A Brazilian Diplomat Discovering Slovenia: Miguel’s Story

Slovenia is a country with a lot of diversity and landscapes. It is also a surprising country: small, nestled in the center of Europe, you would never expect to find the wonderful Ljubljana there, both cosmopolitan and provincial, located in the center of Slovenia. All of this is what Miguel enjoyed the country.

Miguel is a Brazilian diplomat. He traveled around the world, changing countries every three years. For the last few, he has been staying in Ljubljana. If you are thinking about moving to Slovenia, you will love hearing about Miguel’s experience. He has seen the world and still fell in love with the Slovenian capital.

We interviewed Miguel and asked him about his work and his life in Ljubljana and Slovenia. He also gave us advice on what to do when moving to Slovenia and its opinion on the country. Let’s take a look at his answers together.

Miguel and His Three Years in Slovenia

Miguel is Brazilian. He is a diplomat working in different embassies across the world. For the last three years, he has been working and living at the embassy in Ljubljana. His job is fascinating and exciting. It helped him discover a lot about Slovenia’s culture, including art, music, and literature.

What was your previous destination?

“I was assigned in Rotterdam and for a short time in Budapest. I’m trying to go to Rome, who knows, maybe one day. It’s complicated, you have to know a lot of rules.”

Miguel would be supposed to leave Ljubljana at any time, but at the moment of the interview, he is still in Slovenia because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, he is delighted to stay longer than expected.

How is Slovenia compared to the other places where you have been?

“It’s a surprising place. I was here before because a friend of mine was here when I was in Rotterdam in 2012. I visited him back then. Ljubljana is a surprising city; you can expect that. Some say Graz is like a small Vienna and Ljubljana is like a small Graz. It’s quite a Germanized and charming city. You end up always discovering new things about the city that keep surprising you more and more.”

According to Miguel, Ljubljana is a stunning city. What surprised him the most is the combination of cosmopolitan and provincial feelings. “This combination I find particularly fascinating. It is because everyone knows everyone. It is a tiny city. It is the smallest capital in Europe, even Bratislava is larger, and 60,000 inhabitants here are students coming from all parts of Slovenia to go to university here. That is also what keeps the city young.”

Ljubljana is the only real cosmopolitan city in Slovenia and, although he likes a lot of other places, Miguel still thinks Ljubljana is the best city to live in Slovenia. “I also like Izola very much; it’s my number one city on the coast. Maribor is not really my cup of tea because of the mood of the city. In the end, Ljubljana is the place to be. You can see more, there are more foreigners, and you can easily form a circle of friends if you are not speaking the local language at the beginning.”

Miguel also talked about Ljubljana’s ideal location. Here, you are close to the sea, the lakes, the forests, and the mountains. It is a paradise for mountain climbers and skiers. “It is also small and friendly; you could easily have a chat with some of the most important persons around, like popular singers, for example. It’s not like that in the US or France, where it is more difficult to meet such figures. Everything here is within easy reach; there is also a very good transportation system in Slovenia. It’s an enjoyable place to live.”

Slovenia is a small country but with a lot of diversity. For example, with the dialects that are like different languages. Miguel particularly enjoyed that there is so much diversity that: “people from the Prekmurje region might not understand people from another region and vice versa.”

Speaking about culture, he also explained that there is a lot of different religions evolving in Slovenia even though people are mostly Catholics. “Slovenia is one of the whitest countries in the world, but there are still 200 priests from the African Brasilian religion here. There are a lot of different cultures. The country is deeply catholic, but sometimes you find surprising things, like these priests in the mountains, and that’s amazing.”

Would you consider Slovenia as a place to settle down?

“I don’t know, it would be nice, but I would personally probably go to Italy, France, or Portugal. I think Slovenians are very different from us. I like the country very much to have a good life and travel, but it is very different from our Latin culture.”

Advice for Your Slovenian Life

Since Miguel has been living here for three years now, he has a few recommendations for people thinkings about relocating to Slovenia. The first advice is to get a car. “Something great is that the roads are amazing. The first thing to do here is to buy a car. It’s fantastic to travel here, and it’s so easy. If you ever feel bored you can get in your car and go to Italy, Austria or Croatia in the same one hour drive. You just say: “let’s go to Trieste!”

We also asked him about transportation in the country. “The railway system is not so good, that’s what I heard since I never used it personally, but there is a pretty good bus system to go to other countries called Flixbus.” Miguel does not use public transportation often because he has a car. “I like driving here so much that I never tried intercity buses, but I like the bus system of Ljubljana, for example. You buy your Urbana card, and you can go everywhere; it is straightforward to understand. Also, everybody uses bicycles. It’s easy to go around with bikes.” The only thing I would consider necessary for the future would be to invest more in the country’s airports and increase airline connections.

What do you think about Slovenia as a place to raise children?

“My son was almost four when we arrived in Slovenia, and he did not have a good experience with school here (as a diplomat we usually use the private school system to make it easier for kids to adapt to the school programs every time we move from a place to another). However, despite my personal experience, I feel like Slovenia is one of the best countries to raise children because people are very attached to their families. There are many natural spaces and things to do, places for children to play. I was not lucky, but this is still a good place to raise children. Women also get one year of maternity leave; men get about two weeks. Also, it is an extremely safe country.”

How are the incomes in Slovenia, compared to Brasil, for example?

The average income is very high. It is the highest of former Yugoslavia, and of course, it is much higher than in Brasil, but you cannot really compare.”

If you are into new technologies, maybe Slovenia is the country made for you. According to Miguel: “Technology is one of the hopes of Slovenia.” They are very interested in new technologies. “It seems here it was invented the Bitcoin. For sure, they have invented a very successful application called Talking Tom. I think Slovenia is very advanced in IT, and the sector of Artificial Intelligence as well.”

Investing in technology is a way to keep young people in the country. “Here there are only 2 million people, and since there are not enough jobs for everyone, this is a way to keep people here. Slovenia has a great Internet and connections, so here people can work easily with technology.”

Miguel’s advice would be to read the book “Slovenology: Living and Traveling in the World’s Best Country,” written by an American immigrant called Noah Carney. According to Miguel, the author hilariously speaks about Slovenia. It is ideal for getting to know the country before moving.

Discover Other Stories

Miguel’s journey is proof that Slovenia is a great country to live in, and Ljubljana an ideal city to discover, even when you have already seen most of the world. Although it is not Miguel’s final destination and not the perfect place for him, he enjoyed his stay in Slovenia and would recommend it to you too!

Let’s keep reading and discovering together more and more stories of the numerous expats who live in Slovenia and their vision of this beautiful country!

Thank you for reading our article. We do our best to provide you with first-hand information about Slovenia and its wonders. We know we are not infallible though. In case you encounter any mistakes in our articles or you have any suggestions, please contact us. Let us know how we could improve. It will help us to keep our information updated and deliver to readers the most valuable possible content.  We will gladly take your suggestions!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *