Malte Zeeck, the co-founder of InterNations and head of our Community Management department, recently had the opportunity to visit the city of Prague and our local InterNations Community for a couple of days in mid-November. Here are some impressions from his trip.
After being stuck in traffic when taking a cab from Warsaw Airport to the city centre, I had learned my lesson and swore off taxis for this trip. Thanks to the advice of our Prague Ambassador, Jennifer Fry, I decided to take the combination of bus and metro to get into Prague. It was a wise decision. 26 Czech crowns (approx. 6 Euro cents) poorer and 40 minutes later, I arrived at my hotel right at Wenceslas Square in the heart of Prague. After I’d checked into the hotel, a taxi without a meter (never a good choice) brought me to “Bar and Books”, a fine cocktail venue popular among expats and the location for the November Get-Together of the InterNations Prague Community. We even managed to reserve it exclusively for InterNations on that night.
As mentioned above, Jennifer is our Ambassador for the Prague Community and hosts our local events. Born and raised in Washington D.C., Jennifer has lived in Prague for over three years and has organized our get-togethers from the very beginning. During my trip, I would also be looking for a Co-Ambassador to lend Jen a helping hand. Judging from our previous experience, Ambassador teams usually have more fun organizing events together, and with a growing number of guests, they have also more time to welcome and introduce members to each other at our events.
53 members from 26 different nationalities had signed up for the November event and almost all of them showed up for a fun evening. Jennifer had prepared an ice-breaker game, with members having to look for other attendees who are vegetarians, who have travelled to more than 5 countries, who moved to Prague for love etc. It was working extremely well, as members did walk up to each other and started a chat to ask for the missing person on their card. Then the cards were collected for a prize raffle. After addressing a few words to the community in the bar’s lush billiard room, I had the honour to draw the lucky winners: Marelize Faber from South Africa and Veronika Hradilikova from the Czech Republic each won a romantic dinner for two, sponsored by Lime & Tonic, a new website adopting the popular Groupon model to Prague.
Our members had a great evening in the cozy ambience at “Bar and Books”. There was Samuel from the US, who owns a vineyard close to the German border, Nicolas from Niger, Bahar from Turkmenistan, two Piotrs from Poland, Martha from Brazil, Melony and a few other expat mums from the US – a colorful mix of international members enjoying themselves over Cosmopolitans and Whiskeys.
Since I was staying in Prague for a few days, I wanted to follow up this relaxing evening with a sight-seeing tour since I merely caught some glimpses of Prague’s architectural heritage in the dusk. On the following morning, I got to enjoy this wonderful city on a sunny autumn day with balmy 18°C. The Golden City was resplendent, and familiar sights such as the picturesque Charles Bridge, the spires of the castle and its cathedral, or the houses along the squares of Staré Mesto looked fresh and shining and particularly beautiful.
At Café Savoy, a traditional coffeehouse from Bohemia’s golden days of the Belle Époque, I then met up for a short break with Jennifer and Annette Tomaszkowicz, who helped Jen to organize her event. Annette is American and Polish, but used to live in Germany and Dubai before moving to Prague to work for Porsche as an Event Marketing Specialist. Annette had stepped up to become the Co-Ambassador for the Prague Community on the night before.
Over a cup of savoury coffee at the Savoy, we were all busy making plans for upcoming events, and Jennifer’s friend José from Portugal – who organizes regular dinners for the members of the InterNations community – joined us later on to talk about his “secret dinner” concept. José hosts intimate dinners for 10-12 international members, where the restaurant is only revealed on the day when the dinner takes place. This popular activity, José explained to me, would help to knit the community more closely together. When I bade Prague (and my new friends) farewell, I definitely left with the impression that InterNations Prague did almost feel like family!