Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina

Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 12/25/17

Background:

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

I've lived in Italy, Spain, Thailand, Cuba, and S. Korea (about 18 years overseas).

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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?

Washington DC, USA--about 13 hours with connection through Munich or Vienna.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2.5 years.

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

Diplomatic assignment.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

We have a large house with a good sized yard about 15-30 minutes from the city (depending on traffic). Apartments in the city, houses in the burbs. There's a neighborhood nicknamed "Little America" that has quite a few embassy families.

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

I'm a bad one to answer this because two years in Havana really teaches you how to get by with what you have. We really haven't had any problems finding what we need, and can order stuff through the DPO if we get a bad craving. The fruits and vegetables here are delicious and mostly organic. They do spoil faster, but that's what happens when food hasn't been genetically modified to last forever. Frozen options are available for when they are out of season. Plus, groceries are MUCH cheaper than in the US!

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

Corned beef.

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

Donesi.ba delivers from a variety of restaurants, and most places will do take-out if you ask. There are plenty of great, inexpensive restaurants with European cuisine. Not much decent Asian food other than two Japanese places and one mediocre Chinese restaurant. It's all VERY cheap compared to the US though, so who cares?

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

NONE! No ants, cockroaches or other giant nasty critters worth noting. It's the silver lining of those brutally cold winters.

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Daily Life:

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

We use the DPO.

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

I know there is plenty of help available (nannies, housekeepers, gardeners), but I don't know the cost since we don't use any.

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

I think there's a gym in the embassy but I've never used it.

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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?

You can use credit cards at most stores, but cash is best for the markets. ATMs are safe and common.

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

No idea.

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

Most locals speak enough English to help you with whatever you need. Many of the older people don't speak English, but are passable in German or Russian. But if you want to really get out beyond Sarajevo and the expat world, knowing some Bosnian is a huge help (not to mention respectful--we're living here, after all). There is the embassy's language program, and also plentiful local tutors at VERY reasonable rates.

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

Yes, definitely. Sidewalks are a mess. The city is definitely not handicapped-friendly.

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Transportation:

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

Yes, very affordable and safe. A bit of pickpocketing on the tram, but just use common sense.

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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?

I've got a Jeep Liberty which has been great for getting around the hills but a bit of a pain in the butt for parts (we order them from Amazon). I imagine it'd be hard to navigate in a car much larger than that outside of the city. All-wheel drive is good to have if you plan to go up in the mountains, but not necessary. Cost of labor is really cheap.

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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, ours was hooked up within a few days.

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

We use a local provider.

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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?

There are several good veterinarians (especially Dr. Haris Custovic of City Vet), although they are limited by the resources and technology available here in Bosnia. Extremely complicated cases can go to Zagreb--about a 4 hours' drive. There is no quarantine and very little rabies. There are a fair amount of street dogs, which can make walking your dog a bit of a challenge (tip: win them over by feeding them a few times before you take your dog out and once they know you, they will let you pass).

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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?

I think most work at the embassy or at the school.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There are PLENTY! I volunteer at a dog shelter, I know of a few people who volunteer at a local orphanage. There are local charities like Pomozi that I'm sure would love extra help, or school kids who'd love someone to practice their English with. This country is still recovering from a brutal civil war--the ways to help are ENDLESS.

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Health & Safety:

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

This is a very safe post. Pickpocketing and minor property crime seems to be about as bad as it gets. A few houses have been broken into during our time here, but as far as I know it was always when no one was home. Someone once tried to break into our house at night, but ran away the minute my husband and dogs came down the stairs.

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

Air quality is pretty bad with all of the burning in winter. Medical care is pretty rudimentary and most serious conditions are medically evacuated. Hate to say it, but I wouldn't even have a root canal here.

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3. 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?

Air quality is bad in winter due to everyone burning wood, coal, etc for heat. Spring can be rough on allergies due to copious pollen. I wouldn't recommend Sarajevo for anyone with lung issues, but as long as you follow the pollution index warnings, it's fine. I work outside all year without a mask, and I haven't coughed up a lung yet.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

There are gluten-free products available, but you have to look for them.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Sarajevo suffers a bit from Whiny Expat Syndrome, but then again so does every other place we've ever been. If you want to live in the US, please don't move here.

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

Summers get pretty hot, winters can be snowy and VERY cold (last January it got down to -8° F). Winters are quite wet, with heavy fog/smog.

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Schools & Children:

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

Our kids have gone to QSI for middle school and junior high. It's not the best nor the worst they've been to. They're happy overall, but wish there were more kids (it's pretty small). There's also a French school, but I know nothing about it.

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

Plenty of activities available. Our kids have taken horseback riding, art, fencing, rock climbing, boxing, and skiing lessons--at ridiculously affordable rates!

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Expat Life:

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

It's relatively small, compared to many other places we've lived. Seems to me that there are two kinds of expats the world over: those who want everywhere to be just like home, and those who are thrilled that it isn't. The latter love it here; the former don't love it anywhere. This is a make-your-own-fun kind of place, but there is plenty of fun to be had.

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

I've met most of my friends through dog rescue so I can't really say.

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

I think it's a great place for anyone with a good attitude! There are plenty of bars and fun places for singles and couples to hang out. It's also a very kid-friendly city with very inexpensive things to do with children, so families will love it too.

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

That is a bit of a prickly one. Bosnia has a long way to go in terms of gay rights. The LGBT community here is not open at all.

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

There are lingering ethnic/religious hostilities from the war.

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

Jajce is a lovely day trip from Sarajevo, as is Mostar. But the biggest highlight has been the Bosnian people themselves. They are some of the kindest, funniest people I have ever met. I will carry this country in my heart for the rest of my life.

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

Rock climbing, skiiing, trekking through the mountains, taking the kids to the wave pool at Termal Rivera or down the bobsled at Sunnyland, walking down the abandoned Olympic bobsled run on Trebevic, strolling around Old Town or by the Goat Bridge, having a coffee and enjoying the view from the Yellow Bastion, renting four-seater bicycles on Wilsonovo, people watching at Mixer...

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

There is plenty to buy here: leather goods, sheepskins, woven rugs, copper, etc.

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

Very low cost of living, great food, incredibly warm people, laid back pace of life, low crime, amazing history, and of course, rakija.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How bloody cold winter was going to be!!!

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

In a heartbeat.

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

Preconceived ideas about this being living in Western Europe. This is the former Yugoslavia, NOT France or Germany.

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4. But don't forget your:

Warm clothes, ski gear, good walking shoes, dark sense of humor.

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

The 2001 movie No Man's Land. If you can appreciate its absurdity and dark humor, you'll love Bosnia.

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 09/26/17

Background:

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

No.

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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?

United States.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Three years.

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

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Housing in made up of town homes and single family homes mostly outside of the downtown core of the city. There are also apartments in the downtown area, along with a few homes. Typical commute time from one of the town homes or houses is thirty minutes or more depending on traffic. Unless you have an apartment, expect lots of stairs in your embassy housing. You will likely receive a house with two or more floors. If you live in an apartment downtown, you can walk or drive to work. The commute is about 15 minutes, maybe less depending on traffic. The water cuts off ever day between midnight and six in the morning. It also cuts off at random times during the day, throughout the year. Plan accordingly.

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

The availability of fruits and vegetables is very seasonal in Bosnia. Costs are cheap in comparison to the United States, but the fruits and vegetables you buy at post perish a lot faster after purchase. Other than the local fish that gets trucked in from local fish farms, the seafood that makes it to Sarajevo is imported. You can buy pork from Konzum (a Croatian chain) when it is available. You can also get pork in the Republic of Srpska. There is also a small exchange in the embassy that you can buy foodstuff from the U.S..

