Moving to a new city can be overwhelming, which is understandable - things like navigating the city and doing everyday tasks can be a bit intimidating and different from what you’re used to. You’ve gone out of your comfort zone, and you are now in an unfamiliar setting, about to begin the adventure of studying abroad...
Are you wondering how can you adapt quicker in Brno? I’ve got some survival tips which I wish I knew sooner when I arrived in the city. Check them out, and feel free to share them with students who are new in town. Who knows, maybe you can help someone adapt to Brno!
1. Learn some basic Czech
In Brno, which is in the Czech Republic, the official language is Czech. Though the city may be filled with foreign students and expats, knowing basic words can help you go a long way.
For example, saying hello is “dobrý den” - you will hear this quite often, especially when entering shops, or paying at the cashier. It’s quite standard to greet people with “dobrý den” when you interact with them. However, with friends, you would probably be greeted with “ahoj”, which is the informal way of saying hello.
Aside from the standard greetings which can help you go a long way, I’d say that learning the Czech words for food products is also rather important. You can use apps like Duolingo or Google translate to help you out with this, especially when you’re new in the city. The first time I bought groceries, I didn’t use Google translate, but I also did not know what certain ingredients or products were called in Czech… I ended up mistaking a bottle of vinegar for cooking oil.
Never again! Since I made that mistake, I did my best to remember what I needed from the grocery store in Czech. Over time, my vocabulary bank built up, and now, I can confidently figure out the difference between oil and vinegar!
2. Get your ISIC to avail discounts
Being a full-time student, you are entitled to receive an ISIC, which basically proves your student status. Once you have it, you can use it to get a lot of deals and discounts which are very helpful. You can get lunch deals in some bistros or restaurants, which is quite great considering that you need fuel for your brain to stay awake during classes and study sessions.
Aside from this, you can also get discounts in some bookstores for being a student - very helpful when you want to buy some extra reading material. You also would be needing your ISIC to purchase the student-priced public transportation pass, which will help you go out and about in Brno.
If you’re curious about where your ISIC can help you avail discounts, you can check this website. The discounts don’t only apply to food, books, or public transportation!
3. Download IDOS to navigate Brno’s public transportation system
In Brno, you don’t really need a car to get around the city. Some people have bikes, but mostly, people get to different places in town by tram. Brno’s got an amazing and reliable public transportation system: trams, trolleybuses and buses come at regular intervals, and can get you from point A to point B.
IDOS is an app you can use on your smartphone, which can help you plan the trips you want to take - simply input the public transportation stop you’re departing from, and the stop you’d like to get off at. The app will show you the appropriate schedule for the route you’re taking, and it can even show you the amount of time your trip will take.
What if you don’t have a direct route to where you want to go? No worries, IDOS will also let you know where you can get off and transfer to a different public transportation line. The app is very helpful, as you can plan your trips in advance - you don’t need to head to the tram or bus stop to check the schedule, or worry about which routes you need to take.
These are just a few tips to get started in Brno. After a while, being a student in the city becomes much easier, and you won’t even remember the overwhelming feeling of adjusting to a new environment. I hope these survival tips help you enjoy your time as a student at Masaryk University!