Romney Laanstra

I came here because I knew very little about the Czech Republic and I always wanted to go to Europe, so when I got an offer to teach here I took it right away. My grandparents were from Central Europe, so I didn’t find the food or local customs that strange at all when I first arrived, and I was lucky to meet good friends right from the start, so that made living here quite easy, as I could learn and work on my Czech and get to know the local habits. I will never speak it without an accent as I learned it quite late in life, but it is so important to know the local language – you learn so much of the people and their culture that way, and my promise to myself to start speaking and learning Czech on the very first day I arrived was one of the best decisions I have ever made, despite me making a lot of mistakes and having a lot of embarrassing incidents during my first few years here, but those are all just funny memories now and make for good stories.

I love spending time hiking along one of the many hiking paths the country has to offer – there are just so many out-of-the-way and off the beaten track places to see this way, the Czech countryside is gorgeous. The train network here is quite extensive, it is a lot of fun exploring the country this way as well. Canoeing on the Sazava or Vltava is also a lot of fun for me, and the cycling here is great – I love seeing the castles, churches, villages, and forests on almost every route.

It is hard to believe that I have been living here now for twenty years, but I honestly believe that I will be living here for at least twenty more.