Older Expatriates?




I am considering a move to Prague. I am now 63 and a gay male. I'm not looking for the "gay scene" just wondering if I would be comfortable living in Prague. I have visited, and had a pleasant time. That however was just a visit. I am concerned about both my age, and my sexual preference. I like Prague for it's architecture and sights. Not particularly looking for any kind of "party" scene. Simply me and my pooch, taking photos and exploring the scenery. But it would be nice to have some friends as well!:)

17:55:37 11.10.2011 Kenny1948

There is one big question which is very important for those who are thinking about retirement life in the Czech republic or any other country with a different currency. This question is the future development of the exchange rates between the currency you have your income/pension in and the currency you are paying for your life expences. It could change in a very dramatic way within a couple of years or even decades. If you aren't prepare for that then it could be a problem. In the following charts you can see that the number of CZK you get for 1 USD or 1 GBP droped down for more then 50 % during within the last 10 years (the difference between the maximum and minimum). With 1 EUR the dropping was about 32 % only during the last 10 years. In any case it could make a big difference in your financial life and finacial happyness. CZK per 1 USD rate history for the last 10 years http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&to=CZK&view=10Y CZK per 1 EUR rate history for the last 10 years http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=EUR&to=CZK&view=10Y CZK per 1 GBP rate history for the last 10 years http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=GBP&to=CZK&view=10Y

11:03:23 13.10.2011 Yvan

Quote: Kenny1948I am considering a move to Prague. I am now 63 and a gay male. I'm not looking for the "gay scene" just wondering if I would be comfortable living in Prague. I have visited, and had a pleasant time. That however was just a visit. I am concerned about both my age, and my sexual preference. I like Prague for it's architecture and sights. Not particularly looking for any kind of "party" scene. Simply me and my pooch, taking photos and exploring the scenery. But it would be nice to have some friends as well!:)

im sure you´d have a great time, and find friends. There is a ´scene´for everyone.

11:47:22 13.10.2011 JIZEK

My limited experience here as a 53 year old man living alone (currently) is that the Czechs are a very accepting, if sometimes indifferent, people. As a gay man you might like Vinorhady but I'm sure there are other areas equally open to all lifestyles. The glow of being a tourist will fade but it will most likely be replaced by an appreciation for a very liveable city that will offer up more than its fair share of culture, food, festivities, and simple pleasures. For dogs this is the best city in the world as the Czechs simply adore their canines. Good luck.

22:47:23 13.10.2011 abirnbau

indeed vinohrady is the Gay capital area, but that doesn´t mean all Gay people want to live where all the gay clubs and bars are, thats not a scene for everyone, and you certainly don´t have to live around that just because you´re gay, funny how people assume ..... oh don´t get me started.......lol :-)

07:06:06 14.10.2011 JIZEK

I wonder why you think age or sexual preference would make any difference. To be frank I can't see why anyone would care about either. The only difference I could see is that maybe you are retired, in which case you don't have the issue of commuting to work, which actually then gives you more freedom on where to live and more time to enjoy the stuff you want to do. But Prague (IMO) is one of those places where just about anyone can be happy. enjoy...

16:44:02 14.10.2011 JKG

Vinohrady, AKA 'The Gaybourhood'.

17:17:32 14.10.2011 Builder Bewilder

Thanks for your feedback. FYI, yes I am already retired. I live off a combination of Social Security and savings. Neither is a huge sum. The reason I brought up my sexuality and age, is because where I live it makes a heck of a difference. Once you hit fifty around here, you become invisible. What friends I have here, I have known for at least fifteen years or so. Without anything to do, it can get pretty lonely. That is why I asked. Being in a place where the language etc is radically different. My short time there, was pleasant I must say. I found people to talk to and felt comfortable. As I said, I love the architecture. There are many beautiful buildings both to photograph and sketch. I do both.

05:26:04 16.10.2011 Kenny1948

Based on what you wrote about yourself I'm sure you can enjoy comfortable life in Prague. Regarding people: it depends very much on you own attitude - just remember Czechs do not engage in little chats, and are mostly indifferent to strangers. Do not expect friendly services with broad smile, nor "customer is always right": this is not something against foreigners, this is how it works here. Showing a bit restrained respect to anyone you deal with is I think what is considered the proper behaviour. Btw. upon arrival check bookstores for this dvd serie (it is by Czech public TV and the dvds have English subtitles): http://www.sumnamesta.cz/sumnyweb.html It presents various Czech regions and towns from architectonic (mostly modern architecture of last ~150 years) point of view. Good to get trip tips outside of Prague! One practical point: do you want to settle long term or permanently here? Then you have to solve the visa/long stay permisssions (if you are not a citizen of the European union)- and mandatory insurances etc. May not be the most straigthforward process.

12:01:24 16.10.2011 jezovec

What Jez says is true - you can't just expect to be able to settle here without some bureaucratic BS. If you were from another EU country, it would be a moot point, but you're not. You will have to apply for a residency permit, and justifying it might be a tad difficult. Most people come here to work, so they might not know what to do with a retiree when it comes to justifying income, insurance, etc.

