When I started to write an article about this topic, in the first minute I had a feeling I had bitten off more than I could chew! I have started to think about it, and I still have some thoughts in my mind. Are we really that different, or are there any similarities between Czech and French people? As you may know from previous articles, I spent the last days of 2016 in Paris with my French friend and her Parisian friends.
I expected to “feel” French culture the moment I arrived at the airport, but nope: nothing at all. Of course, what a fool I was! Airports are kind of international places, right? You meet many foreigners just passing through and traveling somewhere else, or French people leaving their country for holidays or coming back from them. The first signs weren’t strong, because of course I couldn’t recognize who was French until hearing them speak their language. I could also recognize them when they were speaking English. My huge apologies to all of my French friends and French people in general, but one can definitely recognize a French accent when they’re speaking English. The French accent is really beautiful when they speak French, and it could almost make me fall in love with all the French guys within earshot, but when some of them spoke English it sounded a bit different. My English teacher told me one day to ask any French person to say “I like happiness” a few times in a row, and see what happens. My French friends didn’t like that joke too much, but in the end we all laughed.
So did I find any similarities or just differences, then? You might be surprised, but yes, I did! Some people told me that people in the Czech Republic are rarely smiling, and that there could be some negative energy around sometimes. And while I don’t agree with that opinion, I have found some of those who don’t smile much in Paris as well. I would say that this is mostly a problem in big cities. People are more stressed and cannot relax during long shifts, as they are working and rushing around like crazy. As a Czech native, I can’t say whether the Czech people are hospitable or open-minded or not, but I have found people in Paris to be really hospitable and open-minded, as well as quite talkative and nice. When they heard me trying to speak French (I’m still a beginner), they were really interested and helpful, and I think it would be the same with Czech people. The other similarity I found was that the older French generations, just as in the older Czech generations, couldn’t speak English. To my surprise, some of the young adults couldn’t speak as it well also, and the biggest surprise was that flight attendants didn’t speak English well either. Thank God I could speak some French! This is a big difference, because if you work in Prague at some international spot (and I think that the airport is absolutely one of them), you have to speak English quite well. Would you expect someone to speak to you in Czech? Of course not!
I have also found the French people have a very “I don’t care” attitude, which would be similar to us, too. One of Martine’s friends came ½ an hour late for our New Years Eve celebration and he wasn’t even stressed or anything, although we were waiting for him in front of his flat.
I’m pretty sure I could find even more similarities if I had stayed longer. Sounds like a great plan for the future, right?