Slovenia is a beautiful country in the center of Europe with plenty of landscapes to see and activities to try. It is not a well-known country, which makes it perfect to discover and get brand new opportunities. For the past few years, many people have been moving to Slovenia, especially for work, and it is Nargiz’s case.
Nargiz was living in Azerbaijan. She got promoted and sent by her company to Slovenia. Moved to Slovenia for work, her journey is one of many immigrants’ in Slovenia. Discovering her story will help you decide whether Slovenia is the best place for you to relocate.
Nargiz gave us her honest opinion on Slovenia, upsides, and downsides. If you are thinking about moving to Slovenia, take a look at her advice and thoughts on this small country in the heart of Europe. Let’s take a look at Nargiz’s journey together.
Nargiz’s Journey in Slovenia
As of now, November 2020, Nargiz has been living in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, for three years already. She is a sales operation manager in a multinational pharma company and was promoted from Azerbaijan to Slovenia. Many foreigners living in Slovenia came for work and it is also Nargiz’s case.
Moving from one country to another, especially when they are far from each other, can be difficult. The year Nargiz moved to Slovenia, she went back to Azerbaijan every three months. After that, her trips went back down to twice a year only. This year, because of the CoVid 19 pandemic, the only possibility for her to go back and visit her relatives in Azerbaijan will be New Year.
Living far away from your family and friends can be hard at first, but eventually, you will settle in the new country and it will get easier. Nargiz explains: “At first, it was really not easy, but when you start to make some friends, find a significant other, it easily gets better.”
When you move to a new country, it is important to meet people. It can be easier to meet other immigrants, but it is not always possible. Even though she works in a global company, most of Nargiz’s coworkers are Slovenians. It can be complicated in the beginning, but this experience also helped her meet many local people thru work.
“One of the biggest difficulties when moving here is to learn Slovenian”, she says. Nargiz tried learning the language for a few months by attending the Slovenian classes organized by the office for immigrants. Slovenia institutions offer courses of Slovenian language to newcomers and foreigners looking for a job in the country or to the ones who, as Nargiz, move here on employment relocation.
These classes were free, but the schedule was too much for Nargiz. She says: “it was difficult since the schedule of three hours three times a week after work was complicated, it was too much for me, and I eventually I just gave up.”
After this experience trying to learn Slovene, Nargiz understood people can survive also without speaking perfectly the language, especially if are not meant to stay for a long time. “It can be a problem later on if you are working with Slovenians for example, but it is not extremely important”.
How long will you stay in Slovenia, Nargiz? “I don’t know how long I will stay here but at the moment I have not any plans to go back to Azerbaijan. I don’t exclude totally this could even happen at some point, though. It will also depend on work”
For the time being Nargiz told us she feels like not fully integrated into the country’s life yet. She wouldn’t call herself a Slovenian, but still is an immigrant. However, Slovenia became her home since her life is going on here.
What would help her integrate more would be having more Slovenian friends, but it is not easy. “I think am open to everyone, but I still perceive that locals are not so very open to me. I don’t think they know this, they do not mean to. So I ended up with having more of an international circle of acquaintances and friends”
Living in Slovenia
“I think working in Slovenia is okay, but it all depends on the job you have. In terms of salary, I think the average salary is not that high, and average people find themself really average here. You must be a doctor or work in a really good company to have a good payroll.”
About the healthcare system, Nargiz is actually not totally satisfied. “I don’t really like the organization here, I think there is a lack of medical staff.” According to her, there are not enough medical workers. “The fact that in Slovenia healthcare is of free access it is actually nice, but we pay quite a lot of mandatory health insurance included in the taxes and the delays for the appointments with doctors are frequent. It might get complicated in case of an emergency. Maybe competitiveness would help.”
As far as real estate is concerned, Nargiz is renting a flat in Ljubljana. She thinks it can be quite expensive to buy one, especially in the capital. “It could be quite complicated, you have to be careful and compare carefully the prices as they differ a lot from area to area.”
Nargiz’s Advice for Moving to Slovenia
Overall, if you want to move with your family, come here to educate your children, and have a peaceful life, Slovenia is a great country. “You just need to have some money or find a good job here and you will be able to enjoy this green and nice country.” However, if you are young and looking for an exciting country and a buzzing life, then maybe it is not the country for you.
If you are thinking about moving to Slovenia, be aware of what it is like to live in a small country with small cities. Indeed, Slovenia has 2 million inhabitants, and Ljubljana only 300,000. Especially if you come from a big city, you will need to get used to a slower life in a smaller city. But don’t worry: “If you like Slovenia and if you smile to others, then Slovenians will like you and smile back.”
According to Nargiz, “if you have friends or a significant other here, it can be very nice living in Slovenia.” And it’s great to have a car of your own so you can easily travel and visit the entire country every weekend to a new different place with a new different landscape and environment. And possibilities are endless, for each season. However, “If you are alone and don’t speak Slovene then it is more difficult to enjoy it fully.”
The biggest challenge here in Nargiz’s opinion is to find someone valuable to share your life path with. The country is small and there is a lack of choice (laugh) of opportunities in this specific area (keep laughing).
“One of the biggest differences I found between people in Slovenia and people in Azerbaijan is that people are kind of less welcoming, maybe. In Azerbaidjan, when we see that a foreigner is alone, we would be more supportive and invite him to our home or to travel together. Here, I still feel there is a sort of distance, even though people are still nice and smiling to you.”
If you are moving to Slovenia, doing it thru your employer can be a great option. Nargiz explains that her company took care of all the paperwork. “I was lucky. It took some time for me but it was easy. I think it might be complicated if you do it alone.” However, keep in mind that the paperwork is almost the same everywhere in Europe if you are coming from a non-European country.
Nargiz would you take the same decision if you could start over again and move to Slovenia? “I do not regret my choice although moving to any other country is complicated. I really enjoy living here.”
Discover Other Stories
Nargiz’s experience keeps comforting us in the fact that it’s nice and worth living in Slovenia for a long time, even though it is a small country.
Moving to another country is always complicated because you will find yourself far from your family relatives and the main circle of acquaintances and friends. This is why it is important to meet new people, learn the local language, and adapt to the country’s uses and customs as fast as possible.
Thank you to Nargiz, who showed us that is perfectly possible to integrate and live quite a good and happy life in Slovenia.
If you are still not sure about moving to Slovenia, keep reading other interviews, and discover more stories of numerous other expats and their vision of Slovenia.