Navigating a new city is full of challenges, especially when you don’t speak the language. Despite this difficulty of integrating into a foreign country, many people chose to relocate their lives.
In fact, an estimated 500,000 foreigners have permanent residence in the Czech Republic, which makes up around 5.5% of the population. To help these people settle into their new environment, the mobile application designed by the Integration Centre Prague has collated all the important information that foreigners need to work, learn, and live in Prague.
Called Praguer, the app will help you know where to turn, whether you need to get to work by public transport, deal with residential contracts or find leisure activities for your children.
The app is an accessible database of all the important information you need to live in Prague. The latest version of the app was released this year, to include all of the updated contact information.
Prague Morning met with Michaela Neuhöferová, Information Activities Specialist to find out more. “It is a great way for foreigners to become more independent as they know who to ask for help. The information in the app is split into different topics including Residence, Social Security, Employment, Education, Crisis, and many more which can help the users find the desired information as quickly as possible.”
ICP first launched the app in 2017, but now there has been an update, including new three more languages, new graphics, and new functions such as links to third-party resources. “There’s also one new topic called You can help, too which is about possibilities to volunteer,” Neuhöferová says, “because we think that volunteering is a great way for foreigners to integrate in Czech society and to give back.”
The app now comes in seven languages: Czech, English, Russian, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Chinese, and Arabic. These languages were chosen to reflect the demographic of ICP clients as the organization works with non-EU citizens. “We know it’s really important to give them accurate information in their languages so they don’t need to rely on the often-incorrect Google Translate,” Neuhöferová added.
The Integration Centre Prague, a non-profit funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, and the Prague City Council, was founded in 2012. Over the last eight years, they have provided services to help foreigners get by, such as with the offer of free Czech language courses, Legal and Social counseling, interpreting, and assistance at public institutions and educational seminars. They will help you book a doctor’s appointment, extend your residency, and enroll your kids in school. But it offers more than practical support.
Since Coronavirus restrictions took everything online, the Integration center Prague has had to scale back their cultural events. Last year, ICP held a traditional Czech dancing ball to encourage networking between locals and foreigners, but facilitating new friendships is tricky over a screen.
Still, ICP has big plans for 2021. Alongside deepening the cooperation with Prague municipalities to support the integration in the city districts, they are launching a campaign to help Czech people realize their prejudice towards foreigners. After all, inclusion is a crucial part of a happy society.