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

None. Most food items or household goods could be bought in Sarajevo, a neighboring country, or online.

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

Very few restaurants are non-smoking, so if smoke is a problem you will likely not be eating out a lot. Donesi.ba is used by the expat community for takeout/food delivery. Konzum has a grocery delivery service you can use by visiting their website. There is also a "Blue Apron-like" service that will send you a curated box of fruits and vegetables but the quality is often miss more than a hit.

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

No.

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Daily Life:

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

Diplomatic pouch or DPO.

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

Household help, nannies, and babysitters are inexpensive and generally employed by the community. There are a finite number of babysitters and nannies available. As such, competition for their services is high. Unless your babysitter or nanny only works for you, chances are you are going to run into scheduling problems if you plan on going to events or parties without your kids because your nanny or babysitter will likely be busy if you didn't plan in advance or make arrangements.

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

The embassy has a gym and CrossFit. There are CrossFit classes in the city too, along with an olympic pool, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing, etc. In general they are not particularly expensive. You can pretty much find the facilities you are looking for.

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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?

Yes.

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

A little. Most people speak some English, but it is nice to learn some of the language to make life easier for yourself.

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

Yes, it is not a disability-friendly city.

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Transportation:

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

Taxis are safe. People have using local trams and buses at post as well. All affordable.

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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?

You can bring any car- there is no particular car that is better or worse for roads here. You should invest in snow tires or chains though, regardless of the car. The roads are brutal in winter.

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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. It takes about a week to get installed if it has not already been installed before you arrive. Fairly stable, and you can stream.

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

You should bring an unlocked phone to post. Prepaid simcards from BH Telecom are available at their stores in the Super Konzum and any of the downtown stores. Very inexpensive.

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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?

Most spouses work at the embassy or at the school.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There are volunteer opportunities with relief organizations, animal shelters and orphanages.

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Health & Safety:

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

Air pollution. Medical care is poor here. You will need to be medically evacuated if something happens. Dental care is terrible.

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2. 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?

Air pollution is a big problem. It is not limited to the winter, it is year-round. It is untenable in the winter. In the summer and spring (when the temperatures start to warm up) it gets better but it can still be pretty horrible even if the day looks clear. If you have children, especially children with breathing problems, you should seriously reconsider bringing them here, in my opinion. If you are coming here, you will need to buy extra air purifiers for your home. You will also need to buy air pollution masks for everyone in your family.

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

Dry. Cold or cool for most of the year save for summer.

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Schools & Children:

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

There is the French school, and QSI. If you have high school or middle school children, you should probably use the school allowance for a boarding school or consider another post if you are unwilling to be separated from your children during your tour.

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2. 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 are a number of Montessori schools for preschool. Where you live in the city will likely influence your choice of preschool.

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

Yes. There are swim classes, horseback riding classes, camps, cooking classes- Bosnians love kids and there are a wealth of kid-centric things here.

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Expat Life:

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

It's a moderate-sized expat community. The happiness you find will be a result of making your own fun. Morale varies and depends on where you live and what you do. It is generally poor.

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

Facebook groups, InterNations, Meetup.

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

Bosnians love kids, and in that regard Sarajevo is a great place for families. Single people have it much harder for the usual reasons.

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

There are a number of things to see outside of Sarajevo, but most people head to nearby Croatia, Montenegro, Hungary, Slovenia, and further because they are so close.

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

Lots of affordable art for sale downtown. Paintings, prints, ceramics. There is also the metalwork which is more expensive but worth picking up a piece or two.

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

If you like skiing, this is the place to be.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How bad the air pollution was.

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

Not with children.

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

Expectations of community.

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4. But don't forget your:

Air pollution masks and extra purifiers.

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

Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Filipović.

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 02/06/17

Background:

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

Not a first expat experience.

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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?

Washington DC. No direct flights from Sarajevo, about 13 hours through Vienna or Munich.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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

U.S. Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Apartments downtown, townhouses, houses with yards on the outskirts of Sarajevo. Sarajevo is a small town, the longest commute to the Embassy during rush hour isn't more than 30-45 min, 10 minutes without traffic.

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

All basic groceries available and cheap. Wonderful fruit and vegetable markets. Good meat selection, however the cuts are different that in the U.S. and not all meat shops will sell pork.

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

Nothing.

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

Lots of good local restaurants if you like meat. Not many international chains - there is McDonalds and Vapiano.

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

No insect problems.

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Daily Life:

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

Relatively cheap and available. Most people will have a cleaning person for one day a week, families with small children tend to have a full time nanny/housekeeper.

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

Limited availability. The Embassy has a small gym. There are couple fitness centers, yoga studio, crossfit for adults. Some opportunities for children to join local sport teams - soccer and basketball are especially popular.

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

Credit cards are accepted at bigger stores and upscale restaurants. ATMs seem to be safe to use.

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

Young people speak English. You don't need to speak Bosnian but locals would appreciate it.

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Transportation:

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

Trams and taxis seem to be safe.

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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?

Smaller car for tiny downtown streets. However, given the harsh winters and mountainous terrain, an SUV worked out the best for us.

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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?

Easy to set up and reliable internet connection.

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

We used a local provider.

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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?

Unemployment in Bosnia is high, there aren't very many opportunities to work on local economy. Some expats teach at the international schools or volunteer.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

They are always looking for help at the animal shelter.

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

Business for work, smart casual for the rest. People in Bosnia and Herzegovina like to dress up.

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Health & Safety:

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

Nothing major at this point, pickpocketing just like in any bigger city.

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

Medical facilities are not great, I wouldn't have any major treatment done here.

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3. 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?

Wonderful April-September, very bad October-March. The city is located in a valley surrounded by high mountains. As soon as it gets cold, people burn low quality coal which sits in the valley and causes major pollution. On the flip side, you can drive 15 minutes up the mountain and find yourself in a pristine winter wonderland.

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

Four seasons. Hot summers, cold winters with snow.

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Schools & Children:

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

QSI and French School. QSI was good for our small children, parents with teengers didn't seem to be very happy. It is a small school, options are very limited. Also the school is in Vogosca, 20-60 min drive from Sarajevo, depending on your location and traffic.

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2. 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?

QSI has a preschool. There are several local montessori preschools: Blooming Child, Montessori House, Garden House. We were very happy with the Garden House.

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

Swimming, tennis, skiing, ice skating, ice-hockey, soccer, basketball. Unless you hire a private coach, most of the instruction might be in Bosnian.

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Expat Life:

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

Small expat community, good morale.

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

This is and easy town to walk around and entertain yourself. Lots of restaurants and bars, concerts, sport events...

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

Good for families.

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

Friendly people, good food (if you are not a vegetarian), skiing, hiking, proximity to the rest of Europe for weekend trips.

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

Skiing on Olympic slopes on Jahorina and Bjelasnica, hiking with a local guide. Film festival in the summer, National Theater concerts throughout the year.

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

Bosnian wool rugs and other wool products, beautiful wood carvings.

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

Low cost of living while enjoying European lifestyle.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I wish I was more ready for the reminiscence of the war that is still visible in the city.

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

Absolutely.

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3. But don't forget your:

Winter clothes and your skis!

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

Ivo Andric - Bosnian Chronicle.

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 05/26/16

Background:

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

No. We have lived in Brussels, the Hague, and have done multiple tours in Germany.

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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?

Seattle, WA. Sarajevo has very limited flights, as it's a small airport. Typical flight goes to Vienna, or Munich then east coast U.S.

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3. How long have you lived here?

We have lived in Sarajevo for 26 months.

