Introducing the BEC team: Roman Schwanzer
Not all of our expats have met us face to face. That is why we go on with our series of interviews introducing our Brno Expat Centre team. Today you will get to know one of the co-founders of Brnopolis, a charming man and our dear friend Roman Schwanzer.
Were you born in Brno? If not, what brought you here and what do you like the most about living in this city?
I could call myself a native. I was born in Brno and although I only started living here permanently when I turned 26, I still feel like a native, like someone who has always belonged here. And what I like the most about living in Brno? Well, life is great here and there is no other place in the world where I would like to live more than in Brno. Vienna is around the corner, so are Bratislava, Prague and Ostrava – simply a great location.
You are one of the co-founders of Brnopolis, the NGO running the Brno Expat Centre. How did you get to know the other co-founders?
Brnopolis resulted from a very nice discussion over dinner with Vlastík Veselý – another ´founding father´ of this wonderful idea. We were trying to find ways to make life in Brno better for those already settled in as well as newcomers. Actually, when I think about it, I have to say things truly improved here and, in my opinion, nowadays there is very little left that still needs changing.
Your role in the Brno Expat Centre is that of a consultant for business. How did business become your profession? Have you ever worked in a different field of expertise?
With my colleagues from Konzulta Brno we have been doing business in the area of consulting for 23 years. This years-long practice means a lot of professional experience which, I believe, entitles me to call myself a consultant. As for the field of expertise, currently I mainly focus on telecommunication and everything that is somehow connected with text messages. But this s a different story, I guess.
Another – and rather crucial – role you play in the Brno Expat Centre and its activities is that of a wine specialist, and, most importantly, its great lover. When and how did you fall in love with this godly beverage?
Long time ago, in 1981, still during totalitarianism, my exwife and I got a vineyard as a present from her father. It was this moment that truly triggered my love for wine. I learned a lot and am still perfectly capable of doing everything that needs to be done when one is in charge of a vineyard. However, when it comes to producing quality wine, I rather leave it up professionals such as my friend Pavel Binder whose wines are served at Brno Expat Centre events. I believe that most of you have already had a chance to taste them.
You speak fluent German. Did you learn this language at school or is it a result of staying in a foreign country for some time?
When it comes to my German, I can thank to two things: since 1981 when I moved back to Brno I have been watching Austrian channels on TV, and, mainly after the revolution when my German partners and I founded Evropská databanka (EDB), I had to communicate in German on a daily basis. Well, that was one hell of a “language course”, trust me! Definitely better than some course in a language school.
What are your favourite places in and around Brno, and why?
I like the Brno lake very much and I love going on walks around Klajdovka where I can enjoy the beautiful view of the city. I also like the centre of Brno, especially since it has come alive with new restaurants and cafés: the newly-reconstructed Moravské náměstí which will soon become the new address of the Brno Expat Centre, Petrov, Špilberk, … there are many beautiful places – discover them for yourselves!