Ljubljana, Slovenia Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia 05/20/16

Background:

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

We have lived in Europe for a number of years including several assignments in Eastern Europe.

View All Answers


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?

California. Twenty hours from Ljubljana to LAX, with connections in Brussels and Newark.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

We lived there for three years, from 2012 to 2015.

View All Answers


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

Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Housing runs the whole range -- single family homes, town houses and apartments. The rental market can be tight as property tends to stay within families. Layouts can be somewhat choppy compared to American standards.

View All Answers


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

Very easily available. Prices comparable or a bit higher than the States.

View All Answers


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

Very good restaurants with wide range in price. Burger King, McDonalds and Subway all have a presence. Local fast food ( kebab shops) are readily available.

View All Answers


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

If you're living in the low part of Ljubljana (old swamp land) you'll need to put some kind of screen on your windows due to mosquitoes.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

We had access to U.S. mail.

View All Answers


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

Very reasonable. 10-15 euros/hour.

View All Answers


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?

We used ATMs and credit cards without problems.

View All Answers


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

There is a small English-speaking Catholic congregation. Also another English-language church, the International Church of Ljubljana.

View All Answers


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

None. Almost everyone spoke English.

View All Answers


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

In general yes. As with much of eastern Europe, they haven't caught up with ADA laws.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

Yes.

View All Answers


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 would suggest a small SUV. You want something you can use on the back roads that isn't too big for European parking places.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

Yes, approximately 100 euro/month.

View All Answers


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

When we were there, roaming outside of Slovenia was very expensive. That may have changed.

View All Answers


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. Excellent veterinary care. We kenneled our dog with the vet.

View All Answers


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. Slovenia's economy has been bad for a number of years; even locals have a hard time finding work.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

The schools can always use volunteer help. I believe there is currently a small Girl Scout troop.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

I felt it was the safest city we've lived in. Local children ride the public transportation by themselves all the time to and from school, after school activities, etc.

View All Answers


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

I think overall medical care is fine, although I don't think it is up to U.S. standards.

View All Answers


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?

Very good air quality.

View All Answers


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

Bring your medication. Spring allergies are really bad.

View All Answers


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

Winters in Ljubljana can be pretty gray. It sits in a valley and the fog just stays. Once you get over the mountains you've got sunshine.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

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

There were three international schools when we were there: QSI, British and Daniella Kumar. Most of the U.S Embassy kids, including our child, went to QSI. For primary grades I think the school is fine. However, once at the secondary level, I don't feel the school adequately prepares students for life at another school or for a rigorous college. The population of both QSI and the British school are small which limits what the schools are able to do.

View All Answers


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

QSI seemed to be the only school willing to work with special needs. When we were there they had a specialist who worked with the kids who needed assistance. Their ability to help kids on the gifted/talented spectrum was limited.

View All Answers


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?

Preschools are available. I had no experience with them.

View All Answers


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

Yes you can find sporting programs for kids. Language may or may not be an issue.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

The expatriate community is small, and the American community even smaller. Overall morale is relatively good.

View All Answers


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

This is a great family post. Lots of activities, inexpensive, easy to get around.

View All Answers


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

Slovenia is a mixed bag when it comes to LGBT issues. On the one hand they are pass laws that restrict family definitions to "traditional" marriage. One the other hand, they are friendly to "civil unions."

View All Answers


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

Slovenia tends to be xenophobic and very suspicious of outsiders. Transiting Brussels airport for the first time going back to the States was rather jarring as I hadn't realized what a homogeneous society I had been living in. Our 12-year old daughter was wolf-whistled by an old man who didn't seem to think he'd done anything wrong, even after being confronted by my husband. This scarred her for a very long time. So yes, there are gender issues.

View All Answers


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

Outdoor activities in Slovenia are amazing -- skiing, hiking, river rafting, etc. Ljubljana is a very easy city to live in, and relatively inexpensive. Easy drive from the mountains to the sea side. The wine is wonderful -- vineyards galore. Make sure to take some home with you.

View All Answers


Ljubljana, Slovenia 07/31/14

Background:

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

No, I lived in Prague, Islamabad, Lagos, and Damascus before.