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

U.S. Government working at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

This is a VERY small city. Long commutes are rare. We lived in the Skenderija area and I could be at the embassy inten minutes, walking or driving. We had a duplex, however there are many single family homes and really amazing apartments.

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

Super cheap and you can get just about anything.

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

Some specialty food items.

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

The food here is amazing.

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

None.

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Daily Life:

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

U.S. Embassy.

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

Nannies and housekeepers are everywhere and the going rate is 10 Bosnian marks per hour.

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

They US embassy has a very small gym. There is a great CrossFit gym (CrossFit Sarajevo) that has all classes in English. There are also a few other gyms located in the shopping centers.

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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?

This is a cash society. We use our ATM cards to get cash.

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

Yes, there are Catholic, Jewish and non-denominational services in English.

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

We had language training and I use it everyday. However, English is spoken by pretty much everyone under 30.

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

Yes. Lots of stairs, parking on sidewalks, no lifts....

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Transportation:

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

Train, tram and buses are not recommended due to safety issues. Taxis are everywhere, reliable and cheap.

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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?

We have a small SUV and have done well with it. We know people with big cars, small cars, vans and everything in between. There are some very small narrow roads in the city, but we take a taxi when we are going to those areas.

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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?

Not really "high" speed" but it's cheap.

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

There's one company.... use it.

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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. The veterinary care is great here.

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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?

No. There is no bilateral work agreement.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

I know several people who volunteer at the local dog shelters.

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

Work is very formal. The US embassy is not a casual place. The public is also pretty dressy as a whole. I can't go to the store in my workout clothes without a lot of dirty looks.

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Health & Safety:

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

Eh, maybe. There is a local guard force that works with the US embassy. U.S. embassy houses (and most homes) have bars on windows and reinforced doors. Violent crime is low here, it mostly theft. In the 26 months we've been here we know four people who have had their homes broken into. And our car window was smashed (right outside the police station!) last summer.

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

The air quality. Local healthcare is a joke. You need to pay some bribes and you can get a good doctor. There are some good private clinics. I have an excellent OB/GYN here, she's in private practice. The U.S. Embassy has a medical unit with a resident Regional Medical Officer and pediatrician.

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3. 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?

HORRIBLE! Honestly, this is our biggest issue with this post. The winter is bad. Sarajevo sits in a bowl of sorts with mountains on all side and very little wind. The air is so bad in the winter, you are not able to see the car in front of you when you're driving. We couldn't see the street from our house (that sits right on the road). Summer is better. Everyone smokes here, and smokes everywhere. The grocery store, the mall, the doctors office, everywhere. This is not a runners town, and not a place where you want to come if you have any respiratory issues.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

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

Weather is very similar to D.C. Hot summers, cold winters with a lot of snow.

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Schools & Children:

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

There is a branch of Quality Schools International, which is the largest international school. We don't have experience there, as we have pre-school age kiddos. Most people with small kids are very happy with QSI. The school lacks a lot of what older kids need, and a lot of high school kids are in boarding schools in Europe. There is also an excellent French school and a German school. The other option is Blooming Child, it's a K-12 Montessori School all in English.

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

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3. 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 are a lot of excellent preschools in Sarajveo. We have experience with The Montesorri House (both locations) and only have good things to say!

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

No.

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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 community and excellent morale in the summer, not so much in the winter. The air is really bad and it puts us all in a funk.

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

Great restaurants and bars.

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

This is a great post for people with small kids! Lots of our single friends are also very happy here.

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

Eh.... I think its a middle of the road place when it comes to this. We have a significant number of gay and lesbian friends and they seem to do well here, but I can only imagine that Sarajevo may not be the most open and understanding place.

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

Women have a long way to go in Bosnia, not unlike the rest of this area. If you know any history at all about the former Yugoslavia then you know this region has had decades of problems with religious and ethnic divides.

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

The skiing on the Olympic Mountains. I learned to ski here and have absolutely loved the experience. Secondly, the Bosnian people are amazing. For a population that has been through so much, they somehow remain kind, open, and welcoming.

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

Outdoor activities. Skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer.

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

Copper, wood carvings, carpets.

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

Saving Money!!!! The cost of living is dirt cheap here. As lots of people say, Croatia is the best thing about Sarajevo! The Croatian coast is amazing and a 4-5 hour drive. It's an awful drive on a two-lane, curvy road up and down mountains... but the coast is amazing!

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10. Can you save money?

YES!!!!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I wish I would have realized that this is not Europe. I think I was expecting Europe, and this is not. It's a different kind of beautiful, but not at all what I expected.

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

Yes.

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

Extra furniture. Houses are small and the General Services Office (GSO) will not take back furniture from your home.

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4. But don't forget your:

Winter gear, snow tires, and air purifiers.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

The Fall Of Yugoslavia

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

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 08/19/14

Background:

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

Yes.

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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?

D.C. Two legs, DC to Vienna or Munich, then onto Sarajevo, 16 hours or so with layovers.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2012-2014.

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

Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Lots to choose from. Apartments and townhouses within the city. Single family homes with yards on the outskirts. Sometimes layouts are odd.

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

Cost of food is amazingly low if you do most of your shopping at the fresh markets. Fruits and vegetables are seasonable, so you have to plan ahead and freeze if you want strawberries in December. Meat = lots of chicken, beef is a bit weird--funny taste and lack of butchering skills, and pork (aside from ham for sandwiches) has to be purchased at special stores. Household supplies can be Bosnia expensive, but not too bad compared to Stateside prices.

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

Unscented detergent, canned green beans and soups, applesauce/baby food squeeze pouches, make-up, ingredients for ethnic cooking.

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

Ha. There are 2 McDonald's. A couple of good restaurants--decent steak at the country club, fine dining at Four Rooms of Ms. Sofiya, good sushi at Sushi San.

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

No biting insects so outdoor time is great! Ants indoors can be a problem.

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Daily Life:

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

Pouch.

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

Lots and cheap! 10 KM per hour is the normal rate for housecleaning or babysitting.

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

Yes. The Embassy gym is not bad, and a few folks have various kinds of classes there. There's a regular gym in Importanne, right across from the Embassy, and there is a new Cross Fit gym in town as well. Not sure of costs.

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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?

Most big stores do take credit cards but it is still mainly a cash economy. The fresh markets and smaller restaurants will only take cash.

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

This is a bit tough. here is an English service at noon at the Catholic cathedral downtown. No music, just mass. There is a non-denominational expat group that meets out at Butmir. And there is an active Mormon group.

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

It's helpful to know a few things to get around. The phonetic alphabet makes reading/writing Bosnian easy! But English is widely spoken, even by some grocery store check-out workers!

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

Yes. LOTS of steep hills and pathways with stairs. Narrow to no sidewalks.

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Transportation:

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

Never took a train or bus, but taxis are a plenty and cheap! Many drivers smoke, however.

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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?

You'll need something small due to the narrow roads, but good tires are a must for the steep hills and wintry weather. We ordered parts online and had no problem with repairs or oil changes with our Japanese model.

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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, but spotty. Weather affected service, and sometimes seemingly nothing at all messed with service.

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

Easy and cheap plans through the Embassy. Bring your own unlocked smartphone.

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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 quarantine necessary. Several English speaking vets who make house visits. A couple of kennels. Be aware, there are lots of stray dogs in Sarajevo.

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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?

No. Perhaps teaching English as a 2nd language.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There is an orphanage that takes volunteers but you have to complete an odd health screening and there is smoking allowed inside.

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

Suit and tie at the Embassy M-Th, business casual on F.

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Health & Safety:

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

A high unemployment rate makes petty crime a concern. However, I never felt unsafe.

