Do Czechs Hate Foreigners? Part 1

Do Czechs Hate Foreigners? Part 1

First impressions from new expats in the Czech Republic

Do Czechs Hate Foreigners? Part 1

Do Czechs Hate Foreigners? Part 1

First impressions from new expats in the Czech Republic


Published 30.10.2012
Last updated 30.10.2012

If you’re Czech, it seems you can’t stand me – or so a 500 page long thread on the Expats.cz forums titled “Do Czechs Hate Foreigners?” would have us believe.

And yet, despite this alleged hostility, the number of foreigners settling in the country is on the rise. According to the Czech Statistical Office, the number of residents from abroad has increased sixfold from 70,000 in 1993 to 426,000 in 2010. With a falling birth rate and mounting mortality, it’s only thanks to immigration that the country’s overall population level continues to grow.

So do the Czechs really hate us?

It’s a vast topic that begs to be explored in depth – which is why Expats.cz plans to make it a three-part series. In future articles I’ll tackle xenophobia and expat (non-)integration. First though, I’d like to begin with first impressions.

Let’s return to that controversial thread for a moment. A certain TEFL Teacher kicks things off by claiming that “waiters, service staff in post offices, government offices, and even ordinary Czechs on buses or standing with you in a queue” all start to get an attitude once they recognise you’re a cizinec.

What does the “Xenophobe’s Guide to the Czechs” (which was penned by three natives) have to say on the topic?
Apparently, this incivility “[…] is the first thing that a foreigner will notice after arrival at the airport, train, or coach station,” the authors Petr Berka, Aleš Palan and Petr Šťastný warn would-be visitors. “The surly Customs officer frowns at you […] The receptionist in the hotel glowers at you […] The sales assistant in the shop looks so glum that you want to ask her if her much-loved cat has died.

“It has not. She just looks like that. While members of other ethnicities need to have a serious reason to being sullen, the Czechs need none.”

So here it is: confirmation then that Czechs do, by their own admission, come across as a cantankerous and grouchy bunch – and regrettably, this is the first thing newcomers notice about them. 

That’s just it though: Czechs are democratic with their dour glares and sour expressions. A piece of advice for any recent arrivals, especially those hailing from that country where the pursuit of happiness is a constitutional right: don’t mistake poor customer service for xenophobia.

“Ah,” says that irritating self-appointed expert Mr. Smug Expat. “But what you have to remember of course that this is all part of the Communist legacy.”

I am aware of the recent regional election results. However, I detest hearing the C word being wheeled out as an excuse for all this country’s ills. At the risk of repeating what I’ve already said elsewhere, if a twenty year old waitress is rude to me, surely that can’t be entirely blamed on a regime which collapsed before she was born?

Let’s replace that moody Czech girl with a perky American one. The reason for her super sunny demeanour isn’t better manners but a desire to top up her wages with tips. As “Halfman Halfbiscuit” points out on that epic thread, “American service is NEVER sincere. It’s an act. Always has been, always will be.” Some natives of the Land of the Free have told me they find the Slav grumpiness a relief after a lifetime of exposure to a chronically positive perspective. Better a sincere frown than a fake grin – or so the theory goes anyway.

There’s a silver lining to every breach-of-etiquette cloud. No-one can accuse the Czechs of being two-faced: what you see is, for better or worse, what you get. Their rudeness isn’t haughtiness; it doesn’t come from a position of presumed superiority as I felt those rather snotty bonjours I endured from many a stuck-up Parisian were. After all, politeness often involves a degree of hypocrisy. How heartfelt are all those ‘woulds’ and ‘coulds’ that the English pepper their sentences with?

Those amongst you who hanker after a long lost age of chivalry needn’t despair. There are some places where you can experience old-fashioned courtesy here in Prague. If you don’t believe me, just try shoving a pillow up your sweater, hopping on a tram, and then counting how many people leap out of their seat so you can take the weight off your pregnancy-induced swollen ankles. Unless you happen to be a man – in which case everyone will assume you’re obese.

I’d like to conclude by cordially inviting you to share your views in the comments section. So go on, share your opinion – but don’t forget to mind your manners.

Oh, and have a nice day.

As the sarcasm font is yet to be invented, you’ll never know if I really meant that.

Read also: Do Czechs Hate Foreigners? Part 2 - Is xenophobia more widespread in the Czech Republic?
Read also: Do Czechs Hate Foreigners? Part 3 - Or do foreigners hate Czechs?

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wha...? Untermensch is a term, it's not an anti-German anything. "Underman" doesn't quite have the ring to it.

12.35.28 16.08.2017

Seriously, quite a lot of Czechs are linguistically well above the level where they'd need to "learn" English (so they'd fake-friend someone just to do so] :D

12.34.25 16.08.2017

especially czech women are very very angry , very very rude, disgusting, even cruel, here is recent example : : Prague international airport is place of bunch of shameless czech gate workers women , horrible rude uncivilized airport ever. I flew on the 21 st of July by flight number SU 2011, by Aerolfot, when i arrived in the gate 23 just before the boarding the plane, there were 4-5 women checking passengers' tickets. I had 3 items like laptop , cabin size luggage and small bagpack. I was using my small backpack as my handbag, inside there were my valuable suveners and my expensive cellphone, toothbrush etc very light few items. Blonde czech woman who tied her hair and another czech woman with black hair demanded me to leave my bagpack there and threatened me if i dont leave my bagpack they will not board me and plane will fly in few minutes or to pay 100 euro for my bagpack. Unfortunately i dont have 100 euro , and then under their demand, i gave my bagpack to them.
After 2 days, i called them to tell my friends in Czech Republic will come to the vaclav havel airport to get my bagpack. Shamelelssly they said they didnt take my bagpack so they dont know where my bagpack is. After i continuesly wrote them and argued, they told me that "yes it is true that we took your bagpack but we dont have your bagpack now". Until now they are not giving me back my bagpack with my cellphone.On their finally email , they told me " please be kind and dont ask your bagpack from us and dont send your friends to collect your bagpack, bcz we dont have your bagpack anymore with us.
It is very very weird situation. I want to know what they have done with my bagpack and especially with my cellphone.
Actually from the first, they were looking very weird , after i left my bagpack i noticed some kind of joys appeared on their faces, they were just looking like beasts to attack to the prey ( my left bagpack). They seemed they already accustomed to get passenegers items and divide valuable things and throw rest ones into the rubbish. On the same day, when i reached Shermetoyva airport , i asked gate managers abt this case , they were horrified by this story and said it is shocking, and also said according to airline rule, those czech gate women workers must give it to the lost and found department, they must not use items of passengers and they must not throw it to the rubbish bin. It is airline rule.
It is so shameless that those czech women dont care Czech Republic fame and stole passengers' item without giving it to the related department and throw it to the rubbish bin. How can i get back at leas my cellphone from those shameless czech women??

10.47.06 16.08.2017

many many czech people are disgusting , very angry , selfish, cold , mean,.... i know many examples, latest example is it llike this : Prague international airport is place of bunch of shameless czech gate workers women , horrible rude uncivilized airport ever. I flew on the 21 st of July by flight number SU 2011, by Aerolfot, when i arrived in the gate 23 just before the boarding the plane, there were 4-5 women checking passengers' tickets. I had 3 items like laptop , cabin size luggage and small bagpack. I was using my small backpack as my handbag, inside there were my valuable suveners and my expensive cellphone, toothbrush etc very light few items. Blonde czech woman who tied her hair and another czech woman with black hair demanded me to leave my bagpack there and threatened me if i dont leave my bagpack they will not board me and plane will fly in few minutes or to pay 100 euro for my bagpack. Unfortunately i dont have 100 euro , and then under their demand, i gave my bagpack to them.
After 2 days, i called them to tell my friends in Czech Republic will come to the vaclav havel airport to get my bagpack. Shamelelssly they said they didnt take my bagpack so they dont know where my bagpack is. After i continuesly wrote them and argued, they told me that "yes it is true that we took your bagpack but we dont have your bagpack now". Until now they are not giving me back my bagpack with my cellphone.On their finally email , they told me " please be kind and dont ask your bagpack from us and dont send your friends to collect your bagpack, bcz we dont have your bagpack anymore with us.
It is very very weird situation. I want to know what they have done with my bagpack and especially with my cellphone.
Actually from the first, they were looking very weird , after i left my bagpack i noticed some kind of joys appeared on their faces, they were just looking like beasts to attack to the prey ( my left bagpack). They seemed they already accustomed to get passenegers items and divide valuable things and throw rest ones into the rubbish. On the same day, when i reached Shermetoyva airport , i asked gate managers abt this case , they were horrified by this story and said it is shocking, and also said according to airline rule, those czech gate women workers must give it to the lost and found department, they must not use items of passengers and they must not throw it to the rubbish bin. It is airline rule.
It is so shameless that those czech women dont care Czech Republic fame and stole passengers' item without giving it to the related department and throw it to the rubbish bin. How can i get back at leas my cellphone from those shameless czech women??

11.12.40 15.08.2017

Czechs dislike foreigners because many of them come here being entitled. We have spent centuries being lectured, bullied and mistreated in our own country by foreigners. So suprise, if you come here and show exactly the same attitude, yes, we turn our back on you. Maybe we should allow only people with decent level of humility to come here. That would solve the problem. Coming to our country and living here is not your right. It is an undeserved priviledge. You should keep that on mind.

09.13.32 07.08.2017

i feel sick from what people say/think even when many of us here are proving otherwise..

09.22.53 12.06.2017

Czechs they do hate foreigners, reasons:

foreigners are getting the locals the job vaccancies, so in other words are drowning the locals.
czechs are also fanatic and patriots over extended. because i learned czech, i hear them complaining and telling all the rubbish of cz between them, but when they speak with a foreigner in english, prague is SO beautiful and the beer is delightfull.

next thing i noticed, if you do smth bad you are either an ukrainian or a russian??? WTF?? these people are very fixated.

honestly speaking i understand tourists why they come to cz, but i do not understand most of the 3rd country pals, what tehy are seeking in cz, the country does not provide a wealthy economical support to the employers in average, you are doomed to do manual stuff for max 1500 gross?!

14.45.14 24.05.2017

"Nobody fucking cares about Czech Rep. Get over it. Who the fuck you think you are to force anybody to do anything? Do you fucking own the country? Yeah, i don't think so. So shut the fuck up!!!" If they don't want to abide to our custom, like you said why are they even here. They should leave us be. It is our country and BTW sorry to burst your bubble, but if you don't like Czech, you can always leave to a shithole from the best country in the world

15.15.29 08.05.2017

You're also probably happy that Le Pen lost and France will become an islamic amjority

15.10.44 08.05.2017

I can imagine to settle in Texas 100 years ago was a bit different than to settle in nyc 2017. So my point was more about assimilation really.

09.43.44 26.04.2017

The US is extremely racist. Way more than Czech. I lived outside LA for 25 years and people get murdered by any color for being any other color. No other reason. We had police invade my high school because of "race riots." And that's in LA, one of the most "culturally diverse" city in the States with whites as a minority as a matter of fact.. Just gets more racist and backwards hillbilly from there, basically. Hence the $70billion wall seeming like a good idea.

21.08.26 25.04.2017

You've never been in the US, I take it?

20.59.55 25.04.2017

I have so many Czech friends.. when I go to the pubs near my home the staff know I am "the foreigner" and treat me with kindness, welcome me with smiles, and are really flattered when I try to speak Czech with them.

Czechs don't have a filter. If the postal worker is having a shit day, you will know. It's nothing to do with you, actually.

20.56.24 25.04.2017

There are over 50 cities in Texas settled by Czechs including the capital Austin.. The city of West, Texas is a completely Czech CITY, not just a quarter in a larger city, but an actual city of Czechs.. In Texas.. Oh and there's Praha, Texas.. Vitame Vas na Texas! There are around 200,000 Czechs in Texas alone.. They're not so noticeable because they assimilate. So much for Czechs not establishing large communities abroad..?

20.30.48 25.04.2017

Wow!!!!!!! Why stay 8 years in a country where you must ignore the local people? Never came to your stupid narcissistic little brains that your arrogant caveman behavior, could be the reason that Czech people better stay away from you? Its really without any respect for the people where you are a guest in there home country. So who is the one to adjust? I really don't know in which fantasy world your living or what kind of god syndrome you are suffering from to think that where ever king Andres Nunez Castellon The great arrives, the whole population must bow for the king and make him feel special and learn his language.......... Because in Cuba they also learn Czech, English, French and Dutch when we come to visit there country. Isn't it King Andres? Fortunately, I REALLY do have a pretty good look for assholes and for sure you are a bigger one then all Czech grumpy people together. I am happy that you left this beautiful country because it's people like you that make Praha some new sodosopa walhalla and screw it up for the locals. For example by posting and sharing every thing what supposed to stay in the pub where you enjoyed your evening, but NO you stupid mongols just post on the open internet where to buy for example weed?????????............. Really????? You also do that with your local suppliers in Cuba??? Guess that you will think twice.... he?

22.20.10 14.04.2017

You certainly can, but only by insisting on speaking Czech, which seems reasonable anyway, given that this is the Czech Republic.

16.07.54 04.04.2017

True for simplest people and their simplest reactions, but the thing, like everything, has more edges. There are no more ´Czech´ Roma, they did not make it until 1942. The Roma you see nowadays came here from modern Slovakia and Hungary, some of them quite recently, so you can say it by how they speak and many have not the CZ citizenship either. This way of migration intensified after EU enlargement in 2004 and was later reinforced by Roma migration from Romania and most recently, new generation of migrants backwards from countries like the UK (those who went to the UK, Ireland, France, Canada in the first years of 21st century send their almost grown kids back).
So enough for the ´ethnicity´thing. The main problem for most of the population is social - ´gypsies´ concentrate in chosen parts of the country and run the living standards of the majority down. Many of them aren´t ethnically, roma at all. Other hand many ethnically Romas live their normal lives like the others, some Romas are even quite famous people in showbusiness, music, on TV screens, in sports etc.
So there´s no ongoing battle of races here like some would suggest, its all about who exploits social benefits, does not send kids to school, lives on small crime and who pays for that.

09.56.07 04.04.2017

Of course blunt patronising neighbouring states and other nations with brainless prejudices has been a long local well maintained discipline as well, from some perspective, older generations used to be led to such black-and-white optics towards surrounding world by both state ideology and way of education. But Prague and other bigger towns, usually the ones with universities have always been quite friendly to all kinds of foreign people. What is everybody sensitive about are demonstrations of prerogative nationalism - including British, Russian and of course colonial way of thinking - because within the past century, exactly those ideas coming from Vienna, Berlin, Kremlin but also Washington threatened the people here to their very element. So I only felt the urge to react to really abusive and racist comments in this thread - most of the people of this country understand themselves and things around probably better than chosen (EU) countries suffering from their current ´exiting´ crisis, social, economics crisis, high unemployment rates, towns and cities packed with parallel societies or post-colonial hangovers. On top of that, the Czech lands might perhaps have not the fastest trains in the world and no better highways than Austria, but you can get around everywhere, everybody, cheap, preschools, schools and universities for free, good health services standard for everyone, housing and dwelling is affordable and apart from that all, this is a really beautiful country which their people do not like to leave. So I never blame the locals for not being too cosmopolitan not caring what have you in England, Spain, France or wherever. They speak Czech, they go for holiday to Croatia every year, which is beautiful similar way and where they speak Czech with their locals too, and have quite happy and satisfying lives. Everyone who wants to settle down here and live like that is not unwelcome here I believe, but do not expect people here will repeat mistakes of the Western world that brings most of its population to a quite deep trouble recently.

08.44.55 04.04.2017

I don't understand what you mean by 'being discriminatory'. Obviously, any intelligent person makes judgments about what a person is like, based on that person's belief. You would respond differently to somebody you thought was a racist, for example.

I have visited many Muslim countries, and have found the people to be kind and hospitable. However, their belief in a pagan moon god does have an impact on their behaviour. I suspect that if you were raped in a Muslim country and the rapist was let off because there weren't four witnesses, your opinion might be similar.

20.51.36 03.04.2017

I think for family life it is very good here. I think if u are positive without negative expectations it is good everywhere. And vice versa.... Tjis inner feeling is very important in life. I know people who are happy everywhere, but also people who are complaining everywhere. It is inside and none group of people can be judged as a group...it is always individual. Racism is problem in some black communities as well.

17.11.31 03.04.2017

No doubt. And, what has this got to do with the Koran?

15.11.34 03.04.2017

>> And if you aren´t able to say a single word in the local language, you are probably not able to distinguish a Czech from a Pole, Slovak, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Russian, Slovene or Croat anyway.

Unfortunately, most of the English-speaking expats in the CR are too lazy or stupid to learn Czech. As you point out, they can't even tell if somebody is a Czech, a Pole, a Ukrainian, or whatever else. They might be able to pick out the Hungarians, though!

15.08.37 03.04.2017

I know! Sigh!! Ghastly stuff!

14.28.59 03.04.2017

And you are using that to attack everyone who follows that religion and saying that is being discriminatory. It is akin to someone judging all Europeans or Christians because date-rapists.

14.28.08 03.04.2017

Not everyone is as Trump would have you believe.

14.26.09 03.04.2017

True, some are like that but others can't speak English and speak Czech with us and we are friends for 10 years now. Even those who speak English have days when they just want to talk in Czech so not all are like that. One can filter out the kinds you mention. No one likes being used. :D

14.24.24 03.04.2017

True on the 'big community' interpretation you mention. Poles have that but not so much Czechs and Slovaks (in London, I mean specifically). Africa - well not really because the basic of 'one up-one down' for every bit of diversity means that whites are 'one up' even in a predominantly non-white country. If you go to Singapore, for instance, people automatically give way to white people in queues. Well the Czech system is not geared to any other type of children then the 'normal' white Czechs. Everyone else is a problem and unwanted. So not sure if Czech is the better place as such because it depends on 'better for whom'!

14.17.01 03.04.2017

Like everywhere else on the planet, no one really cares that you are foreign. Trying to win the attention by expressing your otherness will be always annoying for the rest, no matter who you are and where. I remember similar discussions in Ireland about the Irish: do Irish hate the foreigners. Mostly led by people sitting around tourist places in their foreign bunches - and suffering lack of attention back in their countries, likewise in Ireland. You will be treated normally only when you blend in, or at least try to. If you take your stay here, no matter if 3 days or 30 years, as a permanent trip through the ZOO, do not expect to be treated standard. Yes, there might be ´polite´ countries, the more foreign you are, the better they make you feel in polite conversation. But no matter conversation, the Swiss and Dutch and Austrians see you the very same stranger like the Czechs do. Why should one match the stranger, it is the stranger that must try to match the rest. And if you aren´t able to say a single word in the local language, you are probably not able to distinguish a Czech from a Pole, Slovak, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Russian, Slovene or Croat anyway. So are you sure you judge right? There are hundreds of thousands of foreigners in this country living, working, raising kids, having happy lives. They are not hated at all! But ignorance and loftiness at same stage is, and will always be.

