What expats say: Empty on weekends

Kristina, born in Germany, came to Brno in September 2009 via a DAAD scholarship. She is now working at the Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University, where she is teaching German literature and language.

What do you like and what don’t you like in Brno?

In my opinion Brno is totally the right size and there are activities and events of every kind. It would take years to get to know every club and bar in the town. Just look at the variety of theaters here. And I like the buildings of Brno – a lot of old architecture is still there, some houses renewed and some not yet. It’s worth looking up at all the buildings and you will be surprised by the creativity of those ornaments and figures.

One point I don´t like is that Brno – mainly the center (not the shopping malls) and a lot of clubs – is empty on weekends. That’s because a major part of the students goes home every weekend and so nearly one quarter of the Brno population is missing. Yes, and another thing I miss is bicycle lanes – I will bring my bicycle in January and I hope I will survive the Brno traffic. And one general thing is the discrimination of Roma in the whole Czech Republic – that’s a big problem in my eyes.

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

Well, one general thing which is of use everywhere you go is to be open-minded. Get out of your room and get to know some Czech people and the atmosphere of Brno.

Another thing probably is not to expect too much and not to attribute every bad experience you might have to the “normal character” of the people – Czechs are also only normal people and if there is some unfriendly guy that has nothing to do with being Czech – it could happen anywhere. Get rid of your stereotypes! For this I would also recommend everyone to learn Czech. That’s because I think it’s also a more friendly way to talk to people if you can at least say a few sentences in the language of the country you now live in.

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

That depends. In comparison to Prague I think in Brno it’s easier to get in contact with people from the Czech Republic because the city is not overrun with tourists and so the people here are not that annoyed of foreigners. For example if I try to speak Czech with somebody in Prague they nearly never have the patience to wait for my next sentence while here that is normally the case. In my eyes another advantage is – generally speaking – that Brno has at least some alternative scene which is not the case in all cities of the world.

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

I think most people (in Germany) don’t know Brno and the first step would be to make Brno more known. The tourists mainly visit only Prague and are not aware of Brno and that it is a city really worth a visit.

What is your favorite place in Brno which is really unique?

Spilberk at night is wonderful, especially in summer. My favorite bar is Salon Daguerre, near the Faculty of Arts, with its big book shelves and warm and special atmosphere and the photo exhibitions upstairs. And the Stara Pekarna is also worth a visit, especially the Jazz and world music concerts there.

Written by: Petr Marčišák

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