I have lived in Prague for over a month now; Now that I’m settled in and got to know my surroundings better, I have definitely noticed the differences between life in The Czech Republic vs life in The United States.
In the United States, Americans can always be seen running around with coffee in their hand. They also usually rush when they’re eating their meals (I myself, am guilty of this). Here, in the Czech Republic, I haven’t seen any of that. I have noticed that Czechs like to sit down in cafes and enjoy their coffee. They take their time eating at restaurants too.
In the US, I feel like there’s a bit of a stress culture. Everyone is working overtime and feels constantly stressed. They’re running around from place to place. But in the Czech Republic, everyone seems more relaxed and easy going. It’s a very different pace of life. I’ve also noticed that some of the stores that are near my accommodation are closed on the weekend (this isn’t the case near the tourist spots, however).
The public transportation systems in Prague is really efficient. If I miss the tram I can just wait for the next one and it only takes me less than 15 minutes and more than one tram can take me to my destination. If I don’t want to use a tram, I can also use the metro or catch a bus instead. In the United States, we mostly really on driving to get us to where we need to be (which leaves me at a loss because I don’t drive).
Much to my chagrin, water is more expensive than beer in Prague. You get charged at restaurants for water. Back at home, I drink tons of water. I would buy bottled water all the time or drink filtered water. In Prague, I had to learn to get used to bringing my own bottle and filling it up. (I ended up buying 5 liters of water but eventually, I got over it and started drinking tap water.)
Regarding prices, everything in Prague is much cheaper than it is in the US. However, according to one of my professors, it’s cheaper because Czechs tend to make a lot less money than those in the US.
I’ve noticed that when entering a store, it’s polite to greet the shopkeeper. In the US, we usually rush in, get what we need, and leave without saying a word. I myself have had to get used to saying “Dobrý den” when I enter a shop.
The one major difference that I’ve noticed is that even though the Czech Republic has a lot of religious imagery most Czechs aren’t religious. In fact, a majority of Czechs are atheist. This is a huge contrast to the US, where most Americans claim to be Christian.
I will admit that in the beginning, I definitely suffered from culture shock. But I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I look forward to getting to know Czech culture more.