Slovenia is a small country nestled in the heart of Europe. Although it has a small territory, it also has a rich culture and a diverse nature. Slovenia is the ideal country to move to for many people, and if you are thinking about relocating somewhere in Europe, maybe it will be the perfect country for you.
Clara is Irish and working in a logistics company. She moved to Slovenia a few years back to live with her Slovenian boyfriend. If you are thinking about moving to Slovenia, her journey will inspire and even persuade you to get here as soon as possible.
We interviewed Clara and asked her about working in Slovenia, what surprised her the most in the country, what she likes and dislikes. Let’s take a look together at what she has to say.
Clara’s Journey to Slovenia
Clara is from Ireland. In Slovenia, Clara works in the logistics sector for a Slovenian logistics company.
She moved here a few years ago to live with her boyfriend. “95% of the reason I came here is for love because my boyfriend is from Ljubljana” Clara did not particularly choose to move to Slovenia, but now that she is here, she is enjoying the country a lot.
“I’m here because of my boyfriend. I moved here because of him, but I like it here. I’m very adventurous. I’ve lived in Italy and Hungary before coming here. It’s complicated to compare places because there are always things I like in each country.”
I like Slovenia because it’s safe and because it’s very liveable. It’s close to the sea and close to the mountains. In one hour by car, you can be in Italy, in Austria, in Croatia.”
Would you describe yourself as an expatriate or an immigrant?
“I would not describe myself with any of these two words. I consider myself a European. I’m very proud of my European identity.”
Living in Slovenia
Clara has been living in Slovenia for several years already. We asked her a few questions concerning the country’s quality of life and what she thinks about it.
Generally, would you recommend coming to Slovenia?
“It depends on what people want and what they are qualified to do. It is not easy to find a job, especially if you are a foreigner, but it depends on your work. If you work in IT, you will have no problem. You can also be a teacher easily. Lots of people I know are teaching in English schools. I’ve got an art degree, and I got lucky to find a job.
Slovenia is a lovely country, and finding a job is the most significant difficulty, although it is still possible. This downside is also why many British and Irish people come to Slovenia just to retire.
“Slovenia is a playground for British retirees. I see people on Facebook groups looking to retire here all the time, especially in the East part of the country. The climate here is great, and people love the continental climate in the East. I also had people in my Slovene course that were retired. It’s hard to learn a new language at that age, and that’s why Slovenia is great for them. People here speak good English.”
What do you think about the healthcare system?
“Luckily, I haven’t had too many experiences. I have my general practitioner here, and if you are paying the contributions, you are okay. What I do not get is the extra insurance that you have to pay. It’s not mandatory but only recommended. The one included in our salary taxes is very basic, and if anything happens to you, it might be you won’t be covered. That’s is why we pay extra insurance.”
If you are not working, you have to pay anyway to be covered, except for some cases, like if you are married, for example. Fortunately, some doctors are very kind and help you even if you have no insurance. “When I was not working at the beginning, I got sick and had to go to the doctor, and it amazed me because he did not make me pay anything. Of course, it is at the discretion of the doctor. After that, I had to go to a specialist, and I had to pay 20 euros, and I was surprised because it is nothing compared to what I would have expected. So, up till now, I only had good experiences, but I think it depends on your doctor, and I got lucky with mine.”
When we interviewed Clara, it was also the time of the coronavirus pandemic. According to her, the government handled the crisis very well. “I think we were lucky to be in Slovenia for the pandemic because it was way worse in a lot of other countries. They dealt well with it. How could anyone predict what would happen? The government here recognized soon that it was getting worse and closed the borders.
The Slovenian Culture and Its Surprises
When Clara arrived in Slovenia was not expecting to discover such a rich and diverse culture. It is a tiny country with a lot of culture, like the 50 different dialects spoken in its regions. Also, people rarely speak only Slovenian. Here everybody speaks at least two languages.
“People in Slovenia speak many languages. I was surprised to meet persons over 40 or 50 that spoke perfect English. It was astounding, and I’m not used to this. They are also open to speaking different languages. I think that television plays a huge role in this because movies are always played in their original version with subtitles.”
Almost everyone speaks perfect English, but speaking other languages is getting rarer with the new generations. “20 years ago, people in Maribor were watching TV in German and people in Nova Gorica and on the coast were watching TV in Italian, for example. There is a generation that speaks very well a lot of languages. Then I met people around 20s, and they do not necessarily speak the languages I expected them to. I do not want to assume they should, but I was a bit surprised. Now, times are changing, and that’s also because of technology. English became the primary second language for everybody.”
We can also notice some cultural leftovers from the old system of Yugoslavia.
According to Clara, it is not always an advantage. “I have the general idea that there are still people who are not proud of what they are doing for working, of what their work is all about. Especially in public services, I found some who are not working happily, which turned in a lack of politeness to the final services user. At least in my personal experience. I found some people feeling quite disinterested. I assume this might be because in the past and when the old system applied, everybody got a secure salary even if they did not really commit to their job. In any case, when you are working in direct contact with customers, you need to have always the right personality, no matter what. ”
Discover Other Stories
Clara moved to Slovenia for her boyfriend and discovered a country she loves, with plenty of culture, people speaking multiple languages, a good healthcare system, and much more. Her journey to Slovenia is one many people have when moving to another country to meet their loved ones.
If you want to discover some more point of view about how it is living in Slovenia, keep reading the other stories of the numerous expats we met who decided Slovenia to be the place to call home.