13.18.59 29.03.2017

You have muddled up the words 'technocracy' and "theocracy'. In a technocracy society is run by experts in technology, such as engineers and scientists. In a theocracy, it is run according to the principles of some religion.

>>all other "scientists and "engineers" are answerable to the Koran and the koran only

Nowhere in the world - including in the most extreme Islamic countries - are scientists and engineers answerable to the koran. Are you claiming, for example, that bridges in Saudi Arabia are designed according to Islamic principles, or that cars in Iran run according to technology described in the koran? Obviously this is not the case.

16.14.22 26.03.2017

I am not in any way. Where did I say Islamic countries are run by scientists and engineers? You didn't read what I said to fit your perception, I said "experts." Experts that run all facets of life. The koran and hadiths have every instruction for its followers on, architecture, law, Social interaction diet and so on. Imams and scholars being the 'experts' all other "scientists and "engineers" are answerable to the Koran and the koran only. As I repeat, with this understanding, Islam could be considered a Technocracy, as the definition is not completely absolute . If you cannot see this or it does not fit in with your perception, then that is up to you.

21.25.21 25.03.2017

Countries run under Islamic law are not, by any wild stretch of the imagination, run by scientists and engineers.

15.03.21 25.03.2017

Technocracy definition; a theory or system of society according to which government is controlled by scientists, engineers, and other experts. Islam if understood from its writings in the Hadiths and Koran, covers every facet of life, banking social interaction dress food Law - Sharia etc.
Imams and scholars constituting "experts". With this understanding, Islam could be considered a "Technocracy", though more likely a political ideology/Religion..

20.51.34 24.03.2017

>> non-white Czech families
Czechs would argue that these people (i.e., gypsies, obviously) aren't Czechs, because being Czech is an ethnicity, not a citizenship.

19.14.26 24.03.2017

Islam is not a 'technocracy'.

19.11.51 24.03.2017

On the contrary, it emerges from a proper understanding of what's in the Koran.

15.00.02 24.03.2017

Your comment has no relationship to what I wrote. I was commenting on Islam.

14.59.13 24.03.2017

>>If you are an English speaker then it is easy to make friends.
This is because they are not interested in you, they are interested in practicing their English. Insist on talking in the language of the country you are both living in and they will walk the other way.

14.58.12 24.03.2017

I lived abroad - by big community I mean really complete community like Chinese quarter etc. Or Russian quarter with Russian shops etc. I do not think czechs/slovak do form such quarters really from my experience. I also agree it is a trouble to integrate in predominantly white country , but that is not a specialty of eastern Europe only - you would have trouble to integrate in Africa in predominantly black country as well.... We simply do not have much experience here with people from Africa or other parts of the world except former Soviet area..... It's very different for let's say London which used to be a center of an Empire across half of the Earth and people from those former colonies are coming in big numbers to England.... that is incomparable. Yet still I think it's up to everybody - I do not feel less comforable growing children here in Czech rep. - I actually think it is much better place to have calm family life than let's say in London. :-). And I am not a typical czech really, I am cosmopolitan yet preferences in life are changing with situation / age / experiences.

09.50.51 24.03.2017

That's because they believe that they need to! :(

09.14.46 24.03.2017

My only experience is of Berlin and we were there as tourists. We did not find this behaviour but this may have been down to the circles we were moving in. People need to change so much! :(

09.12.02 24.03.2017

Not sure about Prague but I am really sorry about your experiences. If you speak English, you normally get better treatment here. There is that ridiculous up side. I hope that you find some Czech friends and they are great. I have several and I feel profoundly sad for your experiences :(

09.10.38 24.03.2017

Countries and nations are getting multicultural and what is wrong with a country needs to go away to make way for better behaviour and life. The less the people think like you, the better the country will be. What do you think happened in the UK or is still happening, until Brexit takes force? There is much wrong with the attitude in the Czech Republic. Much needs to change.

09.06.50 24.03.2017

Yes, that is exactly the attitude here! Sigh!

09.04.54 24.03.2017

It is not true that Czechs don't form large communities abroad. There is a huge Czech/Slovak community in London and if you went there, you may even forget you were in the UK! Learning the language helps but if you do not appear white, then it can be hard to integrate in a predominantly white country and get respect in this post-communist country. (Read comments above from others.)

09.04.29 24.03.2017

It's true! When we wanted to rent our place, we had non-white Czech families coming to us almost apologetically asking if them not being white would be a problem for us! We felt so bad for them and the fact that they even should feel that way. Even the neighbours were willing to write them off only because they looked different and perhaps had a different way of life to some others. :(

09.01.29 24.03.2017

And with such comments too! I agree, it's terrible. Speaks poorly of the country unfortunately. :(

08.59.20 24.03.2017

One has to simply scratch the surface a little and it is obvious the level of ignorance and racism here in the CR. Like most other places in the world, there is a good and a bad here. Depends what one can live with.

08.58.24 24.03.2017

This doesn't happen everywhere or by everyone. There is rampant date rape and drug abuse in Europe but that doesn't mean everyone is bad and every European is bad. Come on!

08.56.45 24.03.2017

I am sorry to hear of your experience. This should have been removed immediately. I can also see more anti-islamic comments below. It emerges from not knowing enough about the religion or the common people.

08.55.49 24.03.2017

It is quite bad in the sense you mention above. There is also a good side to it. If you are an English speaker then it is easy to make friends. You may not find the right level in terms of professional standards, if you are a 'classist' like me. Professional women or those on boards are hard to find. Mostly people who did not finish school or uni degrees are around. Women tend to have babies earlier than in the UK so by default may have education but no real life experience. Also, those who may have lived abroad (doing cleaning work) come back and think they are the cat's whiskers. Anyone who can speak two straight sentences in English thinks they can speak the Queen's English. Once you filter through this all, you can find friends who are keepers. Those who will reciprocate dinner parties and not just expect to be invited back over and over again with no reciprocation. Those who will bear you in mind over holidays. Who will sit and whinge with you about everything that's not right here. Those who will get your back when you most need it. They are not all xenophobes for sure. They may get their foot in it more often than one expects but one has to keep the guard up to make sure you draw the line. They are capable of asking questions that can shock even the most well travelled person. Their excuse is that they are a curious bunch or 'they really didn't mean anything by it'. If you make the grave mistake of answering any personal questions, they will introduce you publicly using that information. They also like to know the exact make up of the person's race so if you look a little less white or a little more brown, expect to be given the third degree by most! Like any country in the world there is the good and the bad. Depends if you can live with the Czech good and the bad. BTW, my screen name is fake! I am British and live in a small town. :)

08.51.10 24.03.2017

Interesting. The other day I was talking to my partner about the lack of humanity in Czechia. There was an old man, who lived down the street from us, who lived in little more than a shack. It too him 15 -20 mins to walk from the bus stop to his house - standard 2 minute walk. He had crutches and was in desperate need of a wheel chair, an idiot could see. In the years I saw him in this situation, not once did the state or social services provide mobility for him(scooter chair). I, on occasion, offered to help him, he reluctantly accepted, aware of his plight. This country is brutal at times, in the way it treats it citizens, and the way theye treat each other. The U.K. is sometimes referred to as a nanny state, which on occasion is true, but a case such as this with this czech man, it would make local news, highlighting his deplorable situation. The man died the other day.

10.57.52 04.03.2017

Hate to curb your crusade, Islam is not a race, ergo you cannot be racist to a technocracy.

10.46.53 04.03.2017

There's nothing 'racist' about disliking this barbaric fake religion. Perhaps it was written by a woman who didn't like the fact that, under Islamic law, rape victims are stoned to death.

19.52.47 01.03.2017

>>For me is it beautiful activity
You think that defacing your city and damaging other people's property is a 'beautiful activity'?

19.57.20 28.02.2017

Why do you call yourself 'John' if you are Czech?

22.50.51 26.02.2017

In a civilized country the theft which goes on in exchange booths would be illegal.

22.48.30 26.02.2017

Yeah, we're totally all untermensch because you got swindled in a shady exchange booth.

01.14.29 07.02.2017

I must agree - but thing you are describing here is quite common even between "us" (I mean locals). Did you ever tried Switzerland or Germany? They are even much colder then we, I think, they just are better on "being polite" (in our point of view - much less sincere). Czech is such a mixture of Slavic carelessness and Germanic focus on close friends and family.

22.13.17 13.01.2017

Dear Pat, what I think is, that you show us exactly this "exceptionalism combined with cultural racism" - you like to visit the country to see "something new, something different", but when difference is not to YOUR liking, you insist on changing "us" (this neo-neocolonialism is something which I met a lot around the world, especially in countries without "proper" infrastructure...).
Backwardness is exactly what indigenous people wanted to experience all around the world (and what is so much hunted down by "real-experience" tourists from "developed" countries).

YOU are the visitor, YOU should be the one, who WANT (and should) to change.

At least that is all what can I tell from CZ point of view.
And Czech Republic was never build on tourist industry (for Christ sake!) - at least not on international one for sure.
Those cities, which were sold on (Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and middle of Prague for example) lost any beauty for common locals or anyone from our culture (and we are very, very angry about it - we feel betrayed by those in charge because of it)!

