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Košice by the eyes of foreigners: are they already calling the city home?

Although Slovakia is not such a multicultural country, many foreigners have found their home here. It´s similar with the metropolis of the east. We asked four people from abroad and one Slovak woman about their reasons why they came to the city. They also provided us with their view on the life in the city, its benefits and whether they feel at home in the city.

Catherine from Serbia

I did not choose Košice, Košice chose me. I came here in May 2016 to my former ex-boyfriend and after the breakup I decided to stay because I like it here. I have never been to Košice before and it never occurred to me that I would live here. I’ve been here now for 5 years. Košice is a nice city and I met a lot of interesting people here. I lead an active life and everything I like can be done here. I also highly praise the ecological level of the city and its surroundings. I miss the warmer weather, more sun and decent drivers who could stop at a crosswalk.

Elkhan Valiyev from Azerbaijan

I ended up in Kosice accidentally,there wasn’t a real reason to come here. I just heard that there is a company in Slovakia that needs to hire an employee who knows Azeri language for a call center. I wasn’t really expecting a job offer, cause the chance is very low if I take into consideration that legal preparation of documents are very complicated. So I had an interview for maybe 15 min and after a week I got it and started the legal procedure which took 6 months.

First thing which I noticed in the city when I arrived was the air. The air was different, more clean and it was amazing. Next one is when I left the hotel in day time is a type of infrastructure,buildings in city center they are unique, beautiful and as I understood almost all of them in center has its own story behind. The Church, Fontains all these things together, made a nice mix of feelings. I know it could sound strange because you got used to that.

Kristína from Martin

I remember how during high school we went to a theater performance in Košice and at first sight the city enchanted me. When we were walking around the Main, I knew that I would return to the city one day, but I had no idea that it would be permanent. I applied for university in Košice, I finished my studies, I got a job, I found the love and work that fills me – creative tailoring. I have lived in Košice for 11 years and during that time I had the opportunity to get to know the city well. I perceive it very positively, it offers cultural, sports and other events. I also appreciate that there are many opportunities to assert myself, for example in creative sewing, as the city is full of young people who want to support local production and that motivates me.

From my point of view, the Košice region has a great future and potential for development, especially it has a number of beautiful places to attract tourists. In Košice, it would still be possible to work on the quality of infrastructure, skating routes and cycle paths.

Javier from Spain

I came to Kosice in 2015 because i was headhunted in LinkedIn and got a very interesting offer to work in a Human resources project. It was a good change for me in my professional carrier and I was living in Hungary.  

 I am Spanish and the culture is quite different. At the beginning i was confused it was all looking quite communist, so many blocks and buildings but the city center was looking wonderful. Slowly with the time the buildings seems to look normal and not any more communist or old fashioned.  I am currently living here 6 years, I might say with learning the culture things change a lot. I feel one Slovak more, also I speak the language I have very nice circle of friends, Slovaks and other nationalities. 

The way of living in Kosice is as you want to live it. I believe that is a city with many opportunities. The close nature allows you to enjoy very much walks and also biking in the surrounding. I love the winters full of snow, I´m a very big fun of snowboarding. People normally think there is no many bars or clubs, well… Night life is not the most part of my life and honestly speaking when living in another countries with more options at the end people always goes to the same 2/3 bars.

I might say at the beginning, 6 years ago, very few people were able to answer me something in English but nowadays it changed a lot. That was a blocking for me to understand the culture and the way of thinking of the people from Kosice. Nowadays I enjoy walking my dog and speaking with old people in the parks. It might sound boring but in two years I´m able to speak the language thanks to the willingness of this old people to explain me and listen to me. I think in general people in Kosice are very open and friendly with the curiosity to know about other countries and cultures, just sometimes is missing the first step or there is the language barrier.  To finish all this I would say that I consider Kosice as home. When I´m in another country and I speak about home I always refer to Slovakia and not to Spain anymore. 

Katarzyna from Poland

I decided to come to Košice mainly because of my fiancé, it´s his hometown. We considered the possibility of living in Warsaw, where I originally come from, but I fell in love with Košice at first sight. Both, the city and the proximity of the Tatra Mountains, captivated me so much that we finally decided that I will move to Košice. I also wanted to experience an interesting adventure, try something new in my life, meet new people, learn more about Slovak culture, history, cuisine and of course learn beautiful Slovak language. During my studies, I did not participate in any student exchange program, so going abroad for a longer time was a serious, but also very tempting life change for me.

In retrospect, I do not regret my decision, the only thing I miss, especially now during pandemic times, are more frequent meetings with my family in Poland. In May it’s been exactly four years since I moved to Slovakia. Košice has become my second home, I feel very comfortable here. My perception of the city has changed over the years, because from a place I was visiting occasionally, Košice has gradually become a place where I live and identify with.

Košice is a beautiful lovely city with a lot to offer. From the very beginning I was captivated by the fact that Košice is surrounded by picturesque hills, mountains and forests. I love walking along the Main street, admire the amazing architecture and explore all these small atmospheric streets surrounding the Old Town. I am never bored here, the city and its surroundings provide many attractions. The proximity of the breath-taking Tatra Mountains is also a huge advantage for me. I also like Košice for the fact that I usually have everything what I need nearby, or I can easily go by foot or on bicycle, what after moving from Warsaw, where I spent hours in traffic jams, was and still is a very positive change for me.

What´s your own experience with Košice? Share with us in the comment.

Edita Fabian Hilgartová

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