When you arrive:
It can be overwhelming to relocate to a new country where you don’t speak the language, especially if this is your first out-of-country assignment. First of all it’s prudent to register with your home country embassy so that they’re aware that you’re here and know how to reach you in case of an emergency. Many people are unaware of the resources that embassies offer their citizens.
Pick up a small Bratislava street map book that you can carry with you. It will also contain information on public transit , allowing you to get virtually anywhere around town.
There are two different books on the market designed for new arrivals which can help make your initial adjustment much easier. Easy Bratislava , available at Eurobooks, is exactly what it purports to be: “The Practical Guide to Settling and Living in Bratislava”. It covers virtually everything you may need to know , but be advised that some information may be outdated as it was last published in 2006. The other publication, Life In Slovakia , is more recent , and is published and sold through the Slovak Investment & Trade Development Agency (SARIO). It’s also a comprehensive guide.
There are a number of helpful websites that will assist you in finding the resources you need. The Slovak Spectator newspaper produces an online business directory called the green pages at www.greenpages.spectator.sme.sk , and Move One, a relocation company, offers an online guide for expats at www.moveoneinc.com/city-guide/bratislava.php . The Bratislava Guide at www.bratislavaguide.com/bratislava-info also contains tons of useful information.
In a new city, it can often be a challenge to find like-minded individuals who speak your language. The sooner you meet other expats, the sooner you’ll have a support group to lean on. Joining an expat organisation in Bratislava will make getting connected a relatively easy task.
The International Women’s Club of Bratislava (www.iwc.sk ) is a non-profit, English-language organisation for women of all ages and nationalities, while the Bratislava Expat Meetup (www.meetup.com/Bratislava-Expat-Meetup-Group ) offers monthly events where you can connect with other expats. The Slovakian Lions Club (www.lionsclub-expat.org ) has an English-speaking group that works on local charitable initiatives and Toastmasters (www.bratislava.toastmasters.sk ) also has a branch in the city. There are also several Chambers of Commerce operating in Bratislava offering a mix of business and social activities.
And finally, try to learn some basic Slovak – it will certainly make day-to-day errands and activities much simpler , and it will help you start to feel like a genuine part of your new community.