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

Smog is a problem in winter months. Serious asthma sufferers should not consider it. There is an RMO and a part-time pediatrician at post, and some English speaking specialists in town. Still not ideal for major issues. Smoking is allowed in the cafe in the hospital, for example. In fact, smoking indoors is allowed just about everywhere.

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3. 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?

Great in the summer, poor in the winter. Smog can be pretty tough. Not China rough, but air purifier needed in bedrooms rough.

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

Cold-weather, mountainous climate. Summers are typically bright and clear and warm. Winters are cold and dreary with either rain or snow.

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Schools & Children:

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

There are two used by the Embassy community. The French School, and QSI of Sarajevo. I did not have children old enough to attend either but had friends who used each. Both have their pros and cons. QSI is a bit outside of town but there is a bus.

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

They are getting better. Still could use some work. I suggest lots of advocacy.

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3. 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 are a couple of preschools that take children starting at one year of age. The costs are very low compared to U.S. prices, and homemade breakfasts and lunches are included. Teachers are bilingual and friendly, but management can be gruff. There are also lots of options for experienced nannies. Many get passed from family to family as people come and go.

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

Soccer, ice skating, gymnastics, swimming.

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Expat Life:

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

Large and great! WONDERFUL support from the Embassy community. And very cool folks to know outside of the Embassy community who have made Sarajevo their home for some time.

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

Lots of cafes and restaurants, a movie theatre downtown, a symphony is in residence, a COOL film festival each summer

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

Great for families. Bosnia is a very family oriented country. Kids are worshipped and welcomed everywhere.

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

I don't know. The U.S. Embassy is very supportive but I don't really know about the city.

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

Yes. The war was just 20 years ago and many people do still have problems with each other. For non-Bosnians, people of African descent get lots of second looks (out of curiosity, not hate), and some people of Asian descent have reported rude behavior towards them.

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

Snowy mountain fun, lots of beach trips to Croatia, amazing people who adore kids.

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

Lots of history--WWI and siege tours; cool old Olympic ruins; lots of natural beauty--mountains, waterfalls, springs; direct flights from SJJ to great travel destinations--Istanbul, Vienna, Munich, etc.

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

Carved wood items from Konjic, hammered copper in the old city of Sarajevo, honey from Herzegovina.

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

Low cost of living, gorgeous mountains, close proximity to great travel destinations, family-friendly culture.

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10. Can you save money?

YES!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

No DPO, and small and winding mountainous roads can cause massive car sickness even for someone never having exhibited symptoms beforehand.

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

Absolutely.

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

Respect for rules of the road. Aggressive driving and parking anywhere you wish are norms.

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4. But don't forget your:

Cold weather gear and rain gear

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

In the Land of Blood and Honey,

Welcome to Sarajevo,

No Man's Land,

The Whistleblower.

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

The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return,

Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3rd (Bradt Travel Guide Bosnia & Herzegovina),

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo, Revised Edition,

Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood.

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7. Do you have any other comments?

Pro's outweigh the con's. Loved Sarajevo.

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 11/26/12

Background:

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

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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?

DC - around 13.5 hours,connecting through either Munich or Vienna. Primary flights in and out of Sarajevo are through Munich, Vienna, Istanbul and Zagreb. There are serious difficulties getting in and out in the winter due to very heavy fog over the airport.

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3. How long have you lived here?

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

(The contributor was affiliated with the US Embassy and lived in Sarajevo for two years, an eighth expat experience.)

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Either nice apartments downtown, or more spacious houses on the edge of the city. No commutes are too long. Parking is very tight in most places. Even if you have a garage, it will probably be too narrow for the average American car.

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

Inexpensive. I would say you spend 10-20% less than you would in DC if you are a diplomat not paying VAT.

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

None really. You can get mostly anything, though I would bring your favorite liquid brands that you can't ship. Most items in the store come from Croatia or Slovenia.

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

McDonald's recently arrived. There are numerous local fast food places featuring grilled meats and pizza.

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

Very few insect problems here. None major at all.

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Daily Life:

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

The pouch.

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

Moderate. Most people have help, but not daily. I paid 10 KM/hour for mine, slightly above the going rate.

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

Yes, at the Embassy. There are a handful of other places in town with decent gyms, mainly at the malls.

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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?

Generally safe. Raifeisen Bank ATMs take US debit cards.

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

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

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

None in Sarajevo. Know the pleasantries,and you will break the ice better. Everyone under the age of 45 speaks some English. The main exception, being women who work at the check-outs at all the markets. They generally speak none. Also, English is less prevalent in the hinterland than it is in the cities.

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

Tons. Lots of hills and crumbling side walks that mostly serve as parking places.

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Transportation:

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

The train system is terrible. Taxis are the way to go in town. Incredibly inexpensive. There is no excuse for drunk driving in Sarajevo. You can get from downtown to any of the normal housing areas for $3-5.

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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?

You don't need an SUV, though they are helpful given the steep hills, snow, and generally long time it takes to drive out of Bosnia. However, I would recommend a smaller car, as parking in Sarajevo is horrendous. Snow tires are manadatory by law. 19"+ snow tires are unavailable in country, regardless of the make of your car. US dips - ship them in your HHE.

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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?

Internet is available through BH Telecom, which is awful. They have horrific customer service, and the speed is mediocre (good enough to stream, mostly). The qualification for being hired as a technician is to be someone's cousin. Don't expect assistance if you are using Apple products.

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

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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.

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

There are some decent vets. For those at the Embassy, CLO can recommend a couple of good kennels. There are lots of stray dogs roaming around the city. Locals acknowledge that this is a growing problem. I see it getting worse unless an NGO steps in to do humane euthanizations.

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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?

Some teaching.

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

General high quality, but not necessarily formal for the local.

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Health & Safety:

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

Nope. This is an incredibly safe city. There is some minor property crime, but criminals tend not to be aggressive or confrontational(break-ins of parked cars and empty houses). The worst case is getting caught between young wannabe gangster-types. There really are no bad neighborhoods in Sarajevo.

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

The quality of medical care is low. The hospital can basically handle trauma. The need to bribe your way into a job turns many qualified health care professionals away from the main hospitals.

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3. 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?

Terrible. It gets worse in the winter. Expect respiratory issues if you are prone to them.

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

Very similar to Boston. A hot, but not excessively so, summer. Pleasant spring and fall. Winter is cold, but not miserable, and good for winter sports in the years with heavy snowfall.

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Schools & Children:

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

QSI is said to be very good for younger grades.

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

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3. 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?

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

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Expat Life:

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

Fairly sizable given the EU, EUFOR, and NGO presence. Lots of expat teachers also. You'll hear English or German being spoken in every restaurant worth going to.

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2. Morale among expats:

Generally very high. It dips a little in the winter, but is generally good.

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

There is plenty to do downtown.

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

Great for all. There is plenty to do here. While the local scene can be tough to crack into, it's possible. Large, but shrinking, European and American expat community. There is still a EUFOR presence at Camp Butmir, which includes a handful of Americans.

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

People seem to do well within the expat community. There is some Bosnian cultural prejudice compared to the rest of Europe, but nothing hostile.

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

Religion. It dominates everything, though Sarajevo is an overwhelmingly Muslim majority city , unlike pre-war days. That being said, Islam won't impact an expat's daily life except in a very minor way during Ramadam. Hands down the most liberal Muslim society in the world. The physical and emotional scars of the war are still very present in the 35 and over crowd.

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

Great people. A very safe and easy-to-navigate city which is better to live in than it is a tourist destination. A great, although limited, selection of restaurants. A very pro-American community.

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

Good restaurants. Shopping in the old town area of Bascarcisja. There are some decent bars though the club scene is sort of Eastern European strange.

