Moving to Serbia
Expats moving to Serbia will be welcomed to one of Europe’s most culturally diverse countries. Most of the small expat community in Serbia can be found in the capital, Belgrade, and is made up of diplomatic personnel or those working for international organisations and NGOs.
Unemployment in the country is high and each year large numbers of Serbia's most educated leave in search of a better standard of living abroad. It is generally not advisable for expats to move to Serbia without securing a job beforehand.
Safety isn't a major concern for expats living in Serbia. Belgrade is relatively peaceful and while political demonstrations are common, they rarely become violent. Street crime can be a problem in Belgrade, but it's comparable to other European cities so expats should just exercise the same caution they would back home. Expats should avoid travelling to areas close to the Kosovan border, however, which are known to be volatile.
The Serbian population is conservative, so the social life for expats in Serbia is low-key. However, Belgrade has an interesting variety of restaurants where expats can indulge in a variety of international cuisines.
English is widely spoken as a second language, but Serbian is the country’s official language. Many expats living in Serbia hire an interpreter to assist them in the workplace. Learning Serbian and having a basic understanding of the Cyrillic alphabet will also help expats navigate everyday activities.
The standard of healthcare in Serbia is not as good as in other Western European or North American countries. Expats should be cautious when selecting hospitals and doctors. While Serbian doctors are well-trained and generally speak good English, medical supplies are limited and some hospitals may not have the necessary equipment to carry out more complex procedures. In many cases, foreigners travel to another country for specialist care.
There are a number of international schools in Belgrade and these serve expat families from the USA, UK and Germany. However, places are limited and waiting lists are long so many parents choose to send their children to boarding schools elsewhere in Europe instead.
Serbia is not a destination of choice for many expats and the limited infrastructure can be frustrating for new arrivals. However, things are slowly improving and hopefully, Serbia's forthcoming membership of the EU will unlock the potential within the country.