1st joint Foreigners.cz and Prague.TV Meetup in Prague was a great success
Over 80 people showed up @ Globe Bookstore and Cafe!
Nearly three hours after the official start of the first joint Foreigners.cz and Prague.TV expats MeetUp this past Thursday night, the veteran bartender at The Globe Café was still busily filling orders.
“Everyone still wants more drinks,” he said over his shoulder, shaking a tumbler full of vodka while signaling with a nod of his head to a new arrival at the crowded bar that he would be with her in a moment. “So, that’s a good thing.”
The café was lively, warm and, to the delight of the MeetUp’s organizers, packed. The evening’s co-host, Foreigners.cz, provides assistance to expats who have recently relocated to the Czech Republic. They help with apartment rentals, visa bureaucracy, obtaining health insurance, translating documents, and opening bank accounts, among other services. They also assist with the smaller though no less vital details of modern cosmopolitan life, like finding a good cleaning service and arranging for Internet.
The company opened its first offices in Hradec Kralove back in 2009, but has since expanded to Prague, Pilsen, Olomouc, and Brno.
“The Foreigners in Brno have about 100 people every time” they host a MeetUp, said Olena Kagui, Expat and Immigration Consultant for the Prague Foreigners.cz. “We’re trying to beat them,” she laughed.
And they nearly did. Between 70 and 80 people were in attendance at the American-owned Globe Café, Prague’s first English-language bookstore and popular hangout among expats. Considering their first MeetUp consisted of roughly 30 people, it seems, at this rate, it won’t be long before the Prague Foreigners do indeed “beat” their colleagues in Brno.
The expats who helped make Thursday night so successful hailed from America, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Belarus, Jordan, Macedonia, Estonia, Greece, and Slovakia, to name just a few of the many countries represented.
Kagui planned a clever game well known to many foreign-language teachers designed to get attendees talking to one another and, more importantly, to others they’ve never met.
Upon arrival, each guest received a small card with the instructions, “On the back of this sheet write down the full name and nationality of a person who,” followed by 15 identifying statements: “Is an English teacher; Has a Master’s diploma; Has traveled to China; Works in IT;” etc. Participants milled about the room, chatting and filling in their sheets (only one person per statement! Kagui admonished). Whoever filled in his or her sheet first received a free order of nachos.
Although delicious, the prize was, of course, beside the point. Just as in a foreign-language classroom, participants learned quite a lot from playing the game. Did you know, for instance, the exact geographic center of Europe can be traced to a small church in Slovakia? That, when visiting Greece, one should avoid the touristy Athens, but be sure to spend extra time in Crete? And, apparently, the vineyards in Southern Moravia are among the best on the continent.
One attendee, Muhammed, admitted he thought the game was “not very natural,” although the loud, humming timbre of the room testified to the effectiveness of the activity, as did the smiling photos Kagui snapped throughout the night and projected onto a large screen over the entryway to the café.
As The Globe’s bartender continued to fill numerous drink orders three hours into the event, attendees continued to play – even though a winner had already been crowned, and her nachos eaten.
“It’s good I didn’t announce the winner,” Kagui confided. “Because people are still talking!”
Jan, Relocation Consultant for the Prague Foreigners.cz, agreed. “There are so many different people from different countries. They’re getting to know each other.” He took a sip of his drink and held it up for emphasis. “Maybe that’s the beer,” he said with a smile. “But, still."
Pictures from the January Foreigners.cz and Prague.TV MeetUp
Our next Event: Foreigners.cz & Prague.TV February MeetUp 19.02.2015
Author: Anna Storm / Prague.TV
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