Monday, August 10, 2020

Czechia – A Place I Call Home

As part of the stories From Our Readers, a Co-Creator of SeasonAbroad has shared her story about coming to the Czech Republic and being led by an internal compass.

“I arrived in the Czech Republic on a sunny day in September 2009.

While in Kazakhstan (a country I was born and grew up in), a bit more than 10 years ago I was thinking about my life journey and where it was headed.

Just to give you a bit of a background, after graduating from a high school in 2002, I moved to the United States on an exchange program for a year. I lived in the state of Oregon – a very beautiful place. In 2003 I was accepted to University in Ashland but even though I received a scholarship covering most of the tuition cost, I still could not afford staying in the United States. I was only 18 but had already made some of the most important friendships in my life. It was very difficult to leave the States especially feeling unaccomplished.  I went back to Kazakhstan and got enrolled in a journalism program where all subjects were taught in English.

In 2007 I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in International Journalism and following that I accepted a post as Trade Channel Executive at Grey Advertising Agency in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where I worked for two years and though I was very happy with my work, my friends and everything I had, I still felt that I wanted to grow both personally and professionally.

I was asking myself “Where to?” and after a year of applying to various universities and for various scholarships literally across the globe (Canada, the US, Malaysia, Belgium, Germany, you name it) I eventually made my choice towards the country of which I had heard of the most in my childhood. I am originally from a non-European country, so the travel abroad was somewhat restricted by time and distance when I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. However, the stories about the Czech crystal, knedliky, amazing architecture and beer were a common discussion around our table as some members of my extended family had traveled to the Czech Republic in earlier years. I always wanted to visit the Czech Republic and it had become a sort of a dream of mine. Traveling I did before 2009 was mostly around Western Europe. I was postponing visiting the Czech Republic maybe subconsciously because it was never a tourism destination for me, but perhaps a dreamy potential home.  

Located in the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic was at the heart of my choice on that May evening in 2009. 

The choice was made, and after getting confirmation of studies from a private University in Prague I applied for my visa. 

In 2009, the visa application process was nearly the same as today, only less information was available. 

I literally had to search online every nook and try to speak to anyone who had travelled to the Czech Republic before to make sure I had all the needed information and documentation. In the meantime, I was working full time at the job I loved and was surrounded by people I admired. It was a tough decision to leave everything behind but it was time to start a new life full of adventure. 

I bought my one-way ticket to Prague in September 2009 and arrived on the 21st of the same month at Vaclav Havel Airport. I remember it like yesterday: I was standing in the arrival area filled with people from around the world. I was lost in the noise of a new country and I felt happy to be in a new place as it was a new beginning, a clean slate almost. I was thinking to myself that it was the first day of the rest of my life. I have chosen the country that best fit my interests and my future plans and quality of life that I had been looking for.

Driven by the desire to learn about a new culture and embrace a new life, made me feel more open and more interested in adapting to a new life I have chosen. My new home was Prague and since then I have seen how the city I moved to in 2009 had grown on me and how I have grown with it. 

I moved to the Czech Republic 5 years after becoming a member of the EU and 2 years after it had joined the Schengen Area. Bordering Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia, the Czech Republic has been all about warm summers, chilly autumns and beautiful cold winters in the past 10 years. Season by season, my life has been progressing from studying, to working and learning the Czech language, to living and calling this place “my home”.

This place with 10+ million people residing across the country has attracted me with its freedom of choices (when it comes to education, work, religion, hobbies and travel), opportunities, and respect for equal human rights.

My experience and mantra with coming to the Czech Republic has become my lifestyle and I am proud to call Prague and the Czech Republic my home.

In 2009 I moved to Prague to study my Masters in International Business and Management. The program I studied in was taught in English but I have been self-teaching myself Czech language for the past 10 years. In between semesters I would enjoy travelling on weekends to different parts of the Czech Republic and different cities such as Karlstejn, Kutna Hora, Kolin, Pisek, Ceska Lipa and others. 

I found it fascinating how each and every city had so much history to it.

I graduated in 2012 with a Master’s degree in International Business and while studying I was interning at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Following my graduation, I have started working at an executive search firm, first joining them as Junior Research Assistant and subsequently becoming a Senior Recruiter / Consultant. 

From there on, executive search has become my career choice. To date, I have over 10 years of professional experience in the field of executive search and recruitment. 

In 2015 my life forever changed as I became a mother to a small chihuahua whom I named Tofu. Tofu is my best travel companion and a colleague at work. He is a CFO – a Chief Furry Officer. We enjoy very early morning hours in our pink and mint apartment overlooking the serene landscapes. 

IMG_2267-2-1024x1014 Czechia - A Place I Call Home

In 2019 I met my friend and adventure partner whom I share a strong belief in turning the lives of people into extraordinary journeys and we have been on our own journey to create the best advice, experience, joy and happiness life book and community for people who are seeking for more and exceptional. I and he are behind the SeasonAbroad  Just two people with big hearts.

Nowadays, the world is facing one big challenge which affects the lives of all – travelers and settlers. I know we will persevere and I don’t want you to lose hope for a better world with no borders.

I know that today we are all experiencing uncertain times. However, it is now the time to dream and plan and feel that life is too short to wait on something to happen.

Sometimes, it takes one’s belief and desire to leave home and start a new one elsewhere.  

Don’t wait to make that decision – do all the planning today, so you can act on it later. “

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