The Public Transport Timisoara consists of extensive network of trams, trolleybuses, buses, designated cycling paths, taxis and very efficient network of Uber drivers. Most Romanians from Timisoara, especially those in their 20’s and 30’s speak good English and are very helpful. The good thing about Romania is that you don’t feel intimidated or somehow discriminated here just because you speak British or American type of English (like in some other countries). Speaking to the locals is often the only way to get the needed information about public transportation in this city. The public signage is rarely available in other than the Romanian language. Fortunately, this changes as the local authorities started preparing Timisoara to be the European Capital of Culture in 2021. (more…)
Having just arrived from London to escape the rainy cold winters of the UK to spend the winter skiing in the Austrian Alps, I was lucky enough to move straight into an apartment found by a friend. Therefore, being blissfully unaware of the puzzling property renting process in Austria.
Albeit this was no ordinary apartment, it was one of the oldest buildings in the town and was collapsing to the floor. The owner was planning on getting it demolished that meant we managed to get it for steal. We were working nights and skiing during the day so it was only a place to lay our heads. She managed to get a great deal on a six months by month basis. This is highly unusual and admittedly I took the property renting process in Austria, for granted. Property rental prices can vary depending on where you live but cities are generally more expensive. (more…)
Since 2011 Austria has introduced the Red White Red Card which allows workers who meet certain criteria from non-EU countries, to live and work in Austria with the intention of permanently settling here.
This is the journey of my good friend’s Lou from Australia. Lou was one of the lucky ones to apply for the Red-White-Red Card successfully – however, this was not without the usual Austrian bureaucratic adversity.
Often known around town as “Tattoo Lou” as her entire arm is covered with a tattoo of the indigenous-to-Australia Eucalyptus tree. I found it intriguing that someone with this type of obvious patriotism would go through all the trouble of applying for the rights to live and work in Austria permanently. If Lou came from any EU country she would be able to live and work freely in Austria. (more…)
Cost of living in Sweden is rather simillar to what you’re used to in UK. Except for groceries, which are much more expensive and rent prices which are significantly lower in Sweden.
Buying a house in Sweden
In 2013, Sweden’s housing market recorded its strongest performance in three years, although economic growth was slow. In Sweden there are no legal restrictions for foreigners buying property.
It can be easy and fast to buy in Sweden; the process of registration may take as little as five weeks to complete. Usually a broker’s or an agent’s services suffices. It may not be necessary to involve a lawyer.(more…)
Learning Swedish might be usefull for establishing a social life in Sweden. It is the official language, spoken by the vast majority of the population. It is similar to both Danish and Norwegian.
There are five minority languages, including Finnish and Sami, which is spoken in the far North. English is widely spoken, followed by German and French. In fact, Sweden has been ranked “best in the World” at speaking English at least two years running, but they will appreciate your efforts at speaking their language. The great thing is that if you have children they do seem able to absorb languages easily, and unless your Swedish is very good, they will soon be translating for you.
Social Life in Sweden
Making new friends can be challenging, and the Swedes have a reputation that they can be hard to get to know, yet they are probably the world’s best non-native speakers of English. However, if you can learn at least some Swedish it will be a lot easier to engage in conversations and discuss topical events. Take a course or find a language partner who wants to learn English, and you have a new friend as well as some Swedish. Join one of the sporting groups. The Swedes have a healthy respect for the coffee break and cake. Ice hockey is very popular, and team sports make friends.(more…)
Driving in Sweden is not the preferred way to get around, since public transport is heavily subsidised and very efficient. There are 24 regional networks and an over-system where one ticket is valid on both buses and trains. In the south there are express buses where you do not have to reserve a seat, and there may be discounts for seniors and students. Buses and trains are often well integrated, with little difference in cost. Although the trains are fast and efficient, there are many areas which they cannot reach in the north. And – altough seldomly – it also happens that during the winter the most remote areas are considerably less accessible. In such instances it might be a good idea to try to use a well established pre-booking taxi service, which also comes with a reduced fee. These can be collected at the taxi departure point, and the taxi firm has to have an arrangement with the local council.
