find yourself on the receiving end of invitations to parties, gatherings, exhibitions, concerts and the like.
· If you see an interesting poster or flier, don't just walk on and say 'Oh, that's probably going to be interesting' and then never think about it again. Stop, write down the date and location info, and look it up online later. And most importantly--go there! By attending events and festivals that really excite you; you're more likely to find other people who are excited about the same things.
· CouchSurfing meetings and parties are a good way to connect with other travelers who are either passing through, have traveled in the past, or just enjoy hosting travelers in Prague. Sign up for a free profile on CouchSurfing.org to receive updates about local meetings and events. HospitalityClub.org is a similar organization, although maybe not as visible in Prague.
· Pay a visit to any of the language centers in town according to your favorite language--including the German Goethe-Institut, Spanish Instituto Cervantes, Institut Francais or the Centro de Lingua Portuguesa--for films, lectures, exhibitions, parties and more.
· Take a walk through “embassy village” of Bubeneč in Prague 6, and you'll find that some of the embassies have display cases right outside the gates with fliers detailing information about upcoming cultural events.
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