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Reader feedback: Thoughts germinate at a computer company class

Re: Young Slovaks prepared to move abroad, News survey, January 30-February 5, 2006

After the lively discussion last week about people emigrating from Slovakia, I thought I had better do some research. This is what I found out on Monday when I went teaching English:

I teach in a computer company here in Žilina that is doing rather well at the moment. It is among the top 150 fastest growing companies in Europe, or something like that. Being IT people, and not bad at English (despite my efforts to ruin them), I thought they ought to be the sort of people who would be interested in moving. It turns out that, although they quite often check what they could be earning abroad on the Internet, most of them are not ready to pack their bags just yet.

The reason seems to be their families. Finding work for both partners in the same place, finding a suitable place for a family to live and settling children in schools are really complicated tasks. Another point that came up was that people rely on their family network here in Slovakia and often can't imagine life without it (or would feel guilty about abandoning it). I have one student who really loved living in the States but came back in the end because of his wife's attachment to family.

Of course, these people are living comfortably and their company looks like it has a secure future. I also know of families where the husband is away three months at a time in the Czech Republic on business, but this is in areas with much higher unemployment and desperation.

So, it looks like the way to keep people in the country, apart from economic reforms that bring better work prospects, is to do like the KDH: encourage people to get married young and foster family ties. Unfortunately this is precisely contrary to the modern demand for flexibility at all costs.

Roger,
Žilina

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