22.05.09 13.01.2017

First - I am Czech person, which travel a lot (and I would love to spend my life in south-east Asia or middle Africa - I found middle and west Europe not to my liking).
Second - We have a lot different graffiti statements around - in range from fascist swastikas over just simply rude to anarchistic "A" etc. That does not mean, that our society does not give a fuck about those ideas (quite opposite is true, I think). Just that nobody get so work up about those "shouts".

And BTW - what do you have again "fucking" itself?!
For me is it beautiful activity - more of that and much less hate and misunderstanding would find its way into the world, I think.

21.45.11 13.01.2017

I observed same thing in Rome, I am Czech living abroad and when I was child, we let not only women, also older people to sit. It looks like the world became ruthless and more selfish, here in USA it became political mainstream that you let your fellow neighbors die without health insurance. I visit Czech Republic and had no problem, as to feeling of hopelessness, that seems to be shared in many countries due to economic situation world wide, but especially in countries where there are huge differences between have and have nots and Czech Republic unfortunately became one of them. I remember the good times after velvet revolution when women were still empowered, I was lucky to have very well paid corporate job and was able to climb the corporate ladder. Times changed everywhere. I live in Florida and I am shocked what happened there with women's opportunities and salaries and Florida is much more chauvinistic then Czech Republic was. A least there I did not have to listen to some real sexist remarks about how grateful I should be to my husband (or other people saying that to my other European friends, one of them is back in Europe not willing to be second class citizen in United States). There are many wonderful people, but I have to say that I have not lived there for 16 years and things changed. People used to be friendly to foreigners, I am still one of them. But I do not live there right now. I think that media had big role in turning people against refugees etc., like here in USA (and we did not even met any). Media is playing with fire. In Czech Republic and here in USA. As you may know, Donald Trump won. The hate won. It is hard to fight lies and misinformation and it is easy to turn people against each other.

22.46.01 21.11.2016

Do not try to understand the Czechs, they don't even understand themselves. It's a country full of miserable, arrogant, jealous, insecure pessimists who love to go on power trips whenever they feel they have the upper hand. The longer you spend in this country the more miserable you will become despite all your attempts to make the best of it. Also be prepared to be constantly swindled at every turn whether it be in restaurants, your employer, or your landlord lying to you. It's their way of doing business, and if you're a foreigner they consider you an easy target.

19.41.05 14.11.2016

But backwardness is relative term in reality. Of course people can personally improve regardless of nationality or grouping etc. But you simply cannot change overall mentality which is in general suspicious to the "new orders" or "new cultures". I do not think it is arrogant - live and let live is the best approach here. I did the same when I lived somewhere abroad.

16.15.08 07.10.2016

But with good reason to be.

15.45.34 07.10.2016

But only so the Gypsy can set you up to steal your stuff...

15.45.11 07.10.2016

Exactly. Spot on. Many will never see the forest through the bark on the only tree they can't stop noticing...

15.42.07 07.10.2016

Your experience is predicated on several key issues, naiveté mixed with a sprinkle of ethnocentrism. No, the Czechs do NOT hate foreigners. They 'tolerate' them ... Read on intrepid traveler.

1. You, and apparently most of your readers, and/or visitors to the Czech Republic (Bohemia) in general are in PRAGUE, which is heavily X3 tourist-oriented. This would be like visiting Disney World and thinking that everyone in Florida should be similar to the employees you met at the Magic Kingdom... Absurd right? Many Czechs will tell you (if they trust you enough) that most of Prague is no longer truly Czech in character, at least the 'old-country' Czech character that it was for over a thousand years. The last time I visited 'Praga' was with a friend from Domažlice. We visited just ONE tourist shop, the ONLY one that was still 100% Czech owned. He would not patronize any other shops. That should tell you quite a bit about the Czech character. We did dine at one 100% Czech-owned restaurant, and the owner of the restaurant sat down with us after the meal and we had a very good, and lengthy, political conversation, complete with pro-social facial expressions! We were also almost pick-pocketed by Gypsies in a market, but I discovered their ambush, and micro-aggressively starred them down in prototypical Bohemian fashion. They scattered like ashes in the wind.

2. To really experience the Czech Republic, you have to visit the small villages and medium-sized towns, and learn to speak a little Czech, or perhaps a-lot of Czech, as not everyone in these areas speaks anglicky. Not so easy. Just try to say the number four (4) for an idea how hard it can be ... čtyři ... Czechs do smile and laugh and carry on, but only when there is a real reason to, and we are sincere about it. Think of the Czechs as 'Germans on steroids' in this way. Heck, many Czechs are descended from the same folks as the Bavarians and some Italians and Swiss, the Boii tribe (Google it). You had better believe that these genetic influences are still quite strong in many of us. My grandfather and father (both Americans but still heavily influenced by Czech upbringing in the USA) were 'stoic' guys who rarely smiled, and often could appear grouchy/grumpy by American standards. But everything has a context.

3. And finally for 'abdallah' ... regarding you 'small experience.' The Czechs are not a 'racist' people (far from it) simply because you saw a bit of English graffiti on a trash dumpster in a back alley, or a shop keeper did not smile or greet you with some trumped-up cultural pretense. You saw what you wanted to see (ethnocentrism - where did you learn to view everything as 'racist' abdallah? One has to wonder). Czechs are primarily a highly homogeneous group that absolutely does not tolerate foreigners who desire to immigrate, but (keep reading) refuse to FULLY assimilate. Heck they even rejected the Euro currency, as did Switzerland. You want to emigrate to the Czech lands, you have to learn the Czech language (and pass a proficiency exam at university), and you have to learn Czech history, customs and culture. You don't prefer that? That's fine, but then eventually you can't renew your work visa or become a citizen. Simple. AND IT WORKS. And it is their HOME, so why can't they have their own laws abdallah? Should you desire to impose your Muslim beliefs (and laws) in the Czech Republic, you could be in for a 'big experience,' similar to what the Romans, the Communists and the Nazis had to learn the hard way about the Bohemians.

15.33.21 07.10.2016

Wow.

11.20.19 05.10.2016

This is a nice post but exactly hits on the arrogant note. Instead of saying we need to adjust to the world says the world needs to adjust to our backwardness. Backward does not mean bad but in this case means not evolved to be fair to turists etc who make the place what it is.

11.17.23 05.10.2016

Tell me more, I am ex Czechoslovakian and so much shit I got from the people here in 10 days I never experienced in 10 years in UK. I d like to make a web and blog where people could create some anti racist system to combat the arrogant behavior. First of all landlords need to get under control, and then all the situation that make people feel unwelcome should be filmed by secret camera and streamed. Its the only way to learn, this is new era for these countries and they need proper education. Like kids. Polite wins in polite places and that"s why its not welcome here.

11.13.38 05.10.2016

i would like to share small experience with czech people. I spent thee days in Prague with my family to visit this beautiful city. Prague is absolutely amazing city and one of the oldest city i have visited in Europe. but what i saw something that really chocked me. In fact, during my trip near the Charles bridge i found a text written on a wall that says: fuck islam (find picture in attachment) . i was chocked but i said as usual that racist people exist everywhere and this shit will be removed quickly by police (police are everywhere in Prague). I decided to pass again after two days to check if it was removed or not, and the surprise that it was still here..

this may probably confirm that people does not care about removing this shit from the wall or they agree of what it is written and in both cases it is surprising for me. Do czesh people knows that muslims are humans like other people? there is almost 1 milliard of muslims around the world.

16.01.36 13.08.2016

Wooooowwww Thats was good...after 8 years living in CZ I have only one czech friend that even dont live too much here. Czech people are not bad, you just have to ignore them, A foreigner never will be here welcome, It is the tendency for Czechs to be negative, often exceedingly negative, toward their fellow countrymen and women.Its a postcommunist countrie/mentality :-) I can wrote a book about it or...maybe I just have very,very,very good look for assholes.....specially in Czechia :-)

12.26.22 02.08.2016

I am czech and lived abroad (Spain, Finland) and I do think there are several reasons why czechs might appear rude or xenophobic to some people. Czechs do have primarily tribal&family based culture so there is kind of cultural racism present - what I mean is that czechs are not in general extremely opened to welcome every new habit - I would say czech racism/xenophobie (if it can be named like that) is primarily based on two main pillars - 1.) "We do not need to adapt to your culture, you need to adapt to ours" 2.) Kind of this Israeli (Jewish) like exceptionalism combined with cultural racism. I openly admit that czechs do consider anybody except nations of former Holy Roman empire a bit backwards - but that is common experience of many national myths/stereotypes (we just predominantly and historically do share this germanized view of the world). Some of you may met a person who told you that Israelis are bit annoying - Czechs in my opinion do share similar characteristics like Israelis from similar reasons (surviving and keeping their culture despite an overwhelming majority of german speaking nations/ethnicities around). On the other side if you do integrate and you really get to know the language/culture/habits I think Czech rep. is not a bad place to live - more easy going/ less organized than Germany yet still germanized enough to keep things safe and going well comparing to many other countries. So important in my opinion is not to try to change Czechs - if you have problem with anybody you should first try to change yourself and your thinking/approach. I am trying this whenever I live and then you will find out are no barriers between people really - if I am living abroad, I am trying to be "invisible" and integrate to the culture . Czechs are not famous to forming big communities abroad (like other nations).... that is positive in my opinion, but on the other side they do like if others are integrated in Czech rep. (maybe it's a bad approach, but it's simply how it is historically developed). I think czechs in general are little bit like a Hobbits from Tolkien books.... liking home/family/food/beer without being exposed much to the external world influences while at home "valley"