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

There are some cool items made from spent brass from the war still sold in the bazaar. Some decent rugs.

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

It's Europe on the cheap. A very inexpensive, beautiful city with intersting people. The Bosnian countryside is beautiful - great for outdoor activities and visiting cultural sites, even if the tourism industry is a bit under-developed. It is also only a short 4-5 hour drive from the Croatian coast. The road network in Bosnia is terrible, but once you get across the border, the European highway system makes travel by car a breeze.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes, unless you travel extensively to "real" Europe.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

In a heartbeat. Sarajevo is a wonderful city with a ton of character. It has its stresses, but in the end, you'll miss it as soon as you leave.

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

Nothing but your need for a smoke-free restaurant (smoking is the national pastime).

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3. But don't forget your:

Snow tires and patience.

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

A Short History of Bosnia by Noel Malcolm is a good, if flawed, start.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

The Land of Milk and Honey is a recent and highly depressing look at the war.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 08/17/11

Background:

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

first expat experience

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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?

Washington, DC - about 12 hours through either Munich or Vienna, but Sarajevo Airport can be closed often during winter

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years from 2009-11

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

Affiliated with the U.S. Embassy

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Nice apartments, townhome-style and single-family homes. Most are in the city, but often on a hill, narrow street, etc. -- but that's all of Sarajevo. Very good housing all around, but there are some weird spaces, and some people have big kitchens, some the tiny "Euro kitchen."

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

There are a couple of large groceries stores. Western goods are not prevalent, but the embassy has a commissary now where many American items can be purchased. Pork is not easily purchased (and is not served at restaurants), unless you travel into the Republika Srpska entity for a meal (which we did a few times).

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

Snow tires (tires are expensive in Europe), motor oil (also expensive).

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

We had no American fast food while we were there, although I believe a McDonald's just opened. There are good local dishes (cevapi, burek, sopska salad). Also a few decent Italian restaurants. Noovi (wine bar and pizza) got to be an American hangout for some. The local brewery had decent food. There are many different restaurants at different price levels. Interesting thing though: the service never seemed to depend on how much business you brought their way. Bosnians would be sitting there nursing an espresso for 2 hours while your party could have a full meal with wine, and the server would not really care (tipping is a "round up" philosophy).

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

Great produce is available year 'round.

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

Nothing extreme. We experienced mosquitoes in the late spring and fall that would get into our house, because it was just too nice out to not have the windows open. We had to buy several "plug-in" type mosquito repellent devices that seemed to do the trick.

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Daily Life:

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

Pouch, the and post apparently has DPO now.

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

Abundant, and about 6-7 USD/hr gets a very competent, hard-working person.

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

There are a couple around town that offer memberships, including a very nice one downtown. The new U.S. Embassy has a nice gym.

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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?

Stick with the major regional banks.

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

There is a non-denominational service at the military base.

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

AFN. No English-language papers.

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

Not much, but locals appreciate the attempt. I picked up a little and it helped.

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

This is not a handicapped-accessible city in the least. A couple of newer malls are accessible, but that's it. You never see any handicapped people out and about in Bosnia. I only saw a large number during a period when a Moroccan "healer" was in town at the Olympic stadium -- then many came out for that.

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Transportation:

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

Taxis are abundant and cheap and safe to use.

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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?

A small SUV is perfect (Toyota RAV-4, etc). Snow tires are mandatory during winter months. Local roads are pretty poor and are not always plowed.

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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, but I wouldn't call it high speed. It's ADSL (speeds we had in the US over a decade ago). Everything is metered, and the biggest plan (20GB) is about $30/month. Going over 20GB -- which is possible if you stream video or download a lot of stuff (iTunes, etc) -- gets expensive.

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

BHT Telecom is the biggest provider.

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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?

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

Local vets and kennels are available.

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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?

None to speak of really. If so, the pay would be terrible.

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

Business attire at work and casual at other times.

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Health & Safety:

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

It is a fairly safe city -- with caveats. Petty crime increased while we were there, and the gypsies are very active. There were several pickpocketing incidents while we were there. But, generally, Bosnians are very non-confrontational and more passive/aggressive. Nobody gets mugged or carjacked on the street. It's more common to see/hear about car break-ins and residential break-in attempts (when no one is home). A couple of U.S. Embassy residences were burglarized before we left, but they were the only ones in our time there. There is an element of organized crime within the city and many young OC "wannabees" who often mix it up with each other. But most expats don't frequent the places that they do. Taxis were very safe, and my family often used them with no problems.

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

The local standard of medical care is atrocious. Anything serious got medevac'd. The MED unit at the embassy is very good. Local dentists are good, and cheap by US standards.

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3. 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?

Great in warm weather. Terrible in the winter. Bosnians will burn everything but the kitchen sink to stay warm when it gets cold. Your house will smell like a campfire during the coldest parts of the winter.

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

All four seasons but very temperate. Never too hot in summer and very rarely below freezing in winter (during the day), except up in the mountains.

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Schools & Children:

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

QSI was great for us. Elementary-school parents often raved about it, while HS parents had issues. The school tried hard, but the upper grades are not big enough to offer what many people expected. QSI did offer scholarships for local Bosnian kids to increase the size of the HS grades, which helped, I think, but it is difficult to be all things to all people. And, even in the elementary grades, some parents were not happy. But some people are never pleased. I think any child going to school there got more individual attention than any public school in the U.S. could provide.

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

None specifically. Although, QSI apparently had some early-elementary school age children that need attention, and I believe they hired one individual with a special-education background as a teacher (who just happened to be living in Sarajevo). While they could not make specific accomodations, I believe they made many attempts.

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3. 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?

QSI has a preschool, but there are a couple Montessori schools and other options. Nannies are also available for hire.

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

QSI has limited ability, but does have some sports programs as well as ski camp in the winter for all ages. There are some other opportunities available outside QSI (soccer and horseback riding).

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Expat Life:

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

Medium size; lots of NGOs around.

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2. Morale among expats:

Pretty decent.

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

There are expat functions now and again, and several people at the embassy entertained frequently. Also, there were school events.

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

I think it is very good for families. For singles, I think it is what you make of it. Some enjoyed it and some did not. While Sarajevo is "Muslim-lite", there is still a conservative air, even though you would not think it the way women dress. Plus, society is very clique-ish, so singles found it hard to break through.

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

Bosnian culture is not very accepting, but as long as there are no outward public displays, there would be no problems at all, I believe.

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

Longstanding ethnic prejudices. Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox Christians all co-exist here.

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

My family and I traveled to over a dozen other European countries while here, vacationed on the Dalmation coast, and met a lot of great people. If you can get past the constant ethnic problems/tensions, graffiti and leftover Communist architecture, as someone else said, there are some very unique and interesting spots and events to experience in Sarajevo (Old Town, Copper Alley, Sarajevo Film Festival) along with the European cafe culture. Bosnians are an interesting culture to experience. They fancy themselves very European, although you see much of the leftover Communist elements from "Tito times" which still permeate their society and way of thinking. At times, I found it maddening, fascinating and entertaining, but never boring.

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

Skiing, biking, rafting, shopping in Old Town and enjoying the cafe culture.

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

Copper, local arts and crafts.

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

The rest of Europe is an easy plane ride or manageable drive. Bosnia has only about 40 kilometers of multi-lane highway, so getting out of the country in any direction takes about 4 hours. From there you can hit the European highway system. Close proximity to the Adriatic, Austria, Italy, Hungary, etc.

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11. Can you save money?

We did, and we traveled quite a bit.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes. While we were ready to go, we often miss it sometimes.