View All Answers


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?

Vienna; 1 hour by plane (expensive), 6 hours by train (direct connections), 4-5 hours by car.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

View All Answers


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

Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

All kinds of housing are available, family houses, flats... whatever you like. Commute time depends. By car, I need anywhere between 5 minutes and one hour.

View All Answers


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

Everything is available. Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive. Imported goods are expensive.

View All Answers


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

Nothing. Everything is available.

View All Answers


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

McDonald's, Burger King and many more. Bic Mac meal costs around 6 Euro.

View All Answers


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

None.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

Slovenian post is okay. There are also private shippers (DHL, UPS).

View All Answers


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

Available. Due to the economical situation, many people are unemployed, and though they have a good educational level, even academic degrees, they are willing to work as a cleaner or nanny. Prices per hour range between 6 and 10 Euro. It's ridiculous but a fact: you pay much more for a cleaner than for a nanny!

View All Answers


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

Yes. Costs vary. I pay 60 Euros per month for unlimided classes and use of the machines.

View All Answers


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?

There are many ATMs. Many restaurants don't accept credit cards.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

You can survive without, if you speak English, German or Italian.

View All Answers


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

Yes. Many governmental offices are located in old houses, many without elevator.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

Trains and buses are quick and good. Prices are below avarage European standards. Taxis are available, prices are avarage.

View All Answers


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?

Any car is suitable, it depends on your own needs. Streets are good. Car parts are available.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

Yes. But very expensive. For Cable TV and internet, I pay 50 Euro per month.

View All Answers


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

Expensive, much more expensive than in Austria. There are not many providers and the prices are much too high.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No, they just need the chip and passport. Quality pet care is available and good.

View All Answers


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?

Maybe at an Embassy or as a teacher. But even many Slovene are jobless, so I don't think so.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

View All Answers


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

Depends on the work. Not much difference to other European countries.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

No. The usual ones for Europe, petty theft and car burglary. But actually, it's a very safe country.

View All Answers


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

None. Healthcare has European standards.

View All Answers


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?

Good.

View All Answers


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

Summers are warm but with lots of rain. There are not so many days when it does not rain at least an hour in the afternoon. It's very humid. Winters are sometimes cold with snow but often just cool and grey, very humid, with fog which stays sometimes for weeks.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

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

International, American, British and French schools available.

I can especially recommend Danila Kumar International School and Kindergarden. It's great; the number of children in one class is low (around 15), teachers are highly skilled and highly motivated. Classrooms are bright and friendly. There are 3 gyms, an auditorium, library, kitchen, 2 outdoor playground and one outdoor sportground.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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?

See above. Note that there are not many offers for childcare during the holidays.

View All Answers


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

Not so many. Panter fitness club offers dancing classes for small children. Atlantis water park and tivoli swimming pool offer swimming classes.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

You hardly see anyone, as everyone is doing his own kind of thing. If you are single, or a single working parent, you have to get adopted to spend your time alone, without any friends.

View All Answers


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?

Sports, shopping, going to the concert, going to cafes and restaurants.

View All Answers


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

Generally for everyone.

For people with family/partner it's better, as they have each other. If you are single, you have to get adopted by someone or spend your time alone, without any friends. Children are - unlike many other Western countries (e.g. Austria) - warmly welcomed.

View All Answers


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

I don't know, but I think so.

View All Answers


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

Many Slovene don't like people from Balkans, Arabs and people with dark skin. Though many Muslims (e.g. from Bosnia) are living there, there are no mosques.

View All Answers


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

Everything is a highlight. Triglav National Park, Bohinj, Bled, several gorges and caves.

View All Answers


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

Sports (swimming, walking, hiking, climbing, skiing, biking, adventure sports, riding), exploring caves, take a stroll in the old town of Ljubljana, culture, (there are many artists and musicians in the city, many events are free of charge) ... going shopping to the market,..

View All Answers


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

Food, wines, kitsch.