23.12.34 04.07.2016

Hello, I have to be honest. When I arrived to Prague I had so many people telling me that Czechs were cold, etc. I even met a girl from Ukraine that would say that Czechs would treat her coldly and indifferent since her childhood because of her accent. I tried to avoid listening to these things as I needed to adapt and didn't want to judge.
One of my first negative experiences was that I went to this local café right in the corner because my internet hadn't been installed yet, so I started working there and consuming, of course, I was being mindful of consuming a fair amount since I was staying for 3-4 hours. On the second day,, I noticed people started looking at me coldly, they started playing a song I liked and I acted friendly and excited about it and... they changed it. Finally, the place got packed and one of the waiters told me out loud in front of everybody and coldly "You need to leave". I asked why? He said I was not consuming and people needed my place. Even though I did consume, once I reached the counter the cashier looked confused when I paid for the last cake I had, apparently, they hadn't realized I was still consuming. I talked about this negative experience in the forum and everybody said it was my fault, then I apologized and forgot the whole thing.
I've been living here for almost 2 years, I've been making big efforts to be social and meeting friends and I have, but most of my friends are Americans, Spanish, French, Italian, I have 0 Czech friends. I have also "tried" dating Czech girls unsuccessfully, I've had 0 success even though I have met over 50 girls. This is the first country where this ever happened. I made a Venezuelan friend and he told me it was normal and that all his Latin friends who married a Czech ended up divorcing and that he had a Czech girlfriend and he told me she was completely indifferent at times and at the end she told him they should date more people: they broke up.
My last experience was that I met a girl who could speak Spanish, she invited me to some dancing classes, once I arrived, everybody was Czech and acted indifferent towards me, it even looked as if the instructor was running away from me every time I tried to ask him questions. The class became a nightmare when they started doing some advanced moves (me a beginner) I even heard the word "Stupid" behind my back some 3 times. People corrected my moves rudely, the instructor didn't care. In the end I tried to have conversations with people (granted I don't speak Czech but I swear of God in my country people would acknowledge foreigners and try to be kind or integrate them even not speaking a single word of English), the experience was a nightmare and I even had to leave my "date" behind. I've lived all over the world so I'm very open to cultures and not quick to judge but my Spanish friends who have been living in the city for 3 months are absolutely creeped out and fed up with the coldness, they say they're happy they're going back home. The city is beautiful, but yes, finally I can really say it is not my imagination: Czechs are cold and very indifferent, specially to foreigners, and not in touch with their feelings. My friends say it is a strategy to peacefully fight gentrification. I'm off to Barcelona in 3 months, see ya!

15.52.53 09.06.2016

They never offer you a seat. Actually a gypsy is more likely to offer you a seat than a Czech.

03.40.43 06.06.2016

I live in Plzen and I'm 5 months pregnant. No one and I mean not a single soul stands up to offer me a seat in the tram and my belly is already huge. My boss in one of the schools I teach for did everything possible to cause me anger and stress during my first trimester knowing I had a very problematic pregnancy and recently when I asked him to pay me a money difference he owed me, he simply fired me. I don't know where you found the 'old fashioned politeness' as these people here seem deployed of the utmost humanity!
Diana

01.28.53 06.06.2016

I have lived here in Czech. being a Brown girl, from India, I have met some incredibly great people of different ages from Czech, mind you, all are Czechs. but somehow, i always had this airy feeling of being uncomfortable here all the time. I have had a lot of racism in ways i could never think i would get. people here somehow categorize you as a gypsy if you are brown. they somehow never make you feel like home.i have lived in other parts of europe and people have never made you feel uncomfortable in anyway and rather help when you need it. which i found it so hard to find here. being a well educated person and coming from a good family, i feel like people look down at me and cateogrize me into something i am not and i dont earn the respect i should. but hey, even those Gypsies are humans and everyone has right to live there lives and earn respect. just cuz one person is bad not everyone is and not every czech are good and there are bad ones too. but just one thing i have learnt from all this exprience, its not the people who you should be afraid of and get depressed and believe in what your dreams are and who is important to you.

07.17.02 20.04.2016

All foreigners, please read this first. And i'm sorry in advance for my cussing. Some things just really piss me off.

So, i'm Czech. I totally agree with all the negative comments. It's absolutely the truth. And i don't care about the communism and it's effect on our people. Even if older people were grumpier because of that...what would that has to do with racism? I mean, the only kind hate i could somehow get would be towards Russians as they occupied us (i say i would get it, not that it's reasonable...of couse it's stupid as long as the person doesn't hold the same views as those russian fascists back then). But what about asians? Blacks? Latinos? Arabs? Unfortunatelly we really have too many racists and there is no excuse. Don't get me wrong, the majority of people are OK (in sense that even if some of them are racist, they will never do anything wrong to you...they will even help you etc and just have their screwed up idea in mind..) So as a foreigner, you totally can live here without every day attacks or something like that. You'll just from time to time experience some primitive asshole with inappropriate remarks. Unfortunatelly the "from time to time" is more often than i'd like to or than it'd be "totally acceptable". Given the above, if i was a foreigner, i'd choose any other western country in a heartbeat. If you have a choice and you are not caucasian, leave the Czech Rep. as your last option... Spain, Germany, even France, USA....way better in terms of racism.

And i HATE people like Praguer (guest) below that say shit like "it's OUR country, bla bla bla, you should learn our language if you wanna stay, bla bla bla.." It's exactly those who then refuse to speak english when asked something and say these uncomfortable things that many people mentioned here. Praguer, FUCK YOU. Nobody fucking cares about Czech Rep. Get over it. Who the fuck you think you are to force anybody to do anything? Do you fucking own the country? Yeah, i don't think so. So shut the fuck up!!!

See, i warned you. It had to come out. My view is this: It's nobody's business to tell other people what they should do just because they're in his/her country. If you don't wanna learn our language, i don't care. It's gonna be more difficult for you here, because not everybody speaks english...but you absolutely know that so....why should we even talk about it..

Have a nice day, foreigners!

17.19.24 17.04.2016

I have been living in Prague for just under 2 years and I have never met so many rude people. This article says that one reason for the hostility is the communist regime, but that was 40 years. I don't think that the communist regime is the main reason but rather think that it is in their blood and communism just helped. I have also noticed that people with higher education, such as university graduates, professors, etc., are more courteous. They actually treat you with some dignity and politeness, which is something you don't often get. It's a wonderful gesture to offer your seat on the public transportations, but let's be serious, Czechs are not the only people who give up their seats. It's quite a common gesture to offer your seat for those in need. I feel that there are so many people who have never seen or felt the outside world, instead they only think and measure by their "Czech standards" which are very rude and impolite. When foreign people feel this hostility, the Czechs who are actually nice are obscured, and are left with a feeling that this is not a country they want to come back to.

14.34.18 25.11.2015

well, i am czech and i do NOT hate foreigners, neither does the whole country, they are just fucking over-protective..

