Prague is my street.
For most people, 5. května is just a highway, but for me it is my home with all the stories that evolve around me. It is a metaphor of life that passes by my window.
“Integration is difficult. It starts with a lot of hope, then you meet with a lot of difficulties, then comes disappointment. Also, integration is and must be a two-way process. It does not only include you as an immigrant but it also includes the society you are living in. Because I might be willing to integrate myself in the foreign country, but it is up to the society to accept me, not only as a foreigner, but as a person with my own individuality.”
Prague is seeing martenitsa in the park.
Martenitsa is a traditional symbol of my home country. It´s interwoven threads of red and white. Every single year, around the 1st of March, people give it to each other for health and happiness. Seeing something from your own country, something that you associate yourself with, is great.
“When I came here as an immigrant, I was shocked, because I met with a wall of conservatism, nationalism, unwillingness to understand others, and I was greatly disappointed.“
Prague is clean
Most of the people, who do the dirty jobs in Prague, are foreigners. But often, we don’t pay attention to them. The Czechs often say that foreigners are stealing their jobs. But it’s not true, because they are doing the jobs no one else in the Czech Republic wants to do. So for me, Prague is what it is, to a great extent, because of the work of the foreigners.
Prague is breathtaking skies.
Hans Christian Andersen wrote about the mirages we see in front of us, the “castles of fata morgana.” For me, these clouds represent the mirages of integration. Because you come here with a lot of hope, but sometimes, this hope dissipates into mist and it turns out to be a mirage.
“But I was also lucky to meet a lot of great people, mostly in the NGOs working with foreigners. It’s the NGOs, and not the schools or the municipal council, who help you through the difficult process of integration.“
Prague is street art.
Prague is festivals.
“At the very base of my PhotoVoice project was my desire to show my love for Prague. To show integration as a positive thing, despite the disappointment. To show Prague as a beautiful and welcoming multicultural city, which combines people of different nationalities.“
Prague is love.
Prague is Vltava at night.
tip for foreigners
Learn Czech, I think that is key. Because if you don´t know the language, there is no way to integrate into the society. Learning the language of the country you live in is a matter of respect. Also, communicate with people who have already managed to integrate themselves – they can give you advice.