Before going abroad to Prague, I heard that people from the Czech Republic were very private and disliked foreigners. After hearing something like that I knew I could not make that assumption about the entirety of the population. I have noticed that Czech people do not greet each other with hugs or even handshakes like many people do with their peers in the states. Also, I have observed that it is not common to hear people talking on the phone while in public and especially not on the metro. I think this is more of Czechs being reserved and keeping to themselves rather than an attempt to keep their private life a secret. As for disliking foreigners I have found this to be quite untrue in my experience. Although Czech people do not smile all of the time or show their emotions on their faces, I have found that once you talk to them, they are friendly and open to helping you with whatever you ask.
The second stereotype that I heard prior to arrival was that the customer service in the Czech Republic was bad and that they would often ignore you. After going into shops and eating at multiple restaurants I believe that this preconception is really from a lack in knowledge of the Czech culture and their customs. The service process that you receive in Prague is just different from what we are used to in the U.S. Servers in restaurants don’t come to check on you as much because they do not want to disturb you, not because they are actively ignoring you. Also, they wait for you to ask for the bill and do not automatically give it to you because they do not want their customers to feel rushed to leave. These are just different ways that businesses try to ensure their customers have a positive experience, but it is just different from what we are used to.
The thing that I was told the most before coming was that Czech people love beer. This assumption however is very true. The Czech people are very proud of their beer, and it is very ingrained in their history and many of their customs. This goes as far as having a specific way that the Czech people cheers their beer. When drinking beer, Czechs clink their pint glasses and look at each in the eyes, it is considered rude if you do not, and say na zdraví!
I don’t really like having these preconceived notions about other cultures before I know more about them. I usually want to find out when I arrive there and get to meet people who are part of the culture. We all can’t just assume that we know everything about another culture that we have never experienced.