08:12:32 17.10.2011 Jen

I guess where theres a will, theres a way.

10:41:41 17.10.2011 JIZEK

i see the gentleman is American in which case he should google 'shengen agreement'. in basic terms the op can spend 3months in shengen countries then must leave for 3 months before he can return for 3months and the cycle continues.

12:43:12 17.10.2011 musicsavedmylife2

In signing on to the shengen agreement weren't the Czechs supposed to have some sort of visa for retired persons with stable income? I believe it exisits in other shengen nations, Spain for example.

21:07:04 18.10.2011 RonninSB

Quote: jezovec just remember Czechs do not engage in little chats, and are mostly indifferent to strangers. Do not expect friendly services with broad smile, nor "customer is always right": this is not something against foreigners, this is how it works here.

I am in my mid 50's, but not gay, was here with my wife, so I can't comment on that part of your question. I moved to Prague in Jan of this year for work, and recently left to return to the US in October. My experience was that it was a pretty lonely place for non-Czech speaking people, particularly if you are trying to integrate with Czech society without speaking the language. What Jezovek as said above is really true. While Czechs seem pretty accepting, they are not very openly friendly, or welcoming to foreigners. We made friends with other expats (Brits, Canadians, Belgians, French) and some Croatians and Ukrainians, but only had a very passing relationship with any Czechs despite making a real effort to do so. I want to stress this to you because your original posting suggests that you are lonely here in the US, where people are generally more open and friendly than in the CR (this is my experience anyway). Prague is a beautiful and interesting place to live for sure, and you may have a great life there, but I would really think hard about expating there to resolve your loneliness issues. good luck, its never good to feel lonely.

03:08:24 01.11.2011 pfschim

Quote: RonninSBIn signing on to the shengen agreement weren't the Czechs supposed to have some sort of visa for retired persons with stable income?

No. Schengen works the other way: by mutual accepting entry documents of the other member states, not by imposing unified documents and rules. Which, btw. is the very base principle on which most of EU rules is based.

08:37:53 01.11.2011 jezovec

Quote: pfschimMy experience was that it was a pretty lonely place for non-Czech speaking people, particularly if you are trying to integrate with Czech society without speaking the language.

So make the effort and learn the language. It takes about a year to be at conversational level, especially if you are not living with an English speaker (which I would assume to be the OPs case) and during that year people will be really friendly wanting to help you learn the language. Czech's are very proud of their language, and give a lot of respect to people that bother to learn it.

Quote: pfschimWhat Jezovek as said above is really true. While Czechs seem pretty accepting, they are not very openly friendly, or welcoming to foreigners.

See my reply above ;)

10:40:46 01.11.2011 JKG

Quote: JKGSo make the effort and learn the language. It takes about a year to be at conversational level, especially if you are not living with an English speaker (which I would assume to be the OPs case) and during that year people will be really friendly wanting to help you learn the language. Czech's are very proud of their language, and give a lot of respect to people that bother to learn it.

I can´t argue with that- funny thing is, more people speak to me in English now, than when I only spoke English. I speak to them in Czech, they reply in English, strange as it seems, it seems to work that way, possibly before they were embarrased to try their English, but with me speaking ´oh so not´ perfect Czech, they seem much more relaxed at speaking to me with their English (which is usually far better than my Czech) ;)

15:34:45 01.11.2011 JIZEK

Quote: JKGSo make the effort and learn the language. It takes about a year to be at conversational level, especially if you are not living with an English speaker (which I would assume to be the OPs case) and during that year people will be really friendly wanting to help you learn the language. Czech's are very proud of their language, and give a lot of respect to people that bother to learn it.

Quote: JIZEK I can´t argue with that- funny thing is, more people speak to me in English now, than when I only spoke English.

Both my wife and I did attempt to learn the language with limited results in the 10 months we were there. We also took some basic Czech lessons in the states before we came to Prague. We both speak some French and Spanish, and I have some rudimentary Russian, so we are not without some language experience besides English. Even with all that, we could only use very limited expressions in Czech, and nothing that even approached basic conversation. I think people need to be realistic about how easy/hard it is to learn Czech. Particularly for English speakers who are not used to a synthetic and case oriented language. I would also accept that it could be an age issue in my case, but that would also potentially apply to the OP. My experience does not match yours. Other than in some very limited ways, the Czechs that I tried to interact with were very stand-off-ish. Younger people were generally more open than older people, but that did not help us very much. Now, Jizek, before we get into another bashing loop where you insult me every way possible, I just want to say that: a) I am not bashing the CR or living in Prague b) this was MY personal experience, and may NOT apply to the OP c) I did try quite honestly and openly to make contact with, and be friendly with everyone I did meet in Prague. As I said in my initial post, in MY experience, the people I made friends with were other work expats (which is kind of natural), and non Czechs (Croatians, Belgians, Ukrainians and Italian) - who, in fact, were very friendly and open to friendship. OTOH, the Czechs that lived in our building, and who we would see almost every day, would barely even look at us, let alone acknowledge our attempts to say "dobre den". My reply is mostly focusing on the OP's comment about being lonely in his own country. I do not believe moving to Prague (where he knows no-one, or has any family, and will be a real outsider for many reasons) is a good way to address being lonely. Again, to the OP, good luck and I hope you can work out your living situation to your satisfaction. Maybe you could try to go to Prague/CR for an extended stay if you are retired. Schengen rules allow you to come for 90 days on your US passport.