View All Answers


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

Slovenia is an amazing country. It has a beautiful landscape, mountains, vineyards, beach... everything is accessible within short time. Good for hiking, biking, skiing and many other sports as well.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

Not very much. Daily life is expensive. I am wondering how local people can survive.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

Costs for heating, electricity, internet, mobile phone are extremely high.
If you are single, or a full-time working mum, you have to get adopted to spend your time alone, without any friends.
The number of daycare and activity for children during holidays are very limited.

View All Answers


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

No.
Though Slovenia is a beautiful, safe and clean country.

View All Answers


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

Hope that the first steps to get settled (ID-Card, getting the car registered, tax number,..) are done quickly and easily. Everything takes very long, longer than in some third-world countries. It's frustrating. Once you are settled, it's better.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Patience, humour, lots of money for heating, internet, mobile phone, electricity. The prices are double than in other Western Europe Countries.
Ikea furniture (there is no Ikea in Slovenia, next ones are in Klagenfurt (Austria) and Trieste (Italy). Bicycle, hiking boots.

View All Answers


5. Do you have any other comments?

I have lived in many "difficult" countries but never felt as isolated as I do here.

View All Answers


Ljubljana, Slovenia 08/04/11

Background:

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

First experience.

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

6 months, since February 2011.

View All Answers


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

Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

There are apartments in the Center and houses around the Center. Ljubljana is a very small town, with only about 280,000 inhabitants, so you can easily live in a house outside Ljubljana and work in the capital, if you wish. If you live and work in the central area (around the Castle of Ljubljana), you can easily walk or cycle to work.

View All Answers


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

Very good supermarkets, including the french E.LeClerc, which is very complete and cheaper. The Slovene supermarket branch Mercator is everywhere. On Sundays, after 15.00 they are all closed, except for one Mercator in Trzaska Cesta. Beware: Slovenes are very strict with the closure times of their stores!

View All Answers


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

Nothing, Slovenia has everything. And if you don´t find what you want you can just drive quickly to Italy or Austria.

View All Answers


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

MacDonald's and Burger King are available. If you're used to spicy or heavy tasted food like I am, you won't like the Slovene cuisine. But there are a few dishes that are very good. Try the Kremna Resina in Bled. Serbian cuisine is more spicy and has a stronger taste. One example is the Cevapcici dish.

View All Answers


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

Many Slovene in the countryside produce their own food, so there is a strong market for organic and natural products. The market in Ljubljana´s historical centre is full of healthy food! The supermarkets have all gluten-free and allergy-free products.

View All Answers


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

Almost none, except for a few light mosquitoes in the warmest days.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

Post service is slow and expensive! You should hire DHL if you send something urgent! But postcards arrive, LATE, but they arrive.

View All Answers


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

There are a few cleaning ladies, that will charge you from 5 to 12 Euros an hour. Ours speak fluent English! She charges 5.

View All Answers


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

Yes. The one we go to is great.

View All Answers


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?

The bank system in Slovenia is slow and frustrating. Simple things can take long. But, this said, there are many ATMs and credit cards are accepted.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

Yes. In the Maxxi Supermarket, in Slovenska Cesta, in front of Kongresni Trg, you will find international press. There is also the STA website for Slovene news in English and a monthly magazine " Slovenian Times".

View All Answers


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

Most Slovenes speak English or at least some German or Italian. It is good to know some Slovene for daily use. It is a Slavic Language, with declinations and a difficult grammatical system. The alphabet is Latin, what helps a lot. But it IS hard!

View All Answers


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

Maybe in the historical sights there might be difficulties because of the lack of stairs.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

Trains are terrible! The train station has no decent information for tourists, the trains are old and extremely slow. Buses are great and not very expensive. Taxis also are great and cheap! But you can´t just grab a taxi in the street, you should call a taxi company, otherwise the price will be ten times higher!

View All Answers


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?

Any type of automobile will suit you. Slovenes love cars and you will see many BMWs, AUDIs, SAABs and Volvos.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

Yes, it is very good!

View All Answers


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

Cell phones companies are great! We use Simobil, but there are others.

View All Answers


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?

The dogs have to follow the EU procedure to come here. No quarantine if everything is according to the EU rules!

