Aids to learning Czech for new expats in Prague

Aids to learning Czech for new expats in Prague

Aids to learning Czech for new expats in Prague

For the vast number of expatriate professionals heading to unfamiliar lands, learning the local language is one of the most dreaded aspects of living and working overseas.

The challenge of moving overseas, whether it’s for career enhancement, starting up a new business or retiring to a less expensive, more peaceful location, isn’t made any easier by the sad fact that most of the popular destinations don’t have English as a second language. Prague is no exception to this rule, and the Czech tongue is rated as one of the world’s most difficult to learn.

Foreign services consider achieving a basic level of conversational ability will take over a thousand hours of study, far longer than other languages such as Swahili, Africaans or Indonesian. As a result, Prague is packed with language schools charging rates which aren’t exactly budget-friendly. It’s no wonder that many expat arrivals in the popular city decide against becoming bilingual!

The good news is that, as long as you’re prepared to take learning Czech very seriously, there are cheap or even free resources that can get you started without your having to chose between eating and talking. One popular provider, the Centre for the Integration of Foreigners, gives individual lessons without the need for registration, with 90 minutes twice weekly the average. Each lesson is stand-alone as regards content, meaning missing a week won’t leave you struggling to catch up. Beginners’ courses cost 50CZK and run for six months.

Anther option is the ICP Czech language Beginner and Basic level courses at 100 lessons each and concentrating on conversation, comprehension and grammar. Each course is, technically, free, although a 2,000CZK deposit is needed. Students who manage to attend at least 70 per cent of the classes have their deposits refunded in full.

For expat arrivals who’ve managed to pick up a little of the language before arrival, language exchanges are the answer for those for whom speaking is essential. Some do cover absolute beginners, and the structure of the classes helps recognition of frequently used phrases. Free language exchanges are also a good way to meet new friends in an informal setting, as they’re normally held in either social co-working spaces or friendly coffee shops.

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