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"What to do if...": answering 9 questions about life in the Czech Republic

Aleksandra Baranova

2 July 2023

#EDUCATION

Knowledge

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First days in a new country always make you feel a little lost. Although this feeling of loss directly depends on how well a person is prepared for the move, there can still be some questions that have to be promptly addressed. Alexandra Baranova, the author of the GoStudy blog, answers 10 most common questions.

Question 1: Where to get a transit pass?

Dodging the fare in the Czech Republic, especially in Prague, is not worth it: conductors check the transport regularly, and the fine for riding without a ticket is 1,500 CZK (or a thousand CZK if you pay right away upon getting caught). If you're a student who's planning to move a lot around the city, then it's better to buy a travel card, Lítačka, for a whole year. The card costs 1,280 CZK. The minimum cost of a transit pass is 30 CZK for a 30-minute ride on any type of public transport, except for the Petřín funicular. A regular transit pass for a year for an adult costs 3,650 CZK.

Question 2: What to do if I have a fever?

If you understand that it's just a cold and there are no other complications, an antipyretic should be enough - you can buy them over the counter in any pharmacy (for example, Paralen or Ibuprofen). Pharmacists generally can speak English, so if you don't feel comfortable enough in the Czech environment, you can speak English. If you can't reduce the fever, you'll have to see a doctor. You can choose a doctor that will treat you for free under your medical insurance, but their offices may be too far away. The list of specialists and their contacts are listed on the insurance company's website. Another option is to visit a physician who has an office nearby. But you must call in advance and ask at what time you can visit. You'll have to pay a small sum (no more than 500 CZK) for the visit and basic tests, but at least you won't have to stumble half across the city with a fever. A third option is for cases when you feel so sick you can't go to a physician or a pharmacy. This is the only case when you should call the ambulance (Czech: "záchranka"), because in the Czech Republic it's very uncommon to call the ambulance whenever you like. Be prepared for the operator to ask for more specifics about your temperature and any other symptoms you may have and then tell you to come to hospital on your own. If you're certain you will not make it on your own, insist on having the ambulance drive you. Prepare your passport and your visa, and have your medical insurance card on you.

Question 3: How to send a letter or a parcel?

If you need to send a parcel within the Czech Republic or to a neighboring country - for example, to Slovakia, it's better to use Zásilkovna. To do so, download the app with the same name to your phone. To send a parcel, type in your address and the recipient's address, then choose which Zásilkovna office will be the most convenient one for the recipient of your parcel and choose the office which is nearest to you and from which you'll send your parcel. Each parcel is assigned a code used to receive it. The cost of sending a parcel starts at 70 CZK and depends on the size of the parcel or box and the delivery method. The traditional way is through the Czech post. But it may be inconvenient, since you'll sometimes have to wait in a line (especially right before the Christmas holidays). Besides, it's required as of late to fill a customs bill for every parcel that contains anything but a normal letter or a postcard.

Question 4: I lost my external passport, what should I do?

First off, go to a police department, preferably the nearest to the assumed accident scene, and submit a missing object report. Firstly, there is a small chance that your document will be found; secondly, this formality will allow you to avoid lengthy explanations in the embassy or the police department for foreigners. Then you'll need to call the embassy and make an appointment for submitting documents for a new passport. This process may take around three months, so be patient.

Question 5: What is an ISIC?

The ISIC student card is an ID card that confirms your status as a student all over the world. In Czech universities, ISIC is used as a magnetic pass card to the university or the library. You can deposit money onto the card and use it to pay for your meals in student canteens. The Czech ISIC website has a list of applicable discounts on books, sports equipment, tickets, electronics, etc. It's always nice to buy a book or some office supplies with a 10% discount or grab a burger on the cheap. Alza.cz even offers a 30% discount to ISIC owners from time to time.

Question 6: I forgot my things in a tram. Will I ever find them?

If you have forgotten your bag in a bus or tram in Prague and noticed it within 24 hours, call +420 296 191 817 and you'll be told what to do. If you haven't noticed you lost something straight away or left your things in the metro, then call the same number or fill in a missing object report. All lost items are brought to a lost and found.

Question 8: Which mobile carrier is better and cheaper?

The most popular mobile carriers on the Czech market are Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2. Students should look for data plans in the "tarify pro mladé" sections. T-Mobile has data plans that cost 450 or 650 CZK a month. Vodafone offers data plans for young people marked with #jetovtobě that cost 500-600 CZK, while O2 has plans for 400-700 CZK. The most optimal way is to test out a data plan, and if you don't like it, you can change either the data plan or the carrier.

Question 8: Which mobile carrier is better and cheaper?

If it's not a document that must be notarized, then you can use the Czech Point service, which is available in many Czech Post offices. All you have to do is bring the original copy of the document and your passport. There, you can not only have the original document notarized, but also copied. For example, one of the documents required for extending the student visa is a proof of residence. If you're renting an apartment and the owner has given you the document, they must authenticate their signature on the document.

Question 10: Does the Czech public transport work at night?

Yes if it's a large settlement that has urban transport and not only inter-city transport. Prague has nine night tram lines (No. 91-99) supplemented with night buses (No. 901-915). Prague metro is closed at night. Brno has eleven night bus lines (No. N89-N99).

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