Ljubljana, Slovenia Report of what it's like to live there - 03/04/11

Personal Experiences from Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia 03/04/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

4th expat experience.

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2. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

4th expat experience.

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3. 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?

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4. 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?

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5. How long have you lived here?

Several months.

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6. How long have you lived here?

Several months.

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7. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Corporate

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8. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Corporate

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Some people live in small old flats in the town centre. These are really expensive. Lots of people live in the residential outskirts in small flats. Some people live out of town in small houses and have a 30 minute commute to work.

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2. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Some people live in small old flats in the town centre. These are really expensive. Lots of people live in the residential outskirts in small flats. Some people live out of town in small houses and have a 30 minute commute to work.

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3. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

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4. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

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5. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing.

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6. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing.

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7. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

The restaurants here are all good. You can eat local cuisine, Italian, Mexican. Fast food is not big here. Eating out is not cheap.

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8. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

The restaurants here are all good. You can eat local cuisine, Italian, Mexican. Fast food is not big here. Eating out is not cheap.

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9. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

Everything is readily available in all supermarkets.

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10. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

Everything is readily available in all supermarkets.

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11. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

I don't think there are any apart from tick bites in the forests.

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12. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

I don't think there are any apart from tick bites in the forests.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Local post office is fine.

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2. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Local post office is fine.

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3. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I don't know. Don't think anyone can afford it.

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4. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I don't know. Don't think anyone can afford it.

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5. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, there are lots. Slovenes are very sporty people.

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6. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, there are lots. Slovenes are very sporty people.

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7. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Available everywhere and easy to use.

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8. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Available everywhere and easy to use.

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9. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There are some.

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10. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There are some.

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11. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

If you get cable then you'll have lots of international channels.

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12. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

If you get cable then you'll have lots of international channels.

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13. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None. Almost everybody speaks English. But if you want to get to know the locals you need to be fluent in Slovene.

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14. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None. Almost everybody speaks English. But if you want to get to know the locals you need to be fluent in Slovene.

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15. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I think it should be ok in most parts.

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16. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I think it should be ok in most parts.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Everything is affordable. In the town bus connections are good. For travel anywhere else in the country you need a car.

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2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Everything is affordable. In the town bus connections are good. For travel anywhere else in the country you need a car.

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3. 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?

Any car is fine.

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4. 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?

Any car is fine.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, approximately 30 euros per month.

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2. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, approximately 30 euros per month.

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3. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

There are lots of companies you can use.

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4. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

There are lots of companies you can use.

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Pets:

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?

No, they just need a passport, microchip and the regular vaccinations (rabies, etc).

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2. 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?

No, they just need a passport, microchip and the regular vaccinations (rabies, etc).

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3. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

The vets are ok and all speak English. Vets and kennels are very expensive.

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4. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

The vets are ok and all speak English. Vets and kennels are very expensive.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

There are none.

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2. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

There are none.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Casual to smart casual. Just like anywhere in Western or Central Europe.

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4. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Casual to smart casual. Just like anywhere in Western or Central Europe.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

No, this is a safe country.

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2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

No, this is a safe country.

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3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No concerns. Quality of healthcare is fine.

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No concerns. Quality of healthcare is fine.

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5. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Moderate in Ljubljana (set in a valley). The rest of the country has good air quality.

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6. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Moderate in Ljubljana (set in a valley). The rest of the country has good air quality.

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7. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Lots of rain. Cold for most parts of the year. Lots of fog and many overcast days.

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8. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Lots of rain. Cold for most parts of the year. Lots of fog and many overcast days.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

British International School of Ljubljana: uses the English National Curriculum. Small class sizes. Not very international, most pupils are Slovene. Not strong academically. QSI: seems to have a bad reputation among expats. American curriculum. Catholic background. Danilo Kumar: Slovene school that offers an English language curriculum (I think with IB diploma). Has a bad reputation. Generally speaking, the schools here don't offer a very good education.

