Once I was finished up with my 3rd week at TEFL Worldwide Prague I knew I had to start thinking of where I was going to teach. Before I had gotten to Europe I figured I would just stay in Prague. Prague seemed like a good central location in Europe. I could teach and the take weekend trips to Berlin, Vienna, or Krakow. Also, Prague was really the only Czech city I had any knowledge of. I considered teaching in Greece as well, mainly because I have always wanted to go there. The whitewashed architecture, the azure seas, and the breathtaking coastlines seemed like something out of a dream! Unfortunately, getting a teaching job in Greece is not easy and there are not nearly as many opportunities as there are in the Czech Republic. I gave up the idea of Greece rather quickly.
Then I remembered that one of my friends from Alaska knew missionaries in Brno. One of my classmates had already told me a little about Brno and that she planned on moving there since that’s where her boyfriend lived. She hadn’t told me much really just that Brno was smaller than Prague, a lot less touristy and a little closer to nature. That was enough to make me start researching more about Brno. Being from a small town myself (just over 1,100 population) the idea of a small European city held major appeal to me.
Before I knew it I was getting in touch with American missionaries that lived in Brno. They were also in need of someone to stay in their flat for 7 months while they went back to the States to visit churches and talk about the ministry they were doing in Brno. I had somewhere to live! There was a 2-week overlap of my arrival and their departure for the States so I stayed in a guest room at the church until the flat was available. It was a huge blessing to have an instant connection in Brno as well as being plugged into a church. The connections I made with the people in my church here opened so many doors for me. I had help with my visa paperwork. I was getting e-mails from language schools as well as individuals for private lessons. The stress that I had been feeling became less frequent. Don’t get me wrong, I still get stressed and there has been an adjustment period to be sure, but the people here make it more than manageable.
Cost of living, Brno wins this one hands-down. I thought Prague was affordable, especially compared to what I was used to paying for things in Alaska which are crazy expensive in comparison to the rest of the United States. But Brno is slightly cheaper in almost every category than Prague.
The people in Brno are friendly, welcoming, and so helpful. Brno has become more international in the past few years and you can generally find someone who speaks English at most places you visit. When I went to get my health insurance, I asked a friend from my church who is American but spoke intermediate Czech if she could take me to get health insurance. It was a very easy interaction. It cost about $300ish for 4 months worth of coverage, which was cheaper than I was expecting.
In short, if you enjoy being away from the big groups of tourists, a small-town feel with the luxuries of big-city life, Brno is the place to be.