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

sense of fairness (Bosnia is a very "me-first" society) and your outrage over seeing locals drive like boneheads, park absolutely anywhere, and stop their cars in the middle of the street for no reason.

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3. But don't forget your:

skis, winter clothes, boots for slushy sidewalks, and your sense of humour -- so you can just shake your head and laugh at some things you see.

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

Balkan Ghosts.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Welcome to Sarajevo; Sarajevo my Love

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 05/31/11

Background:

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

My first expat experience

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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?

Michigan. Through Munich to Detroit. Almost 20 hours.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2008-2010

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

U.S. Embassy

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

I walked to work. Lived in an apartment.

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

Very reasonable.

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

chocolate chips, cake mix, brownie mix, make-up, peanut butter.

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

No American fast food.

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

Some, most people order online.

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

Didn't really notice a problem.

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Daily Life:

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

Dip pouch.

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

$6-7 an hour

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

yes.

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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?

Be careful. We were victims of credit card theft.

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

Butmir has a church service.

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

AFN if you qualify.

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

some basics.

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

A lot of difficulties. Broken sidewalks, limited ramps.

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Transportation:

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

Taxis are VERY affordable.

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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?

4x4's are nice to have but not necessary. Parts can be expensive.

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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. $45 a month.

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

I had mine through the embassy. Mostly people do prepaid.

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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.

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

The embassy has contacts for kennels, but otherwise none that I am aware of. Pet care is usually in your own home.

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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?

Not so much. There are some embassy jobs but they are usually beneath your skill/education level.

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

Dressy at work, dressy/chic out on the town. No shorts. Very tight jeans.

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Health & Safety:

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

Mostly pickpockets and smash-and-grabs.

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

Air quality is horrible in the winter. Health care is far beneath U.S. standards.

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3. 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?

The air quality is poor and everyone smokes!

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

Foggy, wet, gray winters.

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Schools & Children:

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

I have no kids, but I heard that elementary was okay. The high School is small.

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

It is difficult to get quality speech therapy for Americans.

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3. 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?

Fairly good from what I heard.

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

yes- soccer, ice-skating and others I'm sure.

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Expat Life:

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

mid-size.

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2. Morale among expats:

Good.

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

Wine bars, movies, shopping.

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

Better for families and couples.

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

I think it's okay but they are not really accepted by the locals.

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

Yes! Hello! Remember theBosnian War?

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

Traveling throughout BiH, to Austria, Croatia, Italy.

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

ski, hike, shop in the old town, go to the coast.

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

copper, rugs

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

Saving money, touring nearby countries.

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11. Can you save money?

yes

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Words of Wisdom:

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

yes!

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

ideas about non-smoking restaurants/bars.

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3. But don't forget your:

ski clothes, rain boots

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

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Welcome to Sarajevo.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

Great post, really happy we went there.

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 05/18/10

Background:

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

5th experience

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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?

About 12 hours to DC through Vienna or Munich. Easy, except in winter when there are often airport closures in Sarajevo.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years

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

US Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Mostly inside the city - some apartments but mostly stand alone houses with little green space due to their locations. Housing is pretty nice here, for the most part, though shapes tend to be odd since many are on steep roads leading up out of the city.

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

Groceries and household supplies seem cheaper than in DC, for the most part, although some specialty items will cost you. There are excellent green markets around town to buy wonderful fruits and vegetables 7 days a week. The grocery stores are big and well stocked. Not many American products, but plenty of German.

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

Snow tires, chocolate chips and some of your favorite baking supplies. Otherwise, you can get pretty much what you need here.

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

Forget about American fast food. None here. Restaurants are plentiful, though it can get a bit boring in town unless you get out and explore options. Good pizza just about everywhere.

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

None that we know of.

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Daily Life:

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

Dip pouch only. You can get packages in, but can't send them out.

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

About 7 dollars an hour - lots of people looking for work here.

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

Yes, though some can be expensive.

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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?

Due to new rules, your ATM card might not work here unless you call your bank first.

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

There is a Christian non-denominational service at the Butmir NATO base and one Catholic mass in English at the local cathedral.

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

Satellite tv available.

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

It helps, but it's not essential to survival in Sarajevo.

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

It would be hard, but not impossible. New facilities like recently construced malls do have ramps, and most two story shopping facilities have elevators.

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Transportation:

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

Taxis are safe and cheap. Buses are cheap too, but there are pick pockets, and given the ease of taking a taxi, there's no reason to board a bus. Train service is very limited, but improving.

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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?

Bring snow tires. You don't need a 4-wheel drive unless you really intend to do heavy touring in the mountains.

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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 - reasonablty priced.

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

There are a few carriers people use here.

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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

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

A few good vets available and limited kennel facilities.

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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?

Not really unless you speak the language. And then, the pay is awful.

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

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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 city. Many of our friends let their children ride in taxis around town on their own. Petty crime may be on the rise, but overall this is a safe place to live.

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

If you have respiratory issues, get all the facts before you come here.

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3. 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?

Horrible horrible horrible in the winter. Cannot be stressed enough if you have any kind of respiratory issue. This city sits inside a ring of mountains, and the pollution from wood burning and cars just sits at ground level most of the winter. You can smell it.

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

Pretty much like Maryland. Four seasons, none too harsh.

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Schools & Children:

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

QSI has about 150 students from around the world. Parents seem to like the elementary school, but some are concerned with the quality of education and lack of variety in the high school.

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

Not a particularly good place for special needs kids, but it depends on what you need in particular.

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3. 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?

Plenty of availability and two Montessori schools in town.

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

Through the school, yes. There are also soccer clubs in and around town as well as skating facilities (old Olympic center), dance classes, and other sporting opportunties. The school runs a great winter ski program for all students.

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Expat Life:

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

Medium - lots of international NGOs here.

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2. Morale among expats:

Pretty good, though winter can get gray and hard.

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

Good. Lots of embassy events and social opportunities.

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

Great for anybody who likes to get outside and explore.

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

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

Sarajevo has a brilliant history of tolerance for all religions, but the scars of war run deep here. One needs to be careful what is discussed casually. The subject of religion can bring out the worst and best in people here.

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

Travel all over the region is easy if you want to get away, and you never run out of places to drive within a 3 - 5 hours distance. There always seems to be something worthwhile going on in Sarajevo, whether it's the Sarajevo Film Festival, inexpensive trips to the theater and musical events, or a cultural fair. Getting up into the hills outside of the city brings you to some of the most breathtaking landscape in Europe. If you're adventurous and can look past the graffiti or the communist style block apartments that line much of the city's streets, you can enjoy this place like no other. Just a trip down to the old Turkish market in town is a treat on any day. The coffee culture here is alive and well 12 months a year, with people sitting and chatting over hot cups of local brew well into the night. In the spring, the cafes move outdoors, and it's one after the other as you walk down the street.

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

Ski, head to the mountains for the day, visit the Turkish market, go to the coast, go to the movies (mostly in English), visit local historical sites, take a tour of Sarajevo.

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

Hand made rugs and crafts, silver and jewelry.

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

Beautiful, historical heart of the former Yugoslavia. Travel, except in winter, is very easy by plane to the rest of Europe. The beautiful Dalmatian Coast of Croatia is 4 to 5 hours away by car and the ride is gorgeous. Sarajevo is a vibrant, fun and safe city with wonderful cultural events, terrific skiing just 30-40 minutes away, and an amazing history that comes alive around every corner. It can be very enchanting here if you can put up with life in an economically challenged city pulling itself away from its wartorn past.

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11. Can you save money?

Probably, if you try.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Definitely. What an amazing place.

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

religious stereotypes and intolerance. This is a welcoming and vibrant city.

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3. But don't forget your:

Ski clothes, sweaters, love of travel, patience, especially when sitting in traffic.

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

A Short History Of Bosnia, The Cellist of Sarajevo

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 06/19/09

Background:

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

No. This was my fourth. Australia - Germany; Guatemala City; Guatemala - Sarajevo; Bosnia and Herzegovina

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2. How long have you lived here?

Three years - August 2006-August 2009.

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

Spouse of U.S. Embassy employee.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

From Sarajevo to Washington, D.C., through Munich on Lufthansa, it will take about 12 hours. Similar time with Austrian through Vienna. Return takes a few hours longer, as you have a longer layover in either city.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

I think the furthest-out houses might be a 20-minute drive at "rush" hour. This city is incredibly walkable, and many people walk to work. Homes are not located close to the school, and getting to them can take 15 - 25 minutes, depending on traffic and how close you live to that side of town. There are apartments downtown, as well as houses with varying sizes of yards further out.

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

You can get most things. Sometimes you need help figuring out which item matches what you're trying to buy (with regard to baking ingredients, in particular). An asian food store has just opened, and they appear to have anything you might want. Things you can't get include: chocolate chips, cheddar cheese, hotdogs, bacon, American-style bread.

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

Nothing in particular. I tended to bring back the few things we needed in my suitcases on trips, or order them through Netgrocer.

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

No American fast food. There are local specialties that are fast and inexpensive (such as burek and cevapi). There are many restaurants at all different price levels.

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

None that I know of.

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Daily Life:

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

Diplomatic pouch. The mail center at the embassy will help you with a Fed-ex shipment if you need to do that. Mail is slow.

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

Easily available for part or full-time. I think the cost is pretty reasonable. I paid our household help the equivalent of $6.60 an hour.

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

There are a few gyms in town that offer memberships, including a brand new one in the Old Town area. The embassy has a gym as well with workout equipment.

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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?

We don't use credit cards or ATM cards here, so I can't comment on that. But I have not heard of any problems.

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

One Catholic Mass at noon. No others that I know of.

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

We use AFN. No idea about newspapers.

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

Very little. Point and nod works well. If you want to converse, you will need to learn the language, as some people speak English, but many do not or are not comfortable trying to.

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

A lot. Bumpy sidewalks, few wheelchair-accessible sidewalks, many buildings do not have elevators, or the elevators often break down.

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Transportation:

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

We were advised not to use the buses or trams due to pickpockets. But my daughter and son rode them all the time without problems. Taxis are very safe and I think very affordable. Buses and trams are very cheap.

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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. The parking tends to be in tight quarters and small spaces. In some of the streets you are really squeezing by the often illegally parked cars. High ground clearance would be a plus, as at times you will need to park on the sidewalk. We have had no problem getting our car serviced here.

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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. We got the highest speed and pay $30 per month.

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

The embassy provides its employees with a cell phone. Everyone else tends to have pre-paid phone cards for theirs.

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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.

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

There is one vet in town. He is great at some things, not so great at others. Surgery is his specialty. There are a few different options for boarding dogs.

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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?

Not that I have heard of. The embassy works hard to employ spouses that would like to work.

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

Business attire at work. Casual in public. Don't see a lot of shorts, but they're starting to crop up.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Unhealthy in the winter. Coal is burned. Asthmatics may have trouble.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

The standard ones.

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

I've only heard about home robberies, and even those I have heard less about lately. None at U.S. Embassy homes, as they have bars and alarms. Streets are very safe, and we are often out as late as midnight -- as is our teen daughter, with no problems. Many people are walking at all hours, so it's seldom deserted.

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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?

Just the pollution for people with lung or breathing problems. The health office at the embassy is very good. The few local doctors we dealt with were good, including home visits. The hospitals are a nightmare, and people are medevac'd for anything serious to Vienna or elsewhere.

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

Four seasons. Winter is long but not particularly hard.

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Schools & Children:

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

QSIS (Quality Schools International of Sarajevo) is the school that everyone sends their kids to. They expect to have about 150 kids total registered next year. There are kids from approximately 30 different countries, which makes for a good experience. I did not have any experience with the lower school. The complaints I did hear from there tended to be about the QSI system more than the quality of the actual instruction. The director is easily approached and very responsive, in my opinion. The Upper School has grown from 12 students in all four grades during our first year to about 22 this year. Next year there will be a few more. They cannot offer everything that a large highschool can, obviously, but they do have very personal attention. AP courses are available, along with good prep for SAT exams, and the students develop wonderful relationships across the grades and with their instructors. I wouldn't trade it for a large highschool. I had two children graduate from QSIS, and both went on to university. There is a lot of assistance provided with college applications, choosing a college, and so forth. National Honor Society and Model United Nations are available as well.

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

I do not know. I imagine it is fairly limited, although there are small class sizes. I would recommend contacting the director of the school before making the decision to relocate here.

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3. 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?

No experience. It is offered at QSIS as well, and people seem happy with it. There are also preschools located closer in town, including a Montessori preschool, but I assume the language used there is Bosnian.

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

The school has limited ability to offer sports. Skiing and snowboarding lessons are a part of the curriculum in the winter. Basketball is the sport we're most familiar with, and the local teams are very active. Our kids also joined the local Judo team, a sport they had done for many years. Horseback riding lessons are available at much less cost than you would pay in the states.

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Expat Life:

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

Large in proportion to the town.

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2. Morale among expats:

Seems pretty high to me.

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

Mostly at each others' homes. Lots of dining at restaurants.

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

I have heard that singles have a hard time finding companionship with the local people, but as a married woman, I have not had any problems developing Bosnian friendships. I would not say there is "lots" to do - but there is hiking, skiing, walking in the old town, museums, day trips out of town, parks out of town, and so forth.

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

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

Not that I've noticed. This is primarily a Muslim city, but there is also a Catholic Cathedral and some Orthodox Christian churches.

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

There are 3 Olympic ski slopes located within a 45-minute drive. The Croatian coast is easy to go to for a long weekend. In the winter, there is an outdoor skating rink by the olympic stadium (Zetra). There are many companies that offer guided hikes as well as rafting trips. There are musical performances at the National Theater that are fairly inexpensive, including opera, symphony, and so forth. We primarily love walking and looking at the Austrian, Ottoman and Communist-era architecture, all mixed together.

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

Copper items. Rugs. Carved wood furniture.

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9. Can you save money?

Easily. Unless you fly in and out a lot, which is expensive.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes. We came for two years and extended for a third.

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

taste for McDonald's and your outrage over the crazy parking.

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3. But don't forget your:

skis, winter clothes, Bosnian guidebook and sense of humor.

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

The Cellist of Sarajevo, People of the Book, Sarajevo Marlboro

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

The Cellist of Sarajevo, People of the Book, Sarajevo Marlboro

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Welcome to Sarajevo, The Hunting Party

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7. Do you have any other comments?

The thing we liked the most about living here is how walkable the city is. We seldom used our car. The thing we liked the least is that it can be hard to get flights in and out during the winter due to fog. Cancelled flights are not unusual.

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 03/18/09

Background:

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

Second post. First one was Armenia.

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2. How long have you lived here?

I have been in Sarajevo two and a half years.

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

Government.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

The main routes from the U.S. are through Vienna and Munich.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Housing is spread around town. Some residences are located in the center (close to the embassy) while others are a little further away in residential neighbourhoods, but distances are not great. It's a small city.

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

Prices are reasobable depending on where you buy.

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

Cooking sauces (liquids and glass are not allowed in the pouch)

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

There is a decent variety of restaurants, but no American fast food or chinese. Local food is tasty but heavy. Cost varies, but most places are very reasonable.