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2. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

British International School of Ljubljana: uses the English National Curriculum. Small class sizes. Not very international, most pupils are Slovene. Not strong academically. QSI: seems to have a bad reputation among expats. American curriculum. Catholic background. Danilo Kumar: Slovene school that offers an English language curriculum (I think with IB diploma). Has a bad reputation. Generally speaking, the schools here don't offer a very good education.

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3. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There is some support at an extra cost.

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4. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There is some support at an extra cost.

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5. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There is one at the British International School of Ljubljana.

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6. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There is one at the British International School of Ljubljana.

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7. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. Check at the local gyms.

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8. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. Check at the local gyms.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Very small.

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2. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Very small.

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3. Morale among expats:

Low morale. Only American families with children seem to be happy because they socialise together.

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4. Morale among expats:

Low morale. Only American families with children seem to be happy because they socialise together.

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5. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

You can visit a few bars along the river in the centre (gets boring though). There are some good concerts on every week.

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6. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

You can visit a few bars along the river in the centre (gets boring though). There are some good concerts on every week.

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7. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Singles and couples: I would not recommend moving here. It is a very lonely place to live, where it is extremely difficult to make friends or even meet people. The weather is bad most of the year, so you spend a lot of time alone at home. The locals will not make you feel welcome. The expat community is tiny, mainly older people. Families: when the weather is good there is lots to do and if you have access to the US embassy community you'll be fine as people stick together. If you're not part of the embassy staff you will find it hard to meet people. The international education on offer here is below the standards offered at other schools around the world, so I wouldn't recommend moving here with school age children either.

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8. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Singles and couples: I would not recommend moving here. It is a very lonely place to live, where it is extremely difficult to make friends or even meet people. The weather is bad most of the year, so you spend a lot of time alone at home. The locals will not make you feel welcome. The expat community is tiny, mainly older people. Families: when the weather is good there is lots to do and if you have access to the US embassy community you'll be fine as people stick together. If you're not part of the embassy staff you will find it hard to meet people. The international education on offer here is below the standards offered at other schools around the world, so I wouldn't recommend moving here with school age children either.

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9. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I don't know. Since you don't meet locals, it shouldn't really matter though.

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10. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I don't know. Since you don't meet locals, it shouldn't really matter though.

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11. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I have heard of. Although they generally don't seem to talk positively about people from other ex-Yugoslav countries.

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12. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I have heard of. Although they generally don't seem to talk positively about people from other ex-Yugoslav countries.

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13. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Visiting the mountains, lakes and beaches. Going on day trips to Italy.

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14. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Visiting the mountains, lakes and beaches. Going on day trips to Italy.

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15. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Visit the countryside and neighbouring countries.

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16. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Visit the countryside and neighbouring countries.

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17. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Honey, wine, Alpine cheese.

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18. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Honey, wine, Alpine cheese.

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19. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Things to do in the countryside (approximately 30 to 60 minutes car drive from Ljubljana; public transport is not an option):During the summer months (May to October) there is lots to do outdoors: hiking, climbing, white water rafting, visiting beaches and lakes. It's easy to drive to Austria, Italy or Croatia (max. 1 hour to somewhere worth visiting). In the winter skiing on beginner slopes is an option (often maintained through artificial snow).Weather: The autumn is very unpleasant with lots rainfall. The winter is very cold; some winters have lots of snow. The spring is cold and rainy. The summer is quite sunny and hot. Ljubljana: The town is small with a nicely-maintained picturesque town centre. The rest of the town is grey, with lots of ugly high rise housing. In residential areas it's very quiet, you don't get to know your neighbours and the streets are dark and empty in the evening. In the summer there are lots of tourists (also young visitors out drinking), the rest of the year the centre doesn't get busy. There are a few bars and some nice cafes and restaurants, but after a few months it gets quite boring, and pretty depressing, because the centre is often empty in the evenings. Money: salaries in Slovenia are generally quite low and the tax is very high. Housing is expensive (approximately 600 Euros per month for a decent small one bedroom flat in a residential area). Heating and electricity bills are exceptionally high. Food and eating out is quite expensive. Everyone I know finds it hard to make ends meet, saving money is not an option. Culture: the Slovenes are reserved people. Waiters in restaurants and staff in shops are very friendly and helpful, however apart from that it is almost impossible to get to know the locals. Since there is only a tiny expat community in Slovenia, this makes it very hard to make friends here, because the locals are simply not interested. US embassy people are very friendly, but most don't mingle with non-embassy foreigners, and most have young children. This is not a place for singles or young couples without children.

