9. 7. 2009

What expats in Brno say: It isn't ruined by tourism yet

Crissy Swartz was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Currently, She is an International Tour Director and CELTA instructor. Her business is travelling. Due to her husband's position, they have been living in Brno/Hustopece for 1 year now. This is their 19th move, and their 12th year living outside of the USA.

What do you like and don't like in Brno?

I love the friendly people I have met. It is a lonely place when you can not speak the language. Those that take the time to say "hello" and include you in their conversations make my day! I love that Brno isn't ruined by tourism yet, it feels Czech. You don't walk around and only hear tourist groups talking. On the other hand, I wish there was information on the cultural kiosks, in English, so I would know what was going on and could understand how to get tickets. I wish there was a sign ordinance in the city. The beauty of the city is becoming covered up by advertisement signs. Sad! Hustopece is a lovely community and could be the "gateway to the vineyards" if marketed correctly.

Do you know some “best practices” or experience from living in other cities which could be of use in Brno, too?
There needs to be an International Women's Club for ALL expats. This would allow us to meet people since the Czech language is difficult to learn in a short period of time. There needs to be a place for expats to meet Czech women who speak English and other languages, too. HR departments should have this as part of their networking for employees.

Where do you see the way how to make Brno more open and attractive for foreigners?
There needs to be an International school to attract the bright young families. Without a well known accredited international school, you won't attract the bright young families. They will all go to Prague. Their needs to be coordination between realtors for locating good rental housing for international families. Also, these companies need to help families find medical services which speak their language.

What is your favourite place in Brno which is really unique?
I enjoy the view from Petrov Hill under the Cathedral looking out over the city. I love to take guests to see the dining room and have a drink at the bar inside the Royal Ricc Hotel. It is something you don't see in the states!

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