Things you might not know about Slovenia
Slovenia is one of the central European countries that have the most diverse culture, language and geography. Because of the different nations surrounding it, Slovenia has become a popular expat destination. If you are wondering what’s in store for you in this Slavic land, you can rest assure that you will find a promising employment opportunity because its economy is one of the richest among its neighbours. You can look forward to a flourishing career and a chance to live in a place where you are surrounded by mountains, glacial lakes and ski resorts.
Moving to Slovenia can be a great experience for you and your family if you learn more about it and plan your life well in this country.
Important things to know about Slovenia
1. They have a rich culture and history
Slovenia is a country of over two million inhabitants that is located in Eastern Europe, with a small coastline on the Adriatic Sea. It was a part of Communist Yugoslavia until the year 1991. The Slovene language is the official language of Slovenia, which is a Slavic language. Many Slovenes also learn the English and German languages in school. The dominant religion in Slovenia is the Roman Catholic Church. In ancient times, the area of Slovenia was part of the region of Illyria. It became part of the Roman Empire, but was later overrun by the Huns and German tribes, then settled by Slavs.
2. It’s cheap for European country
The cost of living in Slovenia is cheaper than most countries in Europe. In Slovenia’s major cities, like Ljubljana, the monthly cost of you utilities (water, electricity, gas and garbage collection) is normally €200. You can also apply for other services like internet connection which is around €30 per month and mobile phone service where a minute of local prepaid call is charged €0.15.
3. They have a good education system
Slovenia prides itself for having an excellent educational system and high standard in teaching. Many expats enrol their children in international schools like the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia (EMUNI), which uses English and several European languages in teaching. The National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia is responsible in monitoring the education in the country. There are many local schools that you can choose from; one of them is the University of Ljubljana which is the most prestigious state school in Slovenia.
4. Slovenia is a Schengen Area Member
This means that all EU citizens are allowed entry and employment in the country. They also allow visa-free entry to European Economic Area (EEA) member states such as Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein as well as Switzerland under special conditions unless they will stay in the country for work, school, or residential purpose. Know more about the visa you would need to enter and stay in Slovenia in their official foreign affairs website.
5. They have a thriving economy
Slovenia’s economy is one of the most stable in Europe as of the moment. Their GDP and Purchasing Power Parity are on a high rate and are considered prosperous. The growth and development of Slovenia’s economy is expected to continue for years to come, offering better work opportunities locally and overseas. According to the Skills Forecast of the European Centre for Development (Cedefop), Slovenia’s employment rate is expected to rise until 2025 and 33% of job opportunities in the country will be for professionals.
6. It is a very ‘green’ country
Slovenia is a stickler for the environment. In fact, Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana is the European Green Capital for 2016. According to the Environmental Performance Index 2016 by Yale University, Slovenia is in 5th place with a score of 88.98 for environmental performance. The country has made a great effort in ensuring that they are as environmentally friendly as possible, with improvements in their transport, waste management, district heating systems, and water distribution. Slovenia is making an effort to give their residents the best living environment to protect their health, as well as the incredible biodiversity of the country.
- It has the highest number of caves in a country in the world with over 11,500 caves as of 2015. Among the most famous ones, are the Skocjan Caves which are listed in UNESCO.
- Water tourism is another big draw in Slovenia, as the country has several rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds that offer several activities. Check out their official tourism website for lists of water activities.
- It has one of the highest number of religious buildings per capita in Europe with over 3,000 different monuments, chapels and churches.
- The Solkan Bridge in Western Slovenia is the longest stone arch railway bridge in the world.
- The Predjama Castle also known as the “Castle in a rock” is one of the most famous and iconic castles in the world. Unsurprisingly, the castle also goes into a cave.
How to live like a local
1. Know what to do during holidays
On St Martin's Day in Slovenia, November 11, large quantities of fowl are consumed. Children get presents for St Nicholas Day on Dec 6, and the most famous 19th-century Slovenian poet, France Presheren, has a national holiday in his honour, February 8. Another public holiday is celebrated June 8 to commemorate Primozh Trubar, 16th-century Protestant leader and father of the modern Slovenian language.
2. Look out for “za najem”
There are many types of housing in Slovenia where you can choose between a short term and long term lease agreements. When you stroll the streets, watch out for signs outside properties that say ‘za najem’ (for rent). You will find the most modern and newly built rentals in Ljubljana, the capital and centre of the country. The price of a one bedroom apartment in the metropolitan starts at €450 and €850 for a three bedroom unit. There are also rentals in neighbouring districts where a one bedroom flat is around €350 and a three bedroom unit is usually €600 per month.
3. Be a fan of stew
Slovenian food are usually one-pot meals like stews and soups eaten with bread. Another favourite in Slovenia are potato dishes such as Njoki (potato dumplings). In 2015, 22 Slovenian food and food products were added to the list of “protected food” by the European Union which protects the names and trademarks of the following dishes, food, and food products:
- prleška tünka (minced meat)
- Ptuj onion (ptujski lük)
- Slovenian Istria's extra virgin olive oil (ekstra deviško oljčno olje Slovenske Istre)
- Nanos cheese (nanoški sir)
- Kočevje forest honey (kočevski gozdni med)
- zgornjesavinjski želodec (type of ham)
- šebreljski želodec (type of ham)
- Idrija žlikrofi (idrijski žlikrofi) (type of pasta dish)
- prekmurska gibanica (cake)
- Tolminc cheese (sir Tolminc)
- White Carniola loaf (belokranjska pogača)
- Karst prosciutto (kraški pršut) (type of ham)
- Karst cured neck meat (kraški zašink)
Moving to Slovenia can be a great experience. Especially with the economic stability, peaceful lifestyle and efficient public services that they have in the country. There might be some challenges when it comes to finding employment as their local workforce is already quite strong, but other than that, moving to this country can be an interesting development for your life abroad. Just make sure you have all the information you need before you arrive.
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