5/5 - (1 vote)

So you read many expat forums about Georgia’s thriving expat community and are now considering to relocate here. Wonderful ! But there are many factors you need to keep in mind. And many of them are the kinds of things that expats frequently overlook and then struggle with during their stay in Georgia.

Here are the top 5 things you should know based on my personal experience of living here as an expat over the past 3months.

1. Language

Unlike, many expat friendly countries like Singapore, Philippines or even the Middle East; the primary language in Georgia is Kartuli (Georgian) & Russian. So if do not speak either of these languages be prepared to struggle your way through for the first few couple of months. The younger generation still manages to speak a bit of English however majority of the population do not.

In a situation like this, be prepared to learn the basic of Georgian language to get with the local vendors, people at supermarkets or even your cab drivers. And for the rest of it; Google translate can really help.

2. Renting an apartment

If you are planning to move to any new country, rent is one of the first few things anyone checks. Yes, that is correct rent in Georgia is rather reasonable as suppose in comparison to many other countries. However, these prices no longer exist. With the recent war situation in Ukraine, many Russians, Bel-Russians have moved to Georgia and the prices have gone up like never before.

For a decent size apartment; be prepared to pay anywhere close to $500 and above. If you are lucky, you might be able to find at a reasonable price but further away from the center. Areas such as Vake, Vera can cost you anywhere from $700 or above which is absolutely insane.

Also, interesting to note, house sharing is not very common. Expats either prefer renting an apartment to themselves, with their partners or friends.

3. Finding a job

Let’s just say unless you speak Georgian or, at the absolute least, good Russian, finding a job won’t be easy. Most expats that live here either work remotely or for a international firm that’s located here in Georgia.

Even if you do find a local company, the pay will almost certainly not be sufficient to maintain “western” living standards. Georgia’s average salary in 2020 was only 1,191 GEL (about $380), and despite the low cost of living, it will be difficult to make ends meet.

However; I gotta be honest here; if you are an expat living here on western wages you can enjoy all things fine and live life king size.

4. Food

The local food of Georgia is absolutely delicious. You can get a variety of meat and vegetarian meals to suit your taste. Some of the most popular dishes are Khachapuri, Khinkali, Badrijani Nigvzit which are definitely to try. With that said; its not ideal to be having this meal every day as it can be quite heavy. So find the right balance between the food you eat or be prepared to gain a few kgs; like I did in my first few weeks.

Supermarkets such as Carrefour, Agrohub pretty much have everything you need to cook a decent meal. Although, with that said, as a single expat I prefer picking most of my meal from outside as its more budget friendly.  You pay for your meal; as per the weight of the food as suppose to readymade meals in most countries.

5. Local Georgian people

People of Georgia (Sakarvelo’s) are really warm, nice and welcoming of expats as long as you are well behaved. Learning their language, practicing with them, drinking with them is really the best way to get to know them. As an expat, you can really choose to mingle with other expats and live in your tiny bubble. Or you can broaden your horizon to have a mixing of expat and local friends and really become a part of the Georgian community.

Once you are welcomed into their niche of friends; be ready to be welcomed to a lot of supra’s (a traditionally Georgian feast) which can be to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or pretty much anything. Georgian’s don’t need a reason to have a supra; they love people and their wine; and they pretty much celebrate without a reason.

If this looks a good enough reason to move; I’d say get packing and make your way to Georgia. There’s no country which can offer you the best of the city life whilst escaping into the mountains in no time.