Conjuring up images of juicy olives, picturesque blue and white buildings and most recently the hit film ‘Mamma Mia!’, Greece is a popular holiday destination and a lot of people consider living there permanently after falling in love with the lifestyle. Spending time in Greece as a tourist on a short-term basis may transpire to be a lot different when living and working there permanently as there’s a lot more to consider. Here at Top Language Jobs, we’ve put together a profile on the main topics you may be unsure of when considering a move to Greece.
Finding a property to live in
The most important part of living abroad to consider is where you’re going to live. In Greece, renting your first property instead of buying a house from the get go is the best option as you can get a feel for the local area before committing to purchasing a property. Depending on your needs, you have options of signing a long-term or a short-term contract. If you commit to a longer contract, then you’ll often find your monthly rent payments will work out cheaper than signing a short term contract.
In terms of location, if you already have a job secured in Greece then you should definitely have an idea of which places are best to rent in. Research which areas of the city are closest to your workplace and consider how you will travel to and from work if you do not have access to a car. If you don’t have a fixed job yet, then you have a lot more freedom to search for what area you’d like to live in. Keep your research focused on cost and quality of living and the availability of rental properties so you’re not living out of budget.
Since you may not be aware of the country’s financial situation and property market, it’s good to hire a real estate agent to help you. They will find landlords who are willing to let a part or whole of their property and a local agent will communicate on your behalf to get you your desired property.
A fun fact which may aid you in your search for a Greek home is that enoikiazetai is the Greek word meaning ‘for rent’.
Greece has on average nine months of sunshine, so it’s not surprising that Greeks love spending time outside. The country features fantastic beaches, pristine natural parks and rugged peaks, so it’s not uncommon to see people outdoors , even at 10pm on a weekday.
With a big coffee culture in Greece, you can expect to catch up with new friends at a cafe during the day and stay there for a few hours whilst you sample the menu. Similarly, Greeks have a love of good food and if you’re invited to a personal dinner, you can be seated at the table for several hours talking and laughing.
Greek cuisine is renowned for its fresh Mediterranean style, with favourites such as Moussaka, Souvlaki, Gyros, Tzatziki and olives. Accompanied with fresh fruits and vegetables with simple olive oil, salt and pepper seasonings, Greek food is deliciously fresh and the simplicity brings out the flavours of the dish.
Greece is also the country to be in if you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife. Most Europeans head to a club at around 11pm, whereas in contrast, Greeks are only just starting their evening. . It is normal to see people heading out after midnight, and stay out until sunrise.. Perhaps not for the faint hearted, but if you love drinking and dancing long into the night, then it could be perfectly suited to what you desire.
If you’re moving to Greece as a family with children, then one of your main priorities will be their education. Children in Greece are required to stay in education between the ages of 6 and 15 and during these years, public schooling is tuition-free. Traditionally, public government schools also give free textbooks but this is subject to change as there have been textbook shortages in the past. Bear this in mind whilst working in Greece, as you may have to set some money aside to accommodate this.
Unfortunately, costs for textbooks is not the only thing you might find your salary going towards in terms of your children’s education. It is not uncommon for expats to spend thousands on private tutors. This is partly because the Greek education system relies largely on the rote memory technique.
This is a learning technique which involves a fact or figure being repeated continuously until it is instilled in their memory bank. It is likely a very different learning experience from what your children are used to with education in the UK. Greece has one of the highest private school attendance figures in Europe as the country tends to perceive private education as superior to public education.
If you can afford it, private schooling might be a good option for your children as it is a good middle ground between integrating your children within Greek culture and receiving an education closer to what they’re used to – public schools in Greece only teach in Greek, which expat children may struggle with in terms of both learning and making friends.
If you’re moving to Greece from the UK, it’s important to note that most payments are done in cash as opposed to our cashless society culture.
Although hotels and restaurants in Greece typically accept credit or debit cards, a lot of small businesses, tavernas and cafés, taxis, kiosks, or street vendors will only accept euros in cash. The further you drift away from the tourist areas, the rarer card payments are, so this may be an important consideration when you’re looking for somewhere to live.