1. December 2020 Blog

Living in Prague as an Expat

Have you ever considered working as an expat? Taking this step can be both the most amazing experience in the world and the hardest. But magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone. Getting a job in a foreign country is often a ticket to being happier and to pushing your career forward.

Anna Korosi

I’m Anna Korosi, one of the Customer Support Representative at CloudTalk. I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city known for its many bridges and for being the birthplace of Heinz Ketchup. Before leaving the US, I was working in restaurants as a pastry cook but decided that I needed an environment and career change—so I enrolled in a TEFL course and moved to the Czech Republic.

How long have you been living in Prague? 

I moved to Prague in November 2019.

Why did you decide to work and live in this country? 

Moving to a European country out of the blue always seemed so daunting and impossible, until I learned that some people I knew were able to successfully call Prague their adoptive home. Upon moving here, I quickly learned what an expat-friendly city it is. 

Why do you believe it is great to work and live for some time in a different country?

Despite the majority of my experience so far being locked down due to the pandemic, I am very thankful for the fun times and the challenges that I have been able to take advantage of. Struggling with the Czech language is one of the most challenging parts of living here, but having friends—both expats and locals—with various degrees of experience with the language has made it a lot easier to learn

Did you uncover some cultural differences when comparing the country you are living in vs. your own culture? 

One thing that I was warned about when first moving here was that Czech people were not friendly towards strangers, at least not in the way that Americans are. I was advised to not take it personally when the woman you make eye contact with on the tram does not smile at you and sheepishly looks away, which is not what I’m used to having come from the States. Charming exceptions to the rule are the verbal greetings and farewells of strangers that seem to only occur when entering and exiting the lift. Also, witnessing carps being butchered outside grocery stores during Christmastime was a new experience, to say the least. 

What attracted you to CloudTalk initially? 

I had the pleasure and luck of being hired at CloudTalk a couple of weeks after the first lockdown in Prague began, after having spent months seeking an English teaching position—which was the original reason to move abroad. I hadn’t had any experience in a professional atmosphere of this type after the past decade of working solely in kitchens, but I was excited for the opportunity to start at a young company with room for growth. In just under a year of being with CloudTalk, I have been able to have many different responsibilities that allow me to view the workings of the company from multiple perspectives. 

Now, after some time, what do you value most about CloudTalk?

One of the things that I most value at CloudTalk is the respectful way that I am treated by my colleagues and superiors. I have felt like my needs have always been considered, ever since I started.

Is it difficult to stay in touch with all of your teammates when you work from a different country?

I feel that the technology we use allows me to collaborate successfully with my colleagues, who live anywhere from Spain to the Philippines. I look forward to being able to travel again so that I can finally meet my teammates in Slovakia. I’ve been working with them since April!

What is the best long-term scenario for you? Full remote work, 50:50 or full office work?

As much as I love being able to work in comfy pants, the cat I adopted in November has proven to be a very noisy and distracting work companion, so I look forward to getting back to the office at least a few days a week. 

If you had to pick one line about what it’s like to Iive in Prague as an expat, what would it be?

Move somewhere with castles and sma┼żený sýr!

Do innovation, transformation and collaboration get your adrenaline pumping?

Chris Hoang

I was born and raised in the beautiful and sunny Los Angeles, California. I grew up watching the Lakers as a kid and still support them to this very day. A few years later, I moved to Santa Barbara, California, to attend UCSB. There, I received my undergrad degree in Political Science/International Relations. After graduation, I spent some time traveling Europe and eventually moved to Prague to attend Charles University.

How long have you been living in Prague?  

I have been in Prague since September 2015.

Why did you decide to work and live in this country? 

I originally came for a Master’s in International Security Studies. However, I decided to stay because I fell in love with this city.

Why do you believe it is great to work and live for some time in a different country?

I enjoy living in a different country because you’re able to meet people from all over the world. Because of that, you learn new perspectives that are otherwise left unnoticed. It’s also a challenge as you step out of your comfort zone, moving away from the routine that you might have gotten accustomed to back home. This makes you reevaluate your capabilities and limitations.

Did you uncover some cultural differences when comparing the country you are living in vs. your own culture? 

The people are a bit more reserved, but this doesn’t mean they are somehow mean. People back home are just much friendlier from the get-go.

What attracted you to CloudTalk initially? 

The main reason is that it was a startup and the opportunity to grow with the company was there. My initial meeting with CloudTalk was great and I felt like there was potential. I was right.

Now, after some time, what do you value most about CloudTalk?

I value the trust and close-knit environment that we have established. I’m comfortable knowing that the people I work with can also be considered friends.

If you have such experience, can you compare what it’s like to work for a bigger company vs. a startup?

I worked for a large company (Enterprise Holdings) in Los Angeles and can confidently say that there surely is a big difference. There was way too much micromanaging, which in turn added unneeded pressure on employees. Additionally, you begin to feel like it’s you versus management, when the reality is that we should all be working together in order to establish a great work environment.

Is it difficult to stay in touch with all of your teammates when you work from a different country?

No, it’s not difficult, as we have various channels of communication. If and when the pandemic is over, I’d like to travel to the office again.

Remote work has become the norm for all of us at CloudTalk. Have you uncovered something new about yourself while working remotely?

At first, I did not like it because I felt like I needed to physically be in the office. But I’ve come to like WFH and feel quite comfortable. Both have pros and cons.

What is the best long-term scenario for you? Full remote work, 50:50 or full office work?

For me, the ideal would be 50:50.

If you had to pick one line about what’s like to Iive in Prague as an expat, what it would be?

I enjoy meeting like-minded people with similar backgrounds. Though we may come from different countries or cities, I believe we tend to have an international outlook.

Do innovation, transformation and collaboration get your adrenaline pumping?