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From the USA to Slovakia: Robin's Great Adventure

11 November, 2013 09:10  Erin Erin

Pienza, Italy robin SlovakiaMy name is Robin and I’m from the USA and currently live in Piestany, Slovakia

1. Why did you move abroad?

I was in marketing for many years and needed a break, plus I love to travel and wanted to find a way to live and work abroad.  I decided to get my TEFL, TESOL teaching certification and am now teaching English in a private school and traveling around Europe.

2. How do you make a living?
I’ve been fortunate to find work as an ESL teaching English as a Second Language in a beautiful spa town in Slovakia, right in the heart of Europe.  I also provide marketing consulting for a local medical clinic.  I’m currently writing an ebook about how to live abroad.

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?

I Skype frequently with friends and family.  My mother doesn’t have a computer but it is easy to call her through Skype.  I love Skype it is really a great way to communicate with little to no cost.

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Slovakia?

My favorite thing about living in Slovakia is learning about a new culture, language, food and lifestyle.  To me, the European lifestyle is a great way to live and by being located in the middle of Europe, it is easy to get around.  I write about my adventures on my blog; robinsgreatadventure.blogspot.com and have been all over Europe and a small part of Asia.  

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Slovakia?
Not sure.  I haven’t found it yet.  I love living abroad.  Maybe the lower income.  I live very sparingly.

6. What do you miss most?
Probably the thing is I miss most is seafood.  There is very little in Slovakia.  I don’t eat pork and it is a mainstay of the Slovak diet.

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I just started traveling.  The second week I was in Slovakia I traveled out east to Levoca (a UNESCO site) and met a couple in a restaurant and we’ve been friends ever since.  She is Slovak and he is a Brit.  They live part-time in Levoca and organize a yearly music festival.  I’ve been to Levoca three times and am still finding new things to see and do.  I also traveled to Amsterdam over Christmas and reconnected with a colleague from the States that I knew in Boston before she moved to Amsterdam. I also have made friends with my students.

8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Slovaks don’t queue and will get right next to you.  In America we have “personal space” which is an idea the Slovak culture doesn’t recognize.

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Several.  Slovakia is NOT part of the Czech Republic.  Slovakia is in Central Europe NOT Eastern Europe.  Slovakia is NOT Slovenia.

10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The prices are quite high in Slovakia but the salaries are quite low.  That was a huge adjustment because I was making a fairly good salary in the US but living in Boston was also has high cost of living.  I’ve really adjusted my spending habits.

11. What advice would you give other expats?
Really learn about the country before you move; what are their customs, living arrangements, and history.  Learn a few phrases and words in your new countries language.  Once you are living there, try to speak the language as much as you can. I’m trying to learn Slovak and it is difficult but I feel I should know the basics if I’m living here.

  12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog a few months before I left the States.  I wanted to let people know where I was going and what it would be like for me.  I really use the blog as my travel log and letting River Vah in Piestany Slovakia robinpeople know what is happening to me and who I’ve met.  My family and friends have told me they feel like they are making the journey as well.

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