Since our first visit to the Vienna Expat Center – our role model project – we have been asking how they connect with the local expat community and where they receive the most reliable contacts from. The answer was clear. Foreign families, i.e. parents together with the local expat women club were the best pool of contacts, tips and guidelines based on relevant experience.
Issues of various life situations arising from running a “family business” touch all aspects of a foreigner’s life in a host society. Social services, medical care, education, housing, finance, sports and leisure activities are the key to a happy family life and require insight into complex topics. It was with caring mothers and fathers that we walked down the tortuous path of negotiating with authorities for the first time. And once the task was done, we were pleased we had gained a helpful contact and valuable experience with a new procedure that we could note down and label as ´tried and tested´.
As we value expat families because we believe them to be the core of the community and the central focus of our work, we would like to bring them together more often and keep in touch with their complex knowledge of local living environment and services. A newly created Facebook group Brno Expat Family Network is one of the platforms where families can ask questions and share experience, contacts and tips concerning life in Brno. Especially newly arrived mums and dads might search here for first insight and first friends to help them settle down.
We are aware of the fact that the Brno Expat Centre is not the only organisation paying attention to the needs of expat families. There are other NGOs such as Family Point Brno, Salvation Army, Charita and number of schools and kindergartens who wish to offer assistance to families with kids. BEC is attempting to list them all and direct everyone towards the most appropriate source. On our comprehensive Family life page there is not only a list of regular meeting points but also an overview of kindergartens and family-oriented organizations. Link to the Infosheet on Leisure activities with kids provides a number of ideas where to go and what to do with children in Brno (cafés, clubs, museums, playing areas, swimming pools for kids etc.).
Meetings and events for families with kids are always an opportunity to have a good time with the most adorable community members. Every season, the BEC organizes several gatherings in order to bring parents, kids and service providers together. Last year it was Work and Family life Seminar or St. Nicholas Eve. This month (June 19) we are having our monthly BEC InformAL meeting: Brno for families from 5:30pm at Dětský kabinet múz café. As always, there will be a guest speaker: an American expat mother living near Brno presenting her newly published book Five Keys to Becoming an Unstoppable Warrior Mom. Also, some of our expat parents will talk about their family relocation to Brno. More meetings are quite frequently organized by the English Speaking Mums in Brno and Kurim Meetup Group. Mrs. Bonaventurova used to live with her family abroad and enjoys and now does her best to help foreign families integrate in Brno.
We are always happy to receive feedback on what we could improve or what areas of information you are still missing. We are here for you and we enjoy having you here with us!