15.25.10 27.10.2015

David in Pilsen (Guest) Published: 10:25:19 14.10.2015
What's up people. First off I think people hate people like me from the US 50 50.most young people are cool but the older folks do not like us. The girls in this country seem to be the only ones able to speak English and that's fine with me lol. The girls in Pilsen are fine and I'm from cali. But every once in a while u run into some young dude who speaks a little English. I found people here keep to themselves. It's weird seeing people that have shirts on that say things in English and they have no idea how to speak English. I hate seeing new York Yankees hats I really do. Please if your Czech please don't sport a NY hat please. Well anyway come to the Czech its a beautiful country with beautiful people and great beer. Trust me u won't regret it. Dave in Pilsen
Comment from: Published: 07:24:54 05.03.2015
theyre screwing with us
JohnnyFuckYourAppleDick(Guest) Published: 09:38:25 24.02.2015
Proven Done
Comment from: Published: 09:48:17 05.05.2013
@Paul, i did not purpose to post the same statement twice, i guess it's a technical issue...Anyway, I do not see any benefit to continue on this discussion,,, I did not know that only people who love Czechs are allowed to share their feelings...@ Downtownman,, believe or not I am courage enough to say whatever i believe under any kind of circumstances.. Fear does not prolong the life duration.
Comment from: Published: 06:51:21 05.05.2013
@Paul = First I do not have to love Czechs to live in CR, however for sure I am going to leave ASAP as I get what I am supposed to get from CR.. I do my best to have minimum communication and integration with them during my staying. Apart from this if u wish to try to kick my ass I rather you tell me on my face instead of showing off in the virtual world.
Comment from: DowntownMan Published: 04:28:17 05.05.2013
@Yavuz9 Do you tell the Czechs you hate them in their face instead of showing off in the virtual world? As so many foreigners who came before you, will you blame the Czechs for your shortcomings if you don't get what you are supposed to get from the CR?
Comment from: Petr Netečný Published: 08:26:23 05.05.2013
@yavuz9 So aside from a bad attitude towards the people who graciously allow you to stay in their country, you also have a learning disability in reading? I said, "Don't let the door hit you on the ass as you leave ASAP". To translate for you, it means "if you don't like it here, get the hell out as quickly as possible. No one will feel the pain of your absence." If you feel that that is showing off in the virtual world, so be it. You certainly haven't enhanced your image in your comments.
Comment from: Published: 07:37:16 05.05.2013
@Paul = First I do not have to love Czechs to live in CR, however for sure I am going to leave ASAP as I get what I am supposed to get from CR.. I do my best to have minimum communication and integration with them during my staying. Apart from this if u wish to try to kick my ass I rather you tell me on my face instead of showing off in the virtual world.
Comment from: Published: 07:11:44 05.05.2013
as a foreigner, I have to admit that I hate the Czechs
Comment from: Petr Netečný Published: 10:59:00 04.05.2013
Comment from: yavuz9Published: 06:39:15 04.05.2013 as a foreigner, I have to admit that I hate the Czechs Don't let the door hit you on the ass as you leave ASAP.
Comment from: Published: 06:39:15 04.05.2013
as a foreigner, I have to admit that I hate the Czechs
straight(Guest) Published: 03:47:20 19.04.2013
Czech Republic is small country and most people are almost family. You cannot became family, you have not genes for it. Don´t forget czechs are not trained by x hundred years of heartless capitalism - they were mostly smallholders, rarely behaving with foreigners. They have not in genes various forms of dissemblance because they didn´t need it. They used small family environment where realtions and desired behaviour were obvious and they are confused by foreigner, especially foreigner who behave like tribesman even when czechs know he is not.
Comment from: Published: 05:49:12 21.03.2013
I would only add I see plenty of tourists not only pissing in the Old Town, but also spitting, throwing rubbish, etc. Prague is a great city and Old Town is fully on UNESCO list. I am upset myself as I treat it as a part of not only Czech value but also as an European treasure. Visitors should really check their attitude. For me it is same as pissing in someone's living room. Would you be happy if I took a piss in your flat? Second thing is that there is usually very little effort speaking Czech. Keep it in mind many of people working at stores earn little. They do not have a chance to learn languages and I noticed many of foreigners act really abusive when the cashier doesn't understand English. I am sorry but some comments are really unfair. If I would be so unhappy I would just leave the country.
Ivab(Guest) Published: 12:28:49 21.03.2013
Dear foreigners. Im 49 old Czech woman, working with foreigners, so believe me, experience I could hand out. I love how all you are moaning, but tried you subjected to criticism also your own country? All you are living here, in small Czech republic, maybe in wonderfull Prague and you are here from your own will. So why so much of moaning? If I would be unhappy abroad, I would be sitting in aircraft and never more wanting return in such horrible country, exactly as you describe horrific experiences from our miniature Czech republic. I could talk hours about racism in Great Britain, in USA or in Russia...... In this sweet Moscow, which so tearfully described nick "Krizzkin" as if it was the last bastion of peace on earth, ... so in this over sweet Moscow if you have dark hair, dark eyes and God forbid - you have some ancestors in Georgia, Chechnya etc, so you can just wait "gently" care from some "white power" group members. Bad name "Churka" is common and absolutely not taken like abusive :) ( in reality its totally dishonor) Or somebody from USA or GB expats is so "forgetful", that forgot problems in own country? Do you think, that all foreigners feel different, at least from beggining??? Come on and say true! How many dirty names you know for the Chinese, the Vietnamese, for Africans, and even for us? My family is big, we have 5 adult children. They studied abroad, so how I expected, their partners are foreigners. In this family we have British, French, German and Serbian members and I never heard such moaning, throught all years, how I have read in this stupid artickle and in your comments. If we have family meeting in Serbia, we respect how Serbians behave, in French we will respect all around etc. If we dont like something, so we still have a choice whether to stay or go back home, because we know that its simply DIFFERENT country. You are guests here .... so its weird ways come visit country and try learn owners how to behave :) My advice: Firstly read comment from " SIGNS" Published: 09:22:29 20.03.2013, then try be soul-searching and then just then start write critic comments. And sorry for mistakes in my english language....
Comment from: Published: 09:22:29 20.03.2013
Hate foreigners? This is pretty much harsh statement. I am not Czech but I live in the Old Town and let me share few things with you. First of all most visitors are very loud. They talk so loud it almost blow your head. Secondly they walk with paying no attention and I'm finding it very disrespectful. They are pushy and many times they block whole street not to mention subway exits. The biggest problem for me are drunk people. I found many of drunk guys literally pissing on the street. Like seriously? I think they might be just tired of all that. I am finding Czech people as rather cold but I wold not call it being rude, but once you will get to know Czech better you will find them as a great friends.
Duck(Guest) Published: 09:08:03 15.03.2013
I am Czech born in Prague but traveled trough many countries and live in England. the attitude and behaviour is everywhere same these days and it depends on social status, earnings. those who belong to middle upper/high class are ambitious, well traveled, well educated, and behave politely, are generaly happy and dont need to be jealous. those who are lazy, not willing to make any change, work hard earn less money, are less happy therefore hostile and jealous of others and blaming others for their unhappy life. i have seen it in England and i met wtih lots of jealousy when i was around those 'losers' or english people feel insecured when i show my intelligence, knowledge. i realised i have to keep distant from majority of people and keep quiet and head down. you have to adapt when you are in other country and if its not suit you , you have to find other place. the fact is, that czech are not generally more jealous they just show it more, instead of give you fake smile and stabing your back later on. find people that are well traveled and happy with their life, dont bother with the unstable ones. and last advice. czechs are generally hostile towards very different culture and there is reasons for it. look what happened to germany, england. multiculturism is a forced ideology by european goverment and posesing great thread in future.
Audipod(Guest) Published: 07:11:56 11.03.2013
I'm Czech (damnit) but I hate Czech's and I love everybody else, I was born in London but then we had to move to Prague because of work, I hated it ever since...
UK Traveller(Guest) Published: 02:00:25 23.02.2013
I completely agree with everything you've said. Came back from Prague last weekend and was shocked. I had expected this behaviour having read previous reviews, however thought they'd be on par with the Dutch and Germans, however those countries seem like complete angels compared to the Czech's utter rudeness. Not just 'rude' but going out of their way to ensure your life is a misery in the brief 10 second conversation. Being half white I primarily felt this didn't help the situation, however when they were just as rude to my full white British partner it became apparent they disliked everyone (noticed they were even rude to each other on occasions). We went on a tour guide by an Aussie guy married to a Czech and he said 'that give them the benefit of the doubt because they've had a hard history.' And I completely agree with your comment that the 20year old waitress did not suffer from communism - so what is her excuse?? Plus, there are plenty of countries who have suffered far worse. I also must add that these people working in customer service in the town centre rely solely on us tourists - without us there would be no jobs for them, so the least they could do is not throw my change back in my face. Do they not realise how many accidents are caused on British roads by Czech lorry drivers?? You don't see me blaming the whole nation for that...
Comment from: Published: 10:41:19 21.02.2013
@Marimari: I agree that your comment is a really good one. I also have heard the "we've been conquered so many times" excuse for Czechs' wariness of foreigners and even their generally surly public personas. But come on – have Czechs really fared so poorly in this world of ours? There are plenty of nations that have been constantly invaded and conquered, and most of these nations don't use their history as an excuse for being nasty to each other or foreigners decades or even centuries later. I think there's something deeper to this mentality of constantly feeling wronged by others even when there's not really much evidence to suggest its true, or at least that it's any different than anywhere else.
Comment from: ConfusedMan Published: 10:17:52 21.02.2013
@Marimari: Probably the true(st) comment anyone has ever made about the CZs. You just took that out of my mouth. Now this discussion should end here.
Comment from: Published: 08:45:33 21.02.2013
I'm American, been here 22 years, speak fluent Czech - and I identify with many of the positive and negative comments made here - some Czechs are xenophobic and grumpy, with a chip on their shoulder, blaming others for their misfortunes rather than taking responsibility for their own happiness in life. Others are open and more welcoming, proving to be generous-spirited, true friends (but it takes time!). A Czech friend once pointed out to me that, in the Czech's history, when they have had contact with foreigners, the Czechs have been dominated, subjected to the will of outsiders' , trampled on and generally not fared too well. As a result, they are wary and suspicious of foreigners (a subconscious fear 'How might this person harm me? What might they do to me?' - safer to stick with your own kind). One thing I would add, from my own observations and discussions with Czech friends, the Czechs in general (but, not all of them) do not seem to be very happy in themselves, or with their lot. Hard then to be bubbly, bright and cheerful towards others when you are steeped in your own unhappiness.
