By: Adra Klopfer, Work and Travel Employer Services Manager

Last month, CCI Greenheart had a whirlwind of Job Fairs in Europe. During this trip, the former Czechoslovakia was visited – The Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Our Czech partner agency offered students from both Czech and Slovakia. Most Czech & Slovak students made their job selections starting in March, which made for a perfect time to interview participants in person and see how Prague & Bratislava celebrate the Easter holiday first-hand!

733917_398120156953792_1505550923_nIn the Prague Easter market, these traditional “korbace” (whips) were on display. Whips on Easter? Yes! It’s a nationwide tradition on Easter Monday for Czech men to lightly lash their female family members and romantic interests, as a blessing for a year of health and beauty. If the Czech grandfather or father is not braiding their own willow-branch whips for the men of the family, they are available for sale at the local markets. And don’t forget the painted eggs! In exchange for a playful whipping, men receive hand-painted eggs and chocolates from their dames. If you are a young lad, you even get some Czech Korunas (Crowns). {The Czech Republic is in the EU, but does not use the Euro.}

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The love season continues This is picture shows the latest fashion among young lovers, which is to place a lock on the bridge or other locks, to symbolize their everlasting love. If you are headed to Prague with your lover, bring your Masterlock!

And for the most important part of the fair… the participant interviews! This picture was taken after everyone was asked to give a big and cheesy “American smile.” “American smile” is actually a well-known phrase among all Czech and Slovaks. It came about from Americans always showing their teeth and open-mouthed smiles in movies, TV shows, and advertisements. If you ask your participants about the “American smile,” they may even put their second and third fingers between their lips, which symbolizes the recommended spacing for an “American smile.” If your Czech and Slovak students aren’t smiling with their teeth showing this summer, it’s not because they’re sad or shy – it’s just the culture!

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We look forward to seeing the Czech and Slovak participants as they arrive in the U.S. for their Work & Travel program this summer. Be sure to show them your toothiest American smiles!