Driving in Sweden
Driving in Sweden is a delight. There are some things worth knowing though.(more…)
Before describing the state of health care in Sweden, you should know that, if you plan to retire to Sweden, make sure you have sufficient funds, as it is quite an expensive place to live. High taxes on your income and pension contribute to that state. You also have to budget for private health insurance. You have to have an income at least as great as the Swedish pension (around 6 850 SEK (£620.50)) per month by law.
Sweden has double taxation agreements with the UK so you will not be taxed twice, provided you ensure that the tax offices are aware of your circumstances. You can arrange to have your pension paid directly into your Swedish bank account, and still benefit from the increases as if you still lived in Britain.
Contact HMRC and your pension providers well before you leave the UK, or if you are working in Sweden ensure you know the pension conditions appertaining to your work.
Health Care in Sweden
Swedish healthcare is excellent, with parameters like infant mortality falling faster than in the UK.(more…)
When you’re moving to Sweden from The UK you may find it quite odd to observe a halloween setting during Easter. Folklore states that Easter was the time when witches stole the household brooms and flew to the (imaginary) Blue Mountain (somewhere in Germany) to consort with the devil. Now, children dress up as Easter witches. They paint their cheeks red and wear headscarves, then go from door to door with a copper kettle, asking for treats.
Sweden joined the EU in 1995 and has been a member of the Schengen area since 1986. The capital city is Stockholm and the currency is the krona (SEK) (£1=SEK 11.07 in May 2014).
In the south, the land is agricultural, there being more forests the further north you go. There are at last 17 000 indigenous Samis, who rely on reindeer for an income, in the north.
Moving to Sweden from The UK with Pets
Pets require their own pet passport, microchips, rabies vaccinations within 1 year, but not closer than 21 days from departure, and up-to-date routine vaccinations. You can email the pet’s helpdesk for details:firstname.lastname@example.org(more…)
If you exclude the popular tourist destinations in the season, you’ll find that the cost of living in Spain is much lower than in the UK. To compare Barcelona and London:
Consumer prices are around 30% lower in Barcelona.
Rent prices are nearly 70% lower in Barcelona.
Groceries are around 20% cheaper in Barcelona.
Apartment prices are around 80% lower in Barcelona.
And altough properties seem rather affordable, keep in mind that legal regulations in Spain are an adequate counter-weight for that.
Buying a House in Spain
Buying a house in Spain appears to be quite straightforward — but you must be prepared for the expenses — translator, notary, lawyers and taxes. You must also be aware of the notorious Valencia Land Grab Law, where the government seizes land from owners of property, without compensation. The idea was to facilitate low cost housing — but the result has been catastrophic for many British expats. (more…)
Learning national language may be one of crucial points of diving into the social life in Spain. The only language with official status throughout Spain is Spanish or Castilian. Various other languages have co-official status in specific parts of Spain and there are also a number of other unofficial languages and dialects spoken. Nearly everyone can speak Castilian either as a first (89%) or second language. For around 9% of Spanish people Catalan or Valencian is the first language, Galician is spoken by 5%, and Basque by 1%. All these have publishing and media interest and in the cases of Catalan and Galician, they are the main languages used by the Catalan and Galician regional governments and local administrations.
There are also many dialects around the country — but as almost everyone can speak and understand Castilian they can communicate quite easily with each other.(more…)
Driving can become your favorite mean of transportation in Spain. There is spectacular scenery and little, or no congestion, but speed limits often change.
Don’t even consider drink driving, unless you like the thought of incarceration in a Spanish prison. The blood alcohol level is 0.5 per mg ( which equates to one small beer), dropping to 0.1 mg for drivers who passed their test within two years.
Documents you MUST carry
Insurance certificate — obligatory at least for third party
Once you are registered to work in Spain and make National Insurance contributions, you’ll be entitled to state-run healthcare on the same basis as a Spanish national. For further information, visit the Seguridad Social website (http://www.seg-social.es/Internet_6/index.htm) which gives up-to-date information, appropriate for you.
If you’re a beneficiary of a UK state retirement pensions in Spain or long-term incapacity benefit, you may be entitled to state-funded healthcare paid for by the UK. You’ll need to apply for form S1 from the International Pension Centre (tel: 0191 218 7777). You need to register your S1 with Spanish authorities. This entitles you to an EHIC issued by the UK. Which in turn allows access to medical care in other EEA countries, including Britain.(more…)