Chisinau, Moldova Report of what it's like to live there - 03/02/10
Personal Experiences from Chisinau, Moldova
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
4th expat experience.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
14 or so hours from DC through Frankfurt or Vienna.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Working at the US Embassy.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Big, but oddly designed houses and apartments that are nice but in the middle of nowhere. If possible, try to push for a house.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Western style foods are available but can become pricey. The meats here at most of the markets are terrible and most people order meat through the military base in Germany, or a specialty store in town. Both can be pretty expensive.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
A grill and a shovel.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
McDonald's and it reasonably priced
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
DPO or pouch.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
About 150 a month. I have a maid who come every day and it costs me 200 US a month.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Yes, a very good gym is 300 meters from the embassy
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?
I have never had a problem.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
I personally think it is very important, especially in social settings. English is not widely spoken
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
They are safe and very cheap. Some people take them, but having some of the language is important.
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?
An SUV seems to be the most popular.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
30 US a month and it is pretty good.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
They are inexpensive.
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?
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
No, not really. I rely on friends to watch my dog out in town. However, I found a groomer that is pretty good.
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?
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
The health care here is terrible. If I had a caviity i would want a medevac.
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?
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Similar to Maryland.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
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?
Although I do not have children, the school seems adequate for younger children but is lacking a lot for high school aged children.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
among Expat men it's very high.
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?
Very good but small. After 6 months you realize it's the same people you see out and about.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
The people with families and couple seem to enjoy their time here. The men who are single REALLY enjoy their time here and try to extend at post. Single women don’t appear to have the same level of enjoyment.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
There may be an underground scene.
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
People of color can have some problems from time to time.
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Traveling outside of Moldova.
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Travel outside of the country. After 6 months you have pretty much done everything.
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
nothing really worth it..
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
You will be able to save a great deal of money if you avoid western type goods and entertainment.
11. Can you save money?
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Yes, but would have demanded language training.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your:
4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
6. Do you have any other comments?
The food in Moldova is terrible, as is the food at the embassy. There are very few reasonably priced international restaurants with decent food. I highly suggest people be prepared to learn how to cook prior to coming here