jeff(Guest) Published: 01:41:08 18.02.2013
Czechs are not that bad, yes the service is poor but as a french citizen i can tell you that i would rather have a miserable Czech waitress than an rude parisian waiter I have been living here on and off for the last six and the Czechs are great people, as soon as you know a few locals you soon realise that they are a very easy going bunch. I don't speak a word of Czech, but I can walk my way around and yes they don't really make an effort to help me, but why should they? I am the lazy one who does not want to learn the language, at least I can show a bit of courtesy and a smile
Antonie(Guest) Published: 11:18:51 18.02.2013
As a Czech, I sincerely apologize to all foreigners who have been treated unfairly and who have experienced racism or any rude comments :-( I have to admit that personally I had to move abroad (currently living in the UK) to see for myself how horrible Czechs can be. I am just not sure whether they should be pardoned for this due to the historical evolution or whether they should be seriously accused of being so rude and unhelpful. I am planning to move back to Prague this summer and I have to tell you, I am dreading how the Czechs will accept me - a true Czech expat. LOTS OF LUCK TO ALL WHO STRUGGLE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC - please don't think that we're all horrible.. :-(
PPRAAAGER(Guest) Published: 05:05:10 15.01.2013
Same story, people u r just so blind or what??? Everywhere are racists, i love when americans, english, russians talking really suprised about this problem, ahaaa, i forgot, your countries are heaven on earth and for foreighners specially:))) i was born in prague, not racist, my wife is mexican....suprisly in mexico is racism also, like everywhere. NOT TRUE IN PRAGUE IS MORE!!!! AND TOTALLY AGREE WITH OTHER GUY, AMERICANS, C MON I KNOW CZECH LANGUAGE IS HARD , BUT WHEN U R LIVING SOME YEARS IN CZECH AND ONLY WORD U CAN SAY IN CZECH IS ,, PIVO,, IS JUST DISRESPECT OF THE COUNTRY FROM YOUR SIDE. PEACE
Praguer(Guest) Published: 06:31:55 07.01.2013
Dear foreigners, I am Czech and I have nothing against foreigners. But you must remember that Czech republic is OUR country. When you live in Czech republic you should adjust to our rules. Please do not try to change our national psyche. And for those who live here more than several years, it would be appropriate to learn at least basic of czech language (I know that many foreigners who live here ten or more years don´t speak even basic of czech. It is quite rude to locals, isn´t it?) When you are in Rome, behave like Romans.
img(Guest) Published: 07:46:56 02.01.2013
I am a new student in Prague. It is 5 months now since I came here and all I have seen in Czech people, especially old, being so impolite and rude to me. I have had difficulties in buying train tickets, in the metro even in my dorm. I have met old people who spoke fluent English, but did not want to reply in English to me saying " This is Czech Republic, WE SPEAK CZECH HERE". I am from Kosovo, but I have lived in Spain and Turkey and people in both of these countries were so friendly and tried to make everyone feel comfortable. I do not know what is the issue, but everyone seems like they have a problems that keeps chasing them and does not let them be happy. The only time that I see everyone smiling is on a Friday night when most of them are drunk. If you visit the Balkans who also have been through communism, you find the people to be much more cheerful and polite there. I really try hard to be polite by using kind words and smiling to people but I hardly ever get a smile back. I also have noticed that Czech people are so jealous of each other. I have some Czech students in some of my classes I can really say that they literally consider themselves enemies not friends when it comes to grades, each of them wants to outshine the other. I know that what I wrote might seem very depressing and rude to someone but this is the reality. This is what most of the internationals who visit the Czech Republic think. Since I see no improvement I think I will try to minimize my contact to older people, youngsters tend to be more friendly and more receptive to internationals.
Jean(Guest) Published: 03:47:53 05.12.2012
thanks for the article. i am married to a czech, and moved here last july. i come from asia where people are generally friendly and warm. although my experiences with czechs have largely been positive, i have also experienced surly service and even rudeness in shops, cafes, etc. it has hit me very hard initially. but then i realized that back home, there are people just like that, too. also, i have noticed that czechs (in my experience) can seem rather distant. but once they get to know you, they can be as warm as any other nation. the czech friends i have are wonderful people.
Comment from: Published: 12:03:19 04.12.2012
I am a woman living here, and I too see the surly-ness. I try ( for mine and my children's benefit) to keep an attitude of cheer as much as possible. Often, thanking someone profusely while smiling is enough to knock a small chink off the rough exterior. And here is something I wonder if others have noticed... Is it me or are WOMEN much, much more sour here than the men? I find many men to be kind, quiet, and considerate. The older gentleman on the tram giving me sign language style directions... The kind dad who seems to have such patience with his kids on th train...etc. I have very, very dear Czech friends, and I do believe it is only the exterior that is so rough, in most circumstances. But I find it sad-- because it keeps this country in a chronically pessimistic state. Czech pessimism... That is a topic for an article!! P.S The idea that American friendliness is NEVER authentic is the most ridiculous notion I have heard lately. That clearly comes from an expat who has prejudices against his own country. Which I know is tempting for many of us at times, but really... Never authentic?
Comment from: Published: 11:53:28 04.12.2012
When a Czech is grumpy or rude to me, I take a deep breath and think of all the shit they've suffered as recently as 20 years ago, and let it pass. As a side note: One of the things I love about Czech republic is that it isn't just another nation of money grabbing insincere capitalists. Of course it will get more so, but I like things more old-fashioned and traditional. So yep, if I'm not right in the centre of Prague, I'll tip you two crowns- feel free to scowl! It's better than a fake smile any day.
MK(Guest) Published: 11:06:31 04.12.2012
I've noticed one comment "just to say hello in Czech"...doesn't really work. My Czech is basic, and when I start explaining something in Czech, I hear "don't speak Czech, if you cannot do that properly". That makes me feel uncomfortable and miserable. That often happens to my friends. Sad.
Comment from: Published: 01:40:13 04.12.2012
Ok then, guys, I am that f***ing RUSSIAN!!! I study currently in Prague, and I shall say that you probably know nothing about the gloomy looks of Czechs. The point is that I am a girl, a lawyer, who came here to study on the international program, polite, intelligent and sensitive - but nevertheless I get treated like sh*t.. At first when I arrived and expected to find myself in smiling European country, that was just a shock to me. Later I had to face real problems with living here and communication (no matter that I speak 4 foreign languages), and I cried practically every day and felt miserable: like I am hated by the majority and ignored by the rest... Now I cannot find a room to rent and already got used to the answer, that the owner accepts no Russians.. Want to go home to my sweet and open-hearted Moscow so much!!!
International (Guest) Published: 09:57:34 27.11.2012
Well, it als depends which part you lived in, i Lived in Brno, and many Racist people are here, well i speak acceptable Czech now, and i can understand almost everything, but i always pretend that i cannot speak/understand Czech, it is not true that all older people are not friendly and dislike Foreigner ! some of them are friendly and kind, the problem is the ignorance, some of the Czech people thinking they are the best in the world, and they don't know a damn thing about the world, also it depends where are you from ! i have been telling some lies to find out how will i be treated, so for example, if you would say that you are From U.S you will be respected, and even problem makers wouldn't want to make a problem with you, since my look, it fucking awesome, that i can tell what ever and people would even believe it , i said i am from south Africa, and was no welcome, but by the girl i was ! Other times i been telling that i am from south America, Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, and some time i was rejected, so it also depends where you from, since i tried this many times, and seen the same every time, i tried even more ... so if you are from a country which is know by the Czechs, and they like that country, you are welcomed automatically, but if you are from a place which they know few things about, it depends what the fuck do they know, about the place, and that is the way you will be treated, so Where are you from is the Very first Question you will be asked, even before they speak with you for 5 Minutes, and that is the fucked up mentality that you will be treated as a nation no as a person, also when Czech cannot Speak English, they will most probably dislike you, because they know they cannot understand a damn thing of what you say, once i was told ( This is Czech republic : Speak Czech ) Well it is not Fucking easy to learn such a language, also since all Czech TV is dubbed, there is low percentage of people speaking English, sometimes i speak English and i get answers in German, because some people have no fucking Idea what language am i speaking, don't be surprised since a generation grew up on the communist generation's hands, so there is STILL communism in the Czech republic, hate it or love it, this is the truth, But in general, when you speak English around people speaking English you are welcomed, mainly because they want to learn from you/ show off, if you speak Czech you would be fine But still as i said, it depends where you from, how you look .
Comment from: Published: 02:07:46 27.11.2012
Hi, I am czech girl and if you have bad experience with czechs...let´s have a coffee with me to prove that there are some friendly people here lol... I want to thank all foreigners for coming and living in the Czech Republic - you are making this beautiful city more cosmopolitan! Have a great day everyone!;)
Comment from: Richard NYC Published: 01:18:08 26.11.2012
Interesting article, but I have to quibble with citing statistics from 1993 as proof that "the number of foreigners settling in the country is on the rise". In fact, according to the same source, the number of foreigners fell from 2008 to 2010 (the latest stats available).
Val(Guest) Published: 12:56:46 20.11.2012
Married to Czech, have been here for many years now. I have experienced racism many times from Czechs as I come from Latin country and my skin is darker. It is no relevant whether it is because of history, culture, age, comunism or whathever explanation; this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Jugding others because of color is so uncivilized but here is a way of life....really sad. It is fair to say that not all Czech people think this way of course; I haveCzech friends who completely disapprove. Services here are the worst ever experienced!
Comment from: Published: 11:45:40 19.11.2012
Yes Czechs do hate foreigners, however it depends on demographics and age group. moravians are more receptive to foreigners. Age 16 to 25 are receptive to foreigners.
enrico bonaiti(Guest) Published: 08:14:31 11.11.2012
