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Things to Know Before Moving to Greece

 In Living Abroad

In case you are sick and tired of your cold town, long winters and rainy days, you are probably toying with the idea of moving to another country, perhaps somewhere near the sea, where you can enjoy warm summers and breathtaking beaches. What country crosses your mind when you read this? Is it Greece? If that’s so, you are making the right choice, because that’s exactly what life in Greece looks like. Not only does the cradle of Western civilization provide you with the opportunity to enjoy the beauties of nature, but it also has rich history, culture, heritage, traditions… In other words, you will most certainly just love living there.

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Basic Facts about Greece

Before you move to Greece, you should probably learn more about the country that is going to be your new home. Let’s start with some basic facts and then we will move on to tell you something about Greek social etiquette and what you should expect when you start living there.

As you probably already know, Greece is located on the south of the Balkan Peninsula, and it is boarded by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Ionian Sea to the west and Aegean Sea to the east. Its capital and largest city is Athens, which is at the same time one of the greatest tourist attractions of the country. Being a high-income economy, Greece offers a high quality of life. The climate is Mediterranean, which means that winters are mainly mild and rainy, while summers are hot and dry. As previously mentioned, the country boasts regions of natural beauties, but there are also numerous man-made historic landmarks that you would probably enjoy visiting, such as the Parthenon in Athens.

Now that you’ve learned about most fundamental information about Greece, let us move on to some more specific facts that will come in handy to know once you move there.

Health Care

The first thing that you should bear in mind if you are even considering living in Greece is that their health care system is not that good. In fact, some even say that it may be one of the worst ones in Europe. However, that shouldn’t discourage you moving to Greece. The important thing is that you are aware of this fact so that you can do something about it before you pack your boxes and leave your hometown. Namely, all you need to do is get a private healthcare insurance and you there should be no problems in case you need to see a doctor for whatever reason.

Paying with Cash

When it comes to payment, keep in mind that Greeks prefer paying with cash, so if you come from a country where credit cards are predominantly used, don’t be surprised if they refuse to accept the credit card in a restaurant or a café. It might take some time until you get used to it, but don’t worry, ATMs are really easy to find anywhere in Greece, you just need to remember that you should always have cash in your wallet.

Languages

As for communication with the locals, Greek is, of course, the official language, but most residents speak other languages, as well, especially English. However, they will really appreciate it if they notice that you have put some effort in learning at least some everyday used Greek, so try to remember some of the simple phrases such as kalimera (good morning) and kalispera