18. 2. 2010

What expats in Brno say: do the dirty stations have to be a rule?

Monika Niebelska is 25 years old and she has been living in Brno for more than a year. Her hometown is Wroclaw, Poland.



What do you like about Brno?

I had been living for over 20 years in the very centre of a city that is more or less as big as Brno and I can say that life in Brno goes slower than in my hometown. It’s a good thing when you need some rest but at the same time Brno is not devoid of entertainment and night life if you need some of that.

This place reminds me more of Poland in the middle of 90’s than the second largest city in Czech Republic. It’s like a nostalgic time machine trip.

What do you not like about Brno?

I am used to dirty railway and bus stations in Eastern Europe but does it really have to be a rule? Both bus and train stations are places where most of the visitors have their first contact with Brno and also their first (not so good) impression. It’s really nice that right after you leave the station you can catch a tram in many different directions but ploughing through crowded passage in urine fumes with a heavy bag that you have to drag up the stairs can be really annoying. Not to mention Asian salesmen selling their products right on the street taking a lot of space.

Do you know some “best practices” or experience from living in other cities which could be of use in Brno, too?

Brno has a few good places to cycle but it’s mostly somewhere outside the city’s centre. We don’t need another Amsterdam but few bicycle paths would be really good.

What do you think is its advantage compared with other cities?

The main advantage of this city is its location in picturesque Southern Moravia. It’s also not that far from Vienna or Prague. On the other hand, I think that Brno’s not using 100% of its advantage.

Where do you see the way to make Brno more open and attractive for foreigners (expats)?

The main problem is not only language barrier but also Czech’s attitude towards speaking with foreigners. I’m staying here in a dormitory for foreign students and I can say that not only receptionist here knows at least basic English.

And it’s similar in shops, banks and other places where a foreigner can find himself during his stay in Brno. I don’t expect any fluent English but sometimes a bit of good communication will is better than yelling at people that they don’t speak Czech when they come to Czech Republic.

What place in Brno you think is really unique and should be more promoted?

I like the green paths along Svratka river. They remind me of my hometown. Once I got lost there and found my way to Kamenna Ctvt’ and I was really astonished that someone could built houses in the old quarry.

4 komentáře:

Zuzana řekl(a)...

I took care about foreign students here in Brno and I have to admit, there´s not everything so perfect as it could be. However, a receptionist at dormitory is not the best exmple, since these employees are despised by local students, too. They are horrible in so many ways, that speaking in English is the last thing you would expect of them :-/
Besides, people who can communicate in English won´t do such a badly paid job as a work in shop or behind a counter.

Problems with train stations wouldn´t be only of Eastern Europe. From what I heard, for example, Paris is much more worse with this. And it won´t take long time and there would be a new train station in Brno.

I think Brno is not ready to welcome a world yet, but there are many changes last days...
However, Brno´s inhabitants have never felt a need to become wordly, they love their city and don´t want to change it because of someone else.

mruk řekl(a)...

Of course that people who communicate in English don't do lousy paid job. However wouldn't be natural if they could use at least basic English vocabulary as long as they work in a place for foreigners?

Anonymní řekl(a)...

mruk: The dormitory is especially for Czech students. On the other hand, we could say that students who come to the Czech Republic could learn a few basic phrases in Czech (and to be honest, some of them don't manage, not even during a 2 semester stay).

Anonymní řekl(a)...

Come to Vinarska and ask for Czech students there. That's the first thing. Of course I agree with you that some international students don't manage and don't bother learning anything in Czech even when they staying here for studies. Don't take it so narrow. It's not just a dormitory thing to speak foreign language.