well, waht to add? I love Czech Republic and, generally said, the czechs... besides a married a Czech woman, who is a good patriot! My first trip to Czechoslovakia was in the year 1981, I found a dark, cord communist country, quite destroyed... now things are quite different. One of my biggest problems, visiting Czech Republic is which language shall I use? In the beginning, I thought that German would have beek ok but... I quickly had to turn it on English, since people often refused to answer my German words. English, I was said, is the language used by rich foreign living in Prague at convenient prices... it rests French and Italian, this last my Mother language but... who knows them? The difficult heritage connected with the interesting but often controversal Colutral mišmaš of the nation makes of Czech Republic a very special place. My Jewish roots feel atraction in such a country but life of jews was not that easy there, during last century and I ofen herad tha jews didn´t belong to the Czech nation, for they often spoke German... it is garbeled and it will takes some more (long) time to improve. Czechs are poeple who love their privacy, as italian, I met difficulties trying to introduce some Czech freinds to some others... they always say: "There will be an occasion!" but it is clear that they don´t wish to have one...
Comment from: SeoKungFu Published: 11:05:22 10.11.2012
Submission is the key to lowering one's ego, enjoy the practical practice experience :)
Barbara(Guest) Published: 04:59:28 09.11.2012
Ahoj from Asia. I lived in Praha for 51/2 years but at the moment I'm on a two year stint in an Asian country. I have to say that I really enjoyed my time in the Czech Republic. Yes, there were times when I met with rudeness, surliness and grouchiness but no more so than in my home countries of Ireland and Wales. I have travelled quite a bit in my 60 years on this planet and have to say that civil service people worldwide are genetically designed to be surly, rude and totally ignorant of the information you require even if you are in the department that specialises in it. Having said that I have met one or two nice people in the civil service. Some rules - don't tell them their job; try not to show impatience and learn a few Czech phrases. Learn a few czech phrases or take a translator with you - but make sure that they are a patient person. Grovelling can be good so rehearse a good, polite grovel and shelve your pride for a bit. You will come out the winner in the end. I know. Where I am living at present the people are so fiendly it is almost an invasion of ones privacy. I am earnestly seeking the individual who taught that 'Hello, how are you ?'as the universal greeting to English speakers with the expectation that one will receive an answer. This question is swftly followed by -'What is your 'name?'next- What is you country?', with a deft inside pass to 'How old are you?' Then - Are you married and if so how many children do you have?' 'If you unlucký enough to meet them again they may well ask how much you earn. I dealt with that one by saying that ieven firends who have known me all my life may not know the answer to that question. However, I have met some really great people and have made some good friends here but I can honestly say that when my contract is completed next summer, I am really looking forward to returning to the Czech Republic.
Comment from: Published: 10:08:19 09.11.2012
I am half Czech and half English. So gives me a little more insite. The article was just about on the ball. However from what I read in papers, the last two years the Czech population has risen on its own. With the baby boom. Otherwise yes, the population has ben decreasing. This is the age old story about grumpy service. In the UK you can go to Tesco's and do your shopping, go to the check out, where a smiling till girl will await. Even if they are on minimum wage. Here in Czech though, they are also on minimum wage and for them getting paid peanuts is depressing. So they sulk. To lazy to go and get a better job. Even bar staff, as only foreigners really give a generous tip. Czech's will leave a couple of crowns extra. Thus if a bill is 178 they will give 180. A basic rule of thumb, if it is a low paid job your going to have a grumpy Czech. The other factor which makes it worse is that Czech's are very jealous. As my old Czech friend said. If you put 150 Czech's in a field from poor to rich. Someone comes in a Skoda and the other in an Audi. There will be murder by the end of the day. So if your a foreigner here, yes your going to get evil eyes as they will think you have notes waiting to explode out of your pocket and why should you deserve that. They have slaved away for years and to only have a bus pass for their efforts. So the combination of a jealous based culture and the lack of urgency in a lot of individuals to get a better job. Gives you a grumpy till lady, wasp chewing barman and a window licking news stand attendant. I have focused mainly on the services sector. From my experience of Czech people outside of working area's. Then I have had many great times and a lots of laughs. They really know how to have a good time and are good hearted, very proud of who they are. I have never had any problems. Also being white. I know the Czech's from experience are racist, not all of course but in general. Same as the Austrians.
Comment from: Published: 05:45:15 06.11.2012
>>Czechs are the most happily, bubbly people I've ever encountered. Full of excitement and life and positivity. The only reason I can imagine for this is that have never been to any other country. Even the Germans are more 'bubbly', and are certainly much friendlier and much more welcoming to foreigners.
Comment from: msallen Published: 03:04:51 06.11.2012
As the author of this article I'd like to say a big thank you to those of you who have taken the time to leave detailed, insightful comments - thankfully the vast majority. I'm not going to respond in detail here as I plan to do so through Parts 2 and 3 of the series. However, I do feel that some of the negative responses are unhelpfully snarky. @Saskia I understand how easy it must have been for you to see my recent article in Easyjet's inflight magazine encouraging tourists to frequent the cafes and pubs locals might use rather than just heading to Costa and Starbucks as firm proof that I'm a Czech hating xenophobe. I should clearly pack up and go back to England - perhaps now I'm writing for them on a regular basis they'll offer me a discount.
Comment from: ducaticanine Published: 10:34:02 05.11.2012
Czechs are the most happily, bubbly people I've ever encountered. Full of excitement and life and positivity.
Saskia(Guest) Published: 09:05:57 04.11.2012
Dear author, would not it be better to ask quite a different question- why do you keep living in Czech rep., basically hating all the things around you that make it different from where you come from. I've recently read an article you wrote posted in EasyJet onboard magazine and was quite shocked. Being a foreigner myself, I cannot imagine someone "promoting" Prague would write smth like that. You are basically tired of being here, or hating it here. Take a long break out of here, for your goodness, for our pleasure.
Leza(Guest) Published: 09:47:52 03.11.2012
I was in the Czech Republic for a month while attending a summer semester at the University of Economics, Prague and I had NO issues with shotty service or bad attitudes. I spent a week of my time in South Bohemia in Pisek, Tyn nad Vlatvou, Temelin, as well as many small villages in between and as long as I was courteous and made an attempt at using their language, people were good to me. I was doing some genealogical research as my paternal grandfather was 100% Czech-American and I was interested in finding more about my family. I had no problems, even in Temelin....where my family once had a farm. Truth be told, I found the frankness refreshing from the fake and overly obnoxious "happy servers" of the US. I can't wait to return with my children in tow.
Comment from: missehiggins Published: 03:59:40 03.11.2012
I do not require waitresses/waiters/shop assistants to be my best friend, i do not need them to be effusively friendly or wildly cheerful looking. What I do want, however, is for them to be normally, humanly polite...lots of czechs in customer service positions fall sadly short of this very minimal requirement, and i never understand why. I have worked as a waitress and a shop assistant, i didn't like the jobs, they were badly paid and I wasn't very good at them. I was polite to customers though, not through fear of being complained about just cos as an adult dealing with strangers that is how you obviously should be until they prove themselves unworthy of politeness. Not sure why so many czechs dont get this.
Comment from: rmbsimoes Published: 04:59:11 02.11.2012
@Vladimir : You've made an excellent point there, and that's something I've said repeatedly to my Czech and expat friends alike : "The generation of people who were grown up before 1948 are usually very well mannered and the young generation is also improving by travelling and studying around the world." This is exactly what my experience here tells me. I've had wonderful encounters with older and younger people, but the ones between around 40 and 55 years old are normally the grumpy and impolite ones! Now, where does this come from? Education? Communism? Both?
Comment from: brianwilliams82 Published: 04:43:49 02.11.2012
There are a lot of good comments here and it pleases me that people are thinking about this before writing. My own perspective is that of a white, native English-speaking 'Westerner' so I can't comment on any any instances of discrimination or racism experienced by any black, latino or Arab folk as I haven't experienced this myself. People assume I'm a normal Czech until I open my mouth. :) For us white people, I do feel that this is the crux of the issue. We expect Czechs to be more than happy to bend over backwards for us while we make as little effort as possible to adapt to their way of doing things. This means that, yes, we do have to learn their language in order to be accepted. "But, it's hard and I don't want to!" Well, tough. You knew what you were getting into when you came here. I try to put the shoe on the other foot. If a Frenchman came to live in England or Ireland and forced you, a normal store clerk, to trawl through your memory banks for whatever basic French you learned in school, would you be very happy about it? Would you even be able? Yet that is what we ask of Czechs. I've seen a massive difference in my interactions with folk from the time I arrived until the present day, now that I have some kind of grasp on this language. The argument reminds me of that old phrase: 'Every time you point your finger at somebody, there are 3 pointing straight back at you.'
Comment from: Catskill Published: 09:33:09 02.11.2012
I lived in Germany for a long time and I can tell you that years ago the service stunk! Even at big dept. stores employees would talk to you like they would be doing you a favor and their demeanor was not very jolly... Same with the rest, but things have changed. The reason? Competition!. people don't like to go where they are not well treated..(how odd!).. even if it is totally, entirely faked like in the U.S. I bet the same will occur in CZ @fld You did need an education in weaponry and I thought you would appreciate it, considering that you were keen in using the reference. Sorry if I offended you.
Faraz(Guest) Published: 10:19:46 01.11.2012
I think grumpiness and bad customer service are nothing to do with hating anyone. It really is a CZ trait, sadly.Many CZ people are also appalled by it. It does I feel have something to do with Communism as well. I mean if you were standing in line to get bananas Iam sure the shopkeepers did feel like Gods. But yes it doesnt explain why the younger ones are so obnoxious sometimes. I feel they are just tired and underpaid - slaves of capitalism, unwillingly perhaps. The other question is what type of foreigner are we speaking of. Excuse my French, but white foreigners dont have it that bad. Come into my coloured world and you see something totally different. Some even call us exots - implying exotic ofcourse. 2/3 of CZ according to surveys would not like a coloured neighbor. There is blatant and often frustrating racism prevalent in this country. But the Czech are not bad people. You have to fight it. I know of places where foreigners, esp. doctors have made a very good name. You must fulfill some criteria though - learn the language, respect the culture, indulge in small talk. And you will see see even Mrs Grumpy will warm up to you. MMuch like people anywhere in the world. Foreigners are still a novelty in this country, esp. coloured people. And lets not talk about PRG. There is a Czech Republic beyond the borders of PRG too. All I can say is I got used to the grumpiness having spent more than a decade here, it didnt bother me, even the quaint racist comments or behavior. So much so that when recently I went to Irelannd /of all places/ I was shocked by how open and friendly the people were there. I never felt like a foreigner there, infact, I felt very ordinary, after a long time. Almost disappointing.