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20. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Things to do in the countryside (approximately 30 to 60 minutes car drive from Ljubljana; public transport is not an option):During the summer months (May to October) there is lots to do outdoors: hiking, climbing, white water rafting, visiting beaches and lakes. It's easy to drive to Austria, Italy or Croatia (max. 1 hour to somewhere worth visiting). In the winter skiing on beginner slopes is an option (often maintained through artificial snow).Weather: The autumn is very unpleasant with lots rainfall. The winter is very cold; some winters have lots of snow. The spring is cold and rainy. The summer is quite sunny and hot. Ljubljana: The town is small with a nicely-maintained picturesque town centre. The rest of the town is grey, with lots of ugly high rise housing. In residential areas it's very quiet, you don't get to know your neighbours and the streets are dark and empty in the evening. In the summer there are lots of tourists (also young visitors out drinking), the rest of the year the centre doesn't get busy. There are a few bars and some nice cafes and restaurants, but after a few months it gets quite boring, and pretty depressing, because the centre is often empty in the evenings. Money: salaries in Slovenia are generally quite low and the tax is very high. Housing is expensive (approximately 600 Euros per month for a decent small one bedroom flat in a residential area). Heating and electricity bills are exceptionally high. Food and eating out is quite expensive. Everyone I know finds it hard to make ends meet, saving money is not an option. Culture: the Slovenes are reserved people. Waiters in restaurants and staff in shops are very friendly and helpful, however apart from that it is almost impossible to get to know the locals. Since there is only a tiny expat community in Slovenia, this makes it very hard to make friends here, because the locals are simply not interested. US embassy people are very friendly, but most don't mingle with non-embassy foreigners, and most have young children. This is not a place for singles or young couples without children.

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21. Can you save money?

No, not at all.

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22. Can you save money?

No, not at all.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

hopes to get to know the locals or have a proper social life (circle of friends).

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4. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

hopes to get to know the locals or have a proper social life (circle of friends).

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5. But don't forget your:

books, CDs, DVDs, e-mail and Skype contact details of your friends so you can talk to people, anything to keep yourself sane alone at home during the autum, winter and spring months.

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6. But don't forget your:

books, CDs, DVDs, e-mail and Skype contact details of your friends so you can talk to people, anything to keep yourself sane alone at home during the autum, winter and spring months.

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7. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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8. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Any good travel guide (the Rough Guide seems to be the most detailed one).

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9. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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10. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Any good travel guide (the Rough Guide seems to be the most detailed one).

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11. Do you have any other comments?

As stated before, if you are single or a couple without children, then I seriously advise not moving here, as it is a very lonely place to be and even though you think you may enjoy it because you can spend lots of time in the beautiful countryside, that is not the case in the cold and wet months from October to April. Families with young children who have access to the US embassy community should be fine, but only if they are willing to put their children into schools that don't offer high quality education.

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12. Do you have any other comments?

As stated before, if you are single or a couple without children, then I seriously advise not moving here, as it is a very lonely place to be and even though you think you may enjoy it because you can spend lots of time in the beautiful countryside, that is not the case in the cold and wet months from October to April. Families with young children who have access to the US embassy community should be fine, but only if they are willing to put their children into schools that don't offer high quality education.

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