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

Nothing in particular.

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Daily Life:

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

Pouch. No APO.

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

Easy to find housekeepers and baby sitters. Prices vary, but it's definitely cheaper than in the States.

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

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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?

Using ATMs is fine, but cash is better for restaurants and shops. In many ways it is still a cash economy.

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

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

Local cable is very cheap and it has a few English channels including CNN, History Chanel, Animal Planet.

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

Not too many people speak English, so it is a good idea to learn the basics (call a taxi, ask for prices, order food, etc).

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

Getting around town would be challenging as handicap facilities are not common. Many streets have narrow or no sidewalks and people tend to park everywhere blocking the walking areas.

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Transportation:

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

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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?

Most cars are OK. Strets (especially downtown) are very narrow, so it would not be a good idea to bring a huge truck or SUV. Small suvs are fine. Most popular brands are Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Opel. Many other brands are also available such as Toyota, Nissan, Hyunday, Ford, Mercedez, but they are European specs.

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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. You can get DSL here and works great but it could be a little expensive depending on your use (different plans with different download/upload allowances).

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

You can easily buy a cellphone in Sarajevo. Cell phones from the U.S. could be "fixed" to work here, but it's not recommended because they use a different frequency here in Bosnia and the hardware ends up failing. Pay as you go cards are available.

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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.

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

A few English speaking vets are available and they are good. There is one well known kennel own by an FSN spouse.

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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?

No.

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

Business casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

During the winter very unhealthy. A lot of people burn coal to keep their houses warm. Not recommended for people with asthma or any other respiratory problems.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

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

Sarajevo is a fairly safe city. You can walk around town without any problem. There is pick pocketing in public transportation though.

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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?

For minor injuries and not so serious conditions is OK. Otherwise, you should go to Austria or Germany.

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

Four seasons like in the States. Winter tends to be long, cold, gray and foggy. Flying in and out of the city could be tricky at this time of the year due to flight cancellations or delays.

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Schools & Children:

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

QSI and a few pre-schools including Montessori. You generally hear good comments about QSI. The school is kind of far away though (about 35 minutes drive from the City depending on traffic).

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

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3. 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?

Montessori is a good choice for pre-school. The language of instruction is English and they have a structured program. The ratio teacher/child is 5/1 which is good compared to other places. The price is higher than most places, but I think it's worth it.

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

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Expat Life:

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

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2. Morale among expats:

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

Good restaurants, cinemas, cafes, clubs, etc. but be prepared to inhale some cigarrete smoke...EVERYBODY smokes!

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

Yes.

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

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

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

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

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9. Can you save money?

For a couple working full time, yes.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes, for a short time.

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

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3. But don't forget your:

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

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

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina 12/17/08

Background:

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

As a family yes, but I lived alone in India, Venezuela, Norway and Malaysia before.

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2. How long have you lived here?

1.5 years now.

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

Partner of a diplomat.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

From almost every destination, you need a transfer in Vienna, Zagreb or another airport nearby.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Appartments and houses. Many families with children find a house with a (small) garden or balcony.

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

Cheap.

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

Exotic spices and curry-pastes. Presents for children/babies.

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

No. American fastfood chains here but a lot of cevapi (sausages) and burek (meatpie) places. Nice!

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Daily Life:

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

The local mail works ok, packages are treated in the best socialist manner with many officials putting stamps on lots of forms.

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

3 to 5 euro an hour. Most have a cleaninglady twice a week (the smog makes everything black) and a babysitter whenever necessary.

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

ATMs are everywhere. All mayor creditcards are accepted.

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

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

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

Basics. Some do without but I think it is nice to at least know how to buy things at the marked. Don't expect many Bosnians to speak English.

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

A lot, no side walks, a lot of holes and poles where you don't expect them etc.

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Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

On the right side.

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

Taxis are cheap and convenient. You never have to wait for more than 3 minutes.

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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?

Some people prefer small cars because the garages are small and roads in the old town narrow. Others prefer SUVs because of the mountains, bad roads and unpredictable drivers.

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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?

It is available, the quality differs.

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

Have one, pre-paid cards are everywhere.

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

I use skype.

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Pets:

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

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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?

Not much. Unemployment in B&H is high. There is plenty of qualified staff available, who speak foreign and domestic languages.

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

At work a suit is standard.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Last winter was very very unhealthy, due to the massive use of wood and lignite for heating. In January people were advised to stay inside because of the bad air. This winter is ok so far. Spring is not good for people with allergies, summer is no problem. Asthmatic people (children) better avoid the city or should choose a house high up in the mountains.

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

Non really. The rate of small crime is lower then in the EU. It is safe on the streets, even late at night. Houses usually have fences and are secured by an alarm company.

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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?

Most go to Vienna or home for anything medical. Dentists are good. Giving birth is a drama, so is hospitalisation in general. Better not get ill. Smog/pollution can be a big issue. Smoking is a national hobby and allowed everywhere (even in the ER). If you have asthma you will have a hard time almost everywhere.

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

Cold winters (except this one), hot summers. Spring and autumn are great. Quick changes of weather. Within 4 days it can change from +34 C to +3 C

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Schools & Children:

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

The QSI and the French school get good critiques by parents. However, there are only a few high-school students here. The options for childen in that age-group are limited.

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

Nothing as far as I know.

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3. 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 are 2 Montessori pre-schools a lot of expats send their children to. People seem not too satisfied with the old one. The new one is very popular at the moment. My oldest goes to "Jabuka" a Waldorf kindergarden. We are very happy with that one. QSI is said to have a good one as well. Nanny's are available at 5 euro an hour more or less. If you subscribe to the babygroup newsletter you will get all the information you need about schools, babysits, pediatricians etc. Email: babygroupsarajevo@gmail.com.

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Expat Life:

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

Big if you take into account that is a small city (300.000 inhabitants). B&H still has a strong international presence, involved in governance and security of the country.

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2. Morale among expats:

Good. Lots of dinner-parties etc. In winter time people may become a little depressed because of the lack of sunshine. You do need to get out every now and than.

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

Nice, but you will have to do it yourself. There are restaurants but choice is limited, no clubs (beside the IWC). Some started home-restaurants, playing sport together, pub quizes, gluhweincontests and karaoke-nights etc make it fun.

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

For singles and couples yes (think skiing, hiking, going to the coast for lunch, travelling around). Many families are satisfied as well. I personally had a hard time adjusting at first. The smog is terrible for babies, no side walks and in winter some streets (ours) are not cleaned from snow (up to 50 centimeters) so you are basicly stuck at home.

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

Many people do not accept open display of homosexuality. Last years "queer-festival" ended up in a disaster, even though it was nothing more then a photo-exhibition in an art-gallery and some lectures . The organisation had to stop the activities because of violence.

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

Many (that's probably why you are here) but not in daily life. Most people take religion very relaxed and not too strict.

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

Skiing, sleighing, hiking (with a guide or in known safe areas because of landmines), Croatian coast, dinner parties, rafting.

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

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9. Can you save money?

Yes.

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Words of Wisdom:

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

No. The pollution in combination with communistic architecture and the war that is still visible everywhere make it a depressing place, especially in winter when a blanket of smog covers the shelled appartmentbuildings. This makeseverything grey and brown. Unhealthy (especially for small children).

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

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3. But don't forget your:

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

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

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

"Sarajevo my love" (Grbavica), "no mans land" and "warriors."

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7. Do you have any other comments?

Be aware to face war. Both in the surroundings: mines, burned down houses and apartment buildings as in the people: depression, aggression, trauma and unresolved issues. The political situation does not help, with a strong focuss on ethnicity in stead of transformation and the road ahead.

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