Learning the language

Learning the Language

If one wants to live abroad for a longer time and integrate successfully, learning the local language to at least some level is a very good idea. It makes getting around easier, enables more relaxing relationships at the workplace and also with neighbours. The conversational level of Czech can be mastered sooner or later – depending on your willingness and opportunities to practice. Basic phrases are good to start with, which will be appreciated and make communication smoother. The phrase “I do not speak Czech, please” (= “Nemluvím česky prosím”) is the first step to understanding the situation for the communication partner. A small smile will get you more support than scared self defensive hands in front of your face or a helpless shoulder shrug.

General info

When working for an international company your mother tongue or some international language may be able to cover the whole day. However, for going shopping, taking part in public life and making friends it is useful to learn some. This will win great respect of the local people who can be very supportive when they realise you have tried to learn at least a few phrases.  The tried-and-tested approach is to find good friends to speak with. Although Czech is known not to be the easiest language to learn, with such an approach many people have become very good in Czech even within a year!

Some workplaces offer language courses for their employees. Ask your manager or HR if it is also the case for your company. No matter what the result, you can also take advantage of free Czech lessons organized at the Centre for Integration of Foreigners.

There are also plenty of language schools offering Czech courses: summer school, short and intensive courses, half- to one-year-long and slow-paced, individual or group, and beginner to advanced, as well as many free online practice materials! A commercial half-year long group course costs about three thousand Czech crowns. In addition to language courses in a classroom you may make use of a number of free online course materials and resources. Watching Czech TV as a “background“ sound or watching the same film several times with, and later without, the subtitles works almost like a miracle. As far as kids, until the age of 11 it is enough if they can freely play with Czech kids. After a few months of a “silent period” the kids will acquire the language naturally without any special efforts or formal teaching. The bonus is that bilingual and trilingual people are able to learn more languages later. So what are the options?

Free Czech Language Courses
  • Moravian Silesian Centre for Integration of Foreigners (CPIC): The courses and textbooks are free of charge. There are a number of regular intensive groups starting from beginner levels to more advanced levels, as well as special individual courses. These courses are very popular and located in the centre of Ostrava (some courses are also run in other towns and cities of the region). Contact CPIC for more information.
Free Czech Online Courses and Practice Material

Any language course with a group and a teacher can be extended and supplemented. There are plenty of resources to work with and enjoy:

Or many videos on Youtube:


Language schools
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Informal Language Meetings

To practice your language skills you may come to see us in the Ostrava Expat Centre; some of our events are aimed at using non-native Czech informally. 

Also, there is a famous and numerous Facebook group organising a pay-your-drink informal meeting to practice English freely where you may meet other members of the international community who could practice Czech with you on other occasions.

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