View All Answers


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

Yes!! They are wonderful! Our dog got very sick before coming here and the Hospital from the Veterinarian Faculty of the University of Ljubljana saved his life! They are always open and the best doctors are there! But there are other options too!

View All Answers


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?

It depends on your area of expertise. Some demand fluent Slovene.

View All Answers


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

Normal western dress code.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

None!! Like all of Europe, there might be one or two violence attacks from extreme right groups towards foreigners, but it's uncommon. Maybe once or twice a year.

View All Answers


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

The medical care is great!

View All Answers


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?

Perfect, even in the center of Ljubljana.

View All Answers


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

Crazy. It changes a lot. Winters can get very cold and can easily reach -15 Degrees Celsius. The snow covers the city around 50 days a year. The spring is beautiful and the summer can offer warm days, with temperatures above 30 Degrees Celsius.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

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

I don't have kids, so I don't know much about the schools here. I know there is a French School and an English School in Ljubljana.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


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

Yes.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

Small, but the city is small, so you hear many languages in Ljubljana and can bump into some expats regularly!

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Generally very high! Most people just love sLOVEnia! A few people might feel a bit isolated because the city and the country are small.

View All Answers


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?

The movie selection here is horrible! The same movies pass for months in a row! And there are usually only blockbusters. There are a lot of concerts of good quality and the Slovene Philharmonic is very good! A lot of international artists pass through Slovenia too. The streets in the center are very lively at night and there are a few clubs: the best one is the " Top Club"! The culture of "cafés" is very strong in Ljubljana and people love to eat ice-cream ("Sladoled!"). There is also the Tivoli Park whit swimming pools, forest and nice green area to enjoy the sun!

View All Answers


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

It's great for couples and families. Not so great for singles, as I have been told by single expats I know. They complain that people here are not very flirty.

View All Answers


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

The Slovene "gay scene" is pretty much one bar in Ljubljana, and one night per week in a local club. So if you're gay and single, you better go to Vienna on weekends to party. But in terms of homophobia, people here usually respect privacy and, although openly gay couples are very rare, they are respected.

View All Answers


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

A few Slovenians might have prejudice against Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and Serbs. Slovenes are not very religious. Women here are very free, like any other western country.

View All Answers


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

The alpine town of Bled and its beautiful lake is just pure magic and it's only half hour away from Ljubljana. The seaside town of Piran, wich was part of the Venetian Republic in the Slovenian seaside, is also enchanting. The Postojna Cave is really amazing, and the lake Bohinj is great for swimming. There's also the Predjamski Castle and many other incredible sights in Slovenia. The center of Ljubljana is very small, between the river and the small castle on the hill: just like a fairytale. It is always full of people, night and day.

View All Answers


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

Lakes, mountain hiking, beaches, castles, historical cities, nice countryside, and so on.

View All Answers


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

A Kurent mask! The Kurents are a kind of old slavic monsters that scare the winter away and welcome spring during carnival! Their costumes are unique! Really! Otherwise there are some interesting unique craft.

View All Answers


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

Ljubljana is a really beautiful city with plenty of outdoor activities, very close to the seaside, the Alps, 40 minutes drive to Trieste (Italy), and a bit more to Austria. The city is extremely safe, clean, lively and unique. It's packed with tourists during the summer, when bars, restaurants and other places can be open until a bit later.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Yes, Slovenia is not one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Croatia is even cheaper! (but not in the Euro Zone! You will have to get Kunas!)

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

DEFINITELY! We love Slovenia and we are not alone: all our friends or family that came here until now are just bewildered by the beauty of Slovenia! Life here is great! Very relaxed and really fun! BUT next destination could be New York or London to counterbalance this rural feeling!

View All Answers


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

Big city vibe!

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Curiosity!

View All Answers


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

We went on reading a nice bibliography on Ex-Yougoslavia. About Slovenia, we have read some History books, but nothing very special.

