“I think it does feel like home”: Valerio Mendoza Guillén on his 14 years in Prague

Photo: Babylon / Czech Television

When Valerio Mendoza Guillén first arrived in Prague in 2009, he had no intention of staying away from his native Venezuela for long. Fourteen years later, the documentary filmmaker and teacher at FAMU has laid strong roots in the city and has even co-founded an NGO – La Casa Venezolana, that helps Venezuelans who are new to the country. I met Guillén in a Vinohrady cafe to learn more about what led him to make Czechia his second home.

How has integration into Czech society been for you over the years you spent here?

“It has taken a lot of time – after 14 years I would say it’s going well. I think the key element is the language, and I think you either have incredible self-discipline to learn it, or you’re forced to learn it from family or work – and neither have been the case for me.

“My work is 100% in Spanish and English, and my partner is also from Venezuela, most of my friends are not Czech, so I’m really never in a daily situation where I need to listen or speak in Czech, so my learning curve has been quite slow. I think if you don’t have great language skills, integration can be a challenge.”

See the rest here.

Author: Amelia Mola-Schmidt