Skopje, North Macedonia Report of what it's like to live there - 11/28/22
Personal Experiences from Skopje, North Macedonia
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
First expat experience.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Home city is Washington DC. Trip to post was ~12 hours with connections in Frankfurt and/Vienna. It is relatively easy to travel to Skopje.
3. What years did you live here?
4. How long have you lived here?
I lived in Skopje for three years.
5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Department of Defense took me to this post.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing for Embassy support is provided and is lovely. Commute times varies from 15-30 minutes.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
When we were there cost of living was extremely inexpensive for groceries and household items compared to the US.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Cereal and peanut butter!
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
There was little lacking in food options. American-style steak was not easy to find but almost all other types of food were available.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
None that we encountered.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
Mail was via the Embassy.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Cost of 30 hour per week household help/nanny support was ~$750/month.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
We used home gym equipment which we purchased locally.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
No issues with CC or ATMs.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
Catholic, Baptist and non-denominational.
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
I have minimal language training and did just fine for day to day living. If you can get it, I would recommend.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Taxis are safe and plentiful.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Small cars. European parts were easily accessible. Roads were somewhat “improved”. SUVs did not fit on the roads.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Veterinary care is exceptional! No quarantine was required.
Health & Safety:
1. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
They did not understand food allergies. Learn the translation of your particular concerns. Nuts are in almost all sweets
Schools & Children:
1. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
I wanted to share an experience we had in Skopje. Our son was diagnosed with learning disabilities in the first year of a three year tour. We were beyond blessed to be introduced to an amazing young Macedonian women who had studied reading disabilities and specialized in working with students like our son. We were fortunate to have the DOD support our staying in Skopje and providing funding to get him the educational support he needed by bringing this young lady on to the staff at QSI. This amazing young lady changed the trajectory of our son’s life.
When we left Skopje, QSI kept this amazing young lady on staff. Fast forward seven years and that young boy is now in ninth grade and thriving. Today, we Zoomed with this young women who is still making a difference in young people’s lives both at QSI, and teaching local professional development courses with Macedonian teachers to better the educational situation in her country. If you are in Skopje or considering Skopje and have a child with learning disabilities I cannot give a big enough recommendation to DO IT! There is a Wonder Woman there who can and will make a difference in your kiddos life!! Please reach out if you would like to know more! This is not a paid advertisement for QSI….just a humble brag on an amazing asset in an unsuspecting location!