Skopje, Macedonia Report of what it's like to live there - 03/29/12

Personal Experiences from Skopje, Macedonia

Skopje, Macedonia 03/29/12

Background:

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

Multiple international postings. Sarajevo, Jakarta, Bangkok, Split

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?

Arizona. Connections are not bad, although the schedule is limited into Skopje.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

One year.

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?

Nothing is very far away in Skopje. Single homes and apartments.

View All Answers


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

Fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and fish are all very reasonable. Lots of other things are imported and can be pricey.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

Lots of great restaurants. Tends to be protein heavy, but there are options. From very cheap to slightly expensive. McDonald's it here if you need comfort food.

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?

Almost everything here is organic by history/tradition/economics. Specialty foods are limited.

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?

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 expensive in my view.

View All Answers


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

Yes, but limited. There are a couple of gyms.

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?

Does not seem to be a significant problem as long as you follow the basic rules. ATMs are numerous.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

None, but it will make you popular.

View All Answers


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

Very limited access. I think this would be a difficult place for people with disabilities.

View All Answers


Transportation:

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

Buses and taxis are available and safe. Seem fairly cheap.

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?

You can drive most anything here. Roads are reasonable. If you love the outdoors, bring a 4x4.

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.

View All Answers


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

This is a very wired country, and phones will work anywhere.

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?

View All Answers


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

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. Unemployment is high, and wages are low.

View All Answers


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

Suit and tie for men.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

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

A very safe country in the main. Normal precautions only.

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?

Medical care seems adequate if overburdened.

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?

Skopje air is dusty in the summer, a bit smoky in the winter. After Bangkok and Jakarta- not a worry.

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?

South Central European. Mild winters at Skopje's altitude, deep snow on the mountains. Spring arrives in April, July and August can be hot.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

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

The only international school of size in Skopje is Nova International Schools and it has been great for us. We have three kids there and they are thriving. We came from big schools, and wanted our kids to continue to have lots of options. The school takes education very seriously and seems to stay on the forefront of education best practice. Highly recommended.

View All Answers


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

Nova has a special program in this area, I am unsure if other programs exist.

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, several options. The "nanny" option can be expensive.

View All Answers


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

Yes and no. Depends on the school.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

Small. Maybe 1000 of all stripes.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Good.

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?

View All Answers


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

Families and couples, I imagine the single scene lacks a whole lot of options.

View All Answers


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

Not a comfortable city for LGBT folks.

View All Answers


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

With regard to expatriates, no. Nationally, this is an issue.

View All Answers


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

Snowy Christmas holidays skiing, trips to lake Ohrid, spring!

View All Answers


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

Touring, wineries, monasteries, outdoor sports both summer and winter.

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


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

Wonderful location for touring both within Macedonia and the region.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

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:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Subscribe to our newsletter


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More