05:45:46 02.11.2011 pfschim

when have I ever insulted you? learning any language is simply about yourself, there is huge difference bewteen making the effort, and making the effort. for example a lesson once or twice a week means nothing without backing up that lesson once you leave the classroom. eg- personally I drowned in the language, kept away from expats, listened hard to conversations of czech people everywhere (even though I didn´t know them. Had them small yellow post it notes stuck on everything around the flat, open a draw and I would see a knife with the czech word written on it, post it notes on the mirror, taps, sink, plug, cups plates, cupboards, doors, windows, clothes, ´everything´ I didn´t even realise I was learning most of the time, first time I noticed was when I walked into an exchange to change money, asked ´in czech´if the girl spoke english, she said yes, then I managed to exchange money speaking in czech language, after I walked out she must have thought I was complete idiot, asking her if she spoke english, then I did the rest in Czech. I did pat myself on the back though, and once you realise that you can actually go to a place, speak czech, and walk out the door with what you wanted- then there is no stopping you. im a complete language nonse- useless- but I managed it somehow, and as I said, most of the learning came naturally without knowing I was learning, and absolutely stress (from my experience) that lessons are for nothing- without backing up your efforts out of the classroom. do or die. its up to you.

11:21:36 02.11.2011 JIZEK

Quote: JIZEKlearning any language is simply about yourself, there is huge difference bewteen making the effort, and making the effort.

it needs to be kept in mind that not everyone can learn as quickly as others - age also plays a role ... my parents were both the same age when they arrived in an english-speaking country - my mother's english was always at a much higher level than my father's (neither knew any english before they arrived)

12:54:32 02.11.2011 meluzina

Quote: meluzinait needs to be kept in mind that not everyone can learn as quickly as others - age also plays a role ... my parents were both the same age when they arrived in an english-speaking country - my mother's english was always at a much higher level than my father's (neither knew any english before they arrived)

maybe, but I think the biggest influence is the difference between trying, and doing. ;) :D

13:00:32 02.11.2011 JIZEK

Quote: JIZEKmaybe, but I think the biggest influence is the difference between trying, and doing. ;) :D

it also depends on other circumstances - such as profession and/or job (e.g. how much you have to deal with other people), available time, the approach of others and how comfortable you feel around them (being called some stupid foreigner doesn't help - note, that doesn't matter which side of the pond you are on)

13:12:41 02.11.2011 meluzina

Quote: meluzinait also depends on other circumstances - such as profession and/or job (e.g. how much you have to deal with other people), available time, the approach of others and how comfortable you feel around them (being called some stupid foreigner doesn't help - note, that doesn't matter which side of the pond you are on)

I get called a stupid foreigner at least 7 times a day :D I even say it myself afew times a day :p

14:56:29 02.11.2011 JIZEK

Quote: JIZEKI get called a stupid foreigner at least 7 times a day :D I even say it myself afew times a day :p

:D well i call myself a stupid **** (insert word here as desired) many times a day as well (never a foreigner though ;) ) i suppose with the whole language and expat thing - certain people choose to be expats and live the entire experience and enjoy it, some try it for various reasons and find out it is not for them, and some are forced to be expats - probably the first category has it the "easiest", the second always has the option of returning, and third just have to make do with what life has given them

15:20:37 02.11.2011 meluzina

im a number 1 :-) well it wasn´t actually a life choice as such- I guess I was running away as much as I was running to lol

21:08:35 02.11.2011 JIZEK

Hand's up who's lonely.

19:27:40 03.11.2011 peter s

depends on your idea of lonely. im single, and sometimes feel lonely, im not your average bear, and often feel lonely, but other than that, I have a best friend, I know quite a few people, I know alot of expats. Lonely to me, is a feeling, rather than something that you are. often loneliness is brought on by yourself, rather than the place you are. My sisters taught me a very important lesson (I was a very lonely type child) they told me, if you go to a party and sit in the corner, no-one will speak to you, and you will feel alone/left out. If you get up, go to the center of the room, and enjoy yourself, others will enjoy you too, after all, who wants to know the quiet one in the corner? They were right. sometimes its nice to be alone, but if you get into the habit of being alone, then complain you´re lonely........... I think I described that ok....... hope you understood what I meant.

08:36:22 04.11.2011 JIZEK

OK... Who wants a BIG hug then?;)

21:59:59 04.11.2011 peter s