Expat students offered cheap digs in exchange for help with senior citizens

Published:  22 Aug at 6 PM
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If you’ve arrived in Prague and can’t afford to rent an apartment, a new volunteer scheme may be your answer to sleeping on the streets.

As Prague’s popularity as an expat hub soars, so do its rental charges, leaving many new university students the choice of going home or sleeping on someone’s sofa. A recently-started answer to the problem may be of use, especially for expatriate students with social consciences. Prague’s district 3 has initiated a pilot plan which will help solve students’ accommodation problems as well as being beneficial to Czech senior citizens living in nursing homes.

In exchange for amazingly low rents, students will need to commit 30 hours a month to helping nursing homes’ senior citizens via activities designed to integrate the elderly into society. The Prague government borrowed the initiative from Karvina, a town in Moravia, where a kindly student is getting free accommodation in exchange for 14 hours a month spent in developing a cultural programme for residents in one of the town’s nursing homes. Similar programmes have been in place in other European countries such as the Netherlands and France.

Expat applicants for the scheme need to be full-time students at a Prague university, be able to speak the Czech language to a degree and have a clean criminal record. Those interested are being asked to submit a project plan and senior citizen activity schedule along with an application to Prague’s district 3 town hall. As well as helping to increase senior citizens’ social activities, volunteers are expected to accompany elderly residents on walks as well as helping with emails, social media activity and other tech issues. Applications must be made by the end of this month.
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