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

Slovenia is a special place! It was the one of the six Ex-Yougoslavian Republics, but it was the least affected by the war. Independent since 1991, today it is part of the EU, NATO and it was the first eastern country to enter the Euro Zone! Although the 2008 economic crisis has hit Slovenia, it is still rich and organized. You will notice a few reminders of the communist period: people only work until 14.00 on Fridays and are extremely strict with their hours and vacations! Also, the banking system, train and telephone lines will give you some headache! But this are all minor problems. Where else would you find a Capital with the feel of a small fairy tale village near the Mediterranean sea, the Alps, Venice, Vienna and other great places! You will love it!

View All Answers


Ljubljana, Slovenia 06/30/11

Background:

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

No. Would prefer not to say where I have lived, because it will be too obvious that it is me. However, this is my fifth expat experience.

View All Answers


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?

From the East Coast of the US, it is about a 12 hour trip, with a connection in Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, etc.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

1 year

View All Answers


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

Educator

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Apartments in town. Houses outside of town. Nothing terribly big. Commutes within Ljubljana itself are short, because the city is so small. It's easy to walk or bike to most places.

View All Answers


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

Just about everything is available. Mercator, the local supermarket chain, is very nice - well stocked and on almost every corner. Groceries and household supplies are probably a bit more expensive than the US.

View All Answers


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

Nothing. Everything is available here.

View All Answers


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

All the usual fast food restaurants, but why would you want to eat there?There are many decent restaurants and cost is reasonable.

View All Answers


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

All available. Maximarket, in town, has a section with all of these products.

View All Answers


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

None.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

Regular Slovenian mail. Postage in Slovenia is actually quite cheap, particularly for packages. I've never had any problems. The biggest problem seems to be European vendors who inexplicably don't want to ship to Slovenia.

View All Answers


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

Available, but not that commonly used.

View All Answers


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

Yes, there are several gyms but I have never visited any.

View All Answers


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?

It's safe and common.

View All Answers


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

There is one English-language church.

View All Answers


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

Shows on TV are shown in the original language with subtitles, which means that there is plenty of English-language TV.

View All Answers


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

Almost everyone speaks English, but attempts at Slovenian are appreciated.

View All Answers


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

The same difficulties one would experience in any other Central European city. There are ramps and accommodations on newer buildings, but the old buildings and streets would probably be harder to navigate.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

They are safe and affordable. It's not worth driving in town. Taxis, in particular, are very cheap and great to use when the buses stop running at night.

View All Answers


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 is better, because parking is hard to find and streets are narrow.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

Yes, it's available, about 30 euros/month.

View All Answers


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

There are two main companies: Mobitel and Si.mobil. Both are fine. I just have a pay-as-you-go.

View All Answers


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. Pets do need to be micro-chipped and have proof of vaccination within a certain time-frame. The regulations are the same as elsewhere in the EU and depend on where you are coming from.

View All Answers


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

There are excellent vets and kennels. There are also dog-walking services available.

View All Answers


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?

Teaching positions at QSI and BISL.Otherwise not much.

View All Answers


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

The same as the rest of Europe. A little dressier than the US in public.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

None. Ljubljana is very safe.

View All Answers


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

No real health concerns, although there are lots of ticks and they carry Lyme disease. The quality of medical care is good.

View All Answers


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?

Very good.

View All Answers


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

Four seasons, with some snow in the winter. It tends to be very foggy in the fall and it is very rainy. Ljubljana is foggier than the rest of Slovenia, so when it gets too gloomy, it's not that hard to escape.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

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

There are three international schools. QSI offers an American curriculum and Mastery-based learning. It's very small. It has unadvertised religious undertones. BISL is based on the British curriculum and has a unique philosophy, including no grades. About half the students are Slovenes. It is also quite small and in quite cramped facilities. Danilo Kumar/Gimnazija Bezigrad offer IB and are run by the Slovenian government. The teachers are mostly Slovene. There are pros and cons to each school. I have heard complaints about all three. It does not seem that any option is entirely satisfactory.

View All Answers


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

I believe QSI and BISL both make accommodations.

View All Answers


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?

Yes, at QSI and BISL.Local daycare also available.

View All Answers


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

There are if they speak Slovene. Otherwise, none that I am aware of.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

The expat community is very small and seems to be mostly composed of families with small children.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

It varies. It can be extremely lonely for singles.

View All Answers


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?

The social life can be frustrating for singles. The families with small children tend to stick together and there don't seem to be many singles, so it can be quite lonely. Slovenes are friendly, but it is hard to get to know them and become friends with them, even if you speak the language. They are like Slavic-speaking Austrians in that respect. Be prepared to spend a lot of time by yourself if you do not come with a family.

View All Answers


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

Families, particularly with young children, seem to do well. The expat community is very small and there don't see to be many singles, so the social circle is very limiting for singles and childless couples.

View All Answers


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

I think it is.

View All Answers


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

The Roma community in Slovenia is not looked upon fondly by the locals.

View All Answers


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

The countryside is gorgeous and very accessible. During the summer months, there is lots of good hiking. In the winter, good skiing is less than an hour away. Ljubljana also has a lot to offer. The center is small, but vibrant, with many nice cafes and a huge Saturday market. I have also enjoyed going to the many excellent performances at Cankarjev Dom, which are very affordable, with good seats costing about 20 euros. There is a lot to do here and it is hard to take advantage of all of it.

View All Answers


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

Lots. One can hike, ski, swim, sail, visit the caves (both Postojna and Skocjan are worth visiting), visit Maribor, Skofja Loka, Piran, and many other towns, sample wine, eat good food, watch World Cup ski races, etc. Croatia, Italy, and Austria are also very close and can be visited in a day trip.

View All Answers


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

Lace, honey, wine.

View All Answers


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

The beautiful countryside and great quality of life. There are few capitals in the world where one can be in the mountains in half an hour and at the sea in an hour. Ljubljana also has all the benefits of being a small city, while still having big city amenities.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Probably not. Slovenia is no longer cheap. It's still cheaper than Austria, but not by much.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

Maybe. It would depend on the job.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Umbrella and rainboots!It rains a lot here.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

The second part of the Chronicles of Narnia was filmed here.

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

Slovenia has a lot to offer. The problem is finding people to enjoy Slovenia with.

View All Answers


Ljubljana, Slovenia 03/04/11

Background:

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

4th expat experience.

View All Answers


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

4th expat experience.

View All Answers


3. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

View All Answers


4. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

View All Answers


5. How long have you lived here?

Several months.

View All Answers


6. How long have you lived here?

Several months.

View All Answers


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

Corporate

View All Answers


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

Corporate

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

Nothing.

View All Answers


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

Nothing.

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

Everything is readily available in all supermarkets.

View All Answers


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

Everything is readily available in all supermarkets.

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

Local post office is fine.

View All Answers


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

Local post office is fine.

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

Available everywhere and easy to use.

View All Answers


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

Available everywhere and easy to use.

View All Answers


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

There are some.

View All Answers


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

There are some.

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

I think it should be ok in most parts.

View All Answers


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

I think it should be ok in most parts.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Any car is fine.

View All Answers


4. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Any car is fine.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

Yes, approximately 30 euros per month.

View All Answers


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

Yes, approximately 30 euros per month.

View All Answers


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

There are lots of companies you can use.

View All Answers


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

There are lots of companies you can use.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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

View All Answers


2. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

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

There are none.

View All Answers


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

There are none.

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

No, this is a safe country.

View All Answers


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

No, this is a safe country.

View All Answers


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

No concerns. Quality of healthcare is fine.

View All Answers


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

No concerns. Quality of healthcare is fine.

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

There is some support at an extra cost.

View All Answers


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

There is some support at an extra cost.

View All Answers


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

There is one at the British International School of Ljubljana.

View All Answers


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

There is one at the British International School of Ljubljana.

View All Answers


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

Yes. Check at the local gyms.

View All Answers


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

Yes. Check at the local gyms.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

Very small.

View All Answers


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

Very small.

View All Answers


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?

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

View All Answers


4. Morale among expats:

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

View All Answers


5. Morale among expats:

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

Visit the countryside and neighbouring countries.

View All Answers


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

Visit the countryside and neighbouring countries.

View All Answers


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

Honey, wine, Alpine cheese.

View All Answers


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

Honey, wine, Alpine cheese.

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


21. Can you save money?

No, not at all.

View All Answers


22. Can you save money?

No, not at all.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

No.

View All Answers


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

No.

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


5. But don't forget your:

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

View All Answers


6. But don't forget your:

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

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


8. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


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

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

View All Answers


10. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


11. Do you have any other comments?

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

View All Answers


12. Do you have any other comments?

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

View All Answers


Ljubljana, Slovenia 06/05/10

Background:

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

We lived London for 3 years and spent a few months in Berlin.

View All Answers


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?

To fly home to Washington State, you go from here to Frankfurt or Amsterdam, then to Detroit or some place like that, then to the west coast. If you're paying for tickets on your own, you can get cheaper flights from Venice, but it's a 2 1/2 hour drive to Marco Polo Airport.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

1 1/2 years.

View All Answers


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

U.S. Department of State/American Embassy.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Housing varies. We live in the city in a very modern penthouse apartment with a patio on the roof. Others live in houses in the suburbs, but, being a small city, that isn't very far away. Everyone complains about space in any of the houses in any European post. I don't feel cramped at all, more closets would be nice but we also have a large personal storage shed in the parking garage, as do most apartments here.

View All Answers


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

Groceries are higher priced than in the U.S. but you can get just about everything you need locally. There is an Air Force Base in Aviano, Italy with a large commissary and exchange about 2 1/2 hours drive from here.

View All Answers


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

You can get whatever you need. I quilt and I would have brought a lot of fabric with me, as there are only dressmaking fabric stores available and the cost per meter is about 10 to 12€, however, anyone who quilts knows that it's impossible to predict what fabrics you may need in the next 2 or 3 years. If you change your own oil in your car you should probably bring oil, but I doubt that you can put it in your shipment. Maybe you could call it vegetable oil. ;-)

View All Answers


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

Lots of restaurants.... LOTS! For fast food there is only McDonald's.

View All Answers


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

No and I don't have screens.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

We have a DPO address as well as a pouch address. You can mail things home quickly if you send them from Aviano AFB but you cannot receive packages there.

View All Answers


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

I hear it's not cheap or easy to obtain.

View All Answers


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

Yes, but I make it a habit to never go in one.:-)

View All Answers


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?

ATMs are not a problem, there are a few here and there that won't accept my card. You can use your credit card in most stores and restaurants.

View All Answers


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

There is an English-speaking non-denominational church.

View All Answers


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

We have cable (as well as AFN), with the cable TV there is a lot of English-speaking channels, The History Channel, Discovery, Animal Planet, BBC, CNN, Euronews, many ESPN channels, lots of music video channels, Disney channel, HBO and Cinamax, to name just a few. There are many movies on TV in English with Slovenian or Serbain subtitles.

View All Answers


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

Many people under 30 or 40 speak good English, but speaking Slovene would be very helpful at times. It's a Slavic language, so you may get by easier if you already know another Slavic language. The embassy offers a free once-a-week language class. Trying to speak a little of the language always warms the locals up and makes them much more willing to help you.

View All Answers


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

This city is not set up well for a person in a wheel chair.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

The buses are €1 unless you buy a card that you load with whatever amount you want, then the rides are only 80 cents. The trains are cheap and they go everywhere!

View All Answers


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?

Streets and parking spots are small. There are quite a few major car dealerships for getting your car repaired. We had our oil changed at the Toyota dealer and it was extremely expensive, even with the VAT refund. You'll need to buy a toll sticker for your car for driving on the freeway, 90€ a year. The Italian highways have toll booths and it's about 3€ to Aviano AFB each way. The drivers here are kind of crazy... but nothing compared to the Italian drivers. ;-)

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

We have cable, internet and phone for 40€ a month, including all of the channels I listed above. We also have Vonage for our long distance calls to the US.

View All Answers


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

I use a pay-as-you-go phone, but other folks have phones with calling plans. It's all affordable.

View All Answers


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 needed, but you do need to have a health certificate from your vet before you arrive as well as have the pet micro chipped with a chip that's readable in Europe (maybe it's called an ISO chip), as well as a rabies shot within a year before you come but not less than a month. Check with GSO on this before you come.

View All Answers


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

We have a cat and haven't need a vet, but we know people who have used the vets and the boarding kennels here and have had no complaints.

View All Answers


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?

Zero, unless you get a job with either the British School or QSI. There are 3 or 4 EFM jobs in the embassy, and I believe they are all part time.

View All Answers


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

Business casual.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

Zero.

View All Answers


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

The embassy has a nurse. There are hospitals and dentists. We've received good care here, although doctor and dentist offices and waiting areas are stark and uninviting. I had a cavity and got a panoramic ex-ray for 29€ and the filling for 90€, both of which required payment in cash but it didn't take very long for my insurance to reimburse me.

View All Answers


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?

Excellent.

View All Answers


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 with their text book weather patterns. Never leave the house without sunglasses and an umbrella. If winter has you down, you can either go skiing in the Alps or drive an hour away and be in Italy where it always seems to be a bit warmer.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

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

Our son goes to QSI (Quality Schools International), with an American accreditation, which is a chain with it headquarters here in Ljubljana. The school goes from K through grade 12. There were 6 kids in high school (grades 9-12) this year with a graduating class of 1.QSI has been excellent for our son academically, socially... not so much. The other school is the British School of Ljubljana, I've heard good and bad about it. The high school population there is not much bigger than at QSI and I don't know if the high school credits transfer easily to an American School. There isn't any sort of sports teams associated with either school.

View All Answers


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

Our son has an IEP and his school works very hard with us to assure our son is getting the most he can get out of school. It has worked out very well for us.

View All Answers


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 is a day care right next to the embassy and friends of ours have a child there and love it.

View All Answers


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

There is a softball team for kids and an American Football team for those over 16.The embassy has a softball team and plays in tournaments against the locals. Kids as young as 10 or 12 can play on the embassy team.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

There are a lot of English-speaking people here from American corporations like Goodyear and the like. There are a couple of expat groups you can join.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

I think it's 50/50.I love it here, LOVE IT! Others do not. I believe it's what you make of it. Some people need hand holding and lots of embassy support to go out and find something to do. Being a very small embassy it is hard to get large groups together to do things. There is a fair amount of in home entertainment as well as dinners out with groups. The Marine House doesn't have as many Friday Happy Hours as one would expect, maybe less than once a month, depending on who's in charge.

View All Answers


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?

Yes:-)

View All Answers


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

Yes.

View All Answers


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

I don't think there is a problem.

View All Answers


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

I haven't heard of any.

View All Answers


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

Scenery, wine, castles, lakes, good friends.

View All Answers


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

There's a large indoor water park as well as an outdoor water park, there is a zoo, an indoor go cart track, movie theaters in English, museums, huge caves (one has a train to take you down into it), lots of castles, lakes, mountains, skiing. There are lots musical events to attend and plenty of festivals... beer, lace, honey, wine, ski jump/Mardi gras, even a cow ball.

View All Answers


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

Beer, wine, lace, honey and sightseeing.

View All Answers


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

The beauty. The Alps are in your lap!Venice is 2 hours away, Vienna isn't much further than that. Zagreb is an hour away and Budapest is 4 hours away. It is absolutely beautiful here. The people are very friendly. There are castles and vineyards everywhere. It is a very safe city. There are 4 distinct seasons, it's cold in the winter, hot in the summer. Spring and Fall are delicious!All of the restaurants (ALL OF THEM) have outside seating. I could go on for hours about the advantages.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

I doubt it, but you didn't get into this career thinking you would now did you?You won't need the money when you're old for traveling so what are you saving it for?

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

Yes, 10 times!

View All Answers


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

SUV and bad mood.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Bike, the roads are very bike friendly with bike lanes everywhere. And A Camera!

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

The movie, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, had some mountain scenes filmed here in the Soca River Valley.

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

I'm going to miss this place.

View All Answers


Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)

Read More