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Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East

The People and Culture of Slovakia

Slovakia is a Central European country, located to the south of Poland. It shares its borders with Hungary, Austria, Poland, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. If you get a chance to visit or live in Slovakia, you'll undoubtedly notice that the weather tends to be a bit on the cool side, even during the summer months. You might also initially feel as those the people of Slovakia are also a bit on the cool side. However, although the people of Slovakia value privacy and tend to be a bit on the quiet side, this does not mean that they are cold or unfriendly. Once you understand their basic nature, you won't be put off by the fact that they tend to address everyone except their family members by the honorific titles of "Pan" and "Pani," which is Slovakian for "Mr." and "Mrs." If you plan to visit or live in Slovakia, here are a few facts about the country, its people and its culture that will help you get more out of your visit.

Understanding the Language

The people of Slovakia speak a language that is commonly referred to as "Slovakian." Their language is very close to Czech, and is part of the group of West Slavic languages. It's interesting to note that until near the end of the 18th century, this language didn't exist in a written form. A Roman Catholic priest ultimately developed the written language. It was designed so that it's written basically the same way as it's pronounced.

Understanding the Slovakian Culture

You'll find that the Slovakian people generally demonstrate a strong connection to the land, with many people having roots to agricultural and rural industries. Although modern industry is much more common in Slovakia today as compared to years gone by, you'll still find that are large percentage of the population is quite dependant on agriculture, preferring a more rural lifestyle. This is especially true for older people. Although the recent years have brought more freedom to the lifestyle of the Slovakian people, you'll still notice strong ties to folk traditions and a more rural, simple way of life.

Family structure and close friends are very important to the Slovakian lifestyle. The people of this country customarily demonstrate a strong obligation and dedication to their family. As compared to many other countries, you'll probably notice a stronger dependence on the family, in terms of emotional, social and financial support.

Although their dedication to family is very strong, Slovakians tend to be a more private people. Their more private nature does have a tendency to make them seem a bit reserved, formal and perhaps even a bit stiff and unfriendly. However, the more time you spend with people the more they will open up. Conversations with Slovakian people are almost always polite and respectful, with a focus on making sure everything is said in a diplomatic fashion. Of course, among family and close friends people do tend to use a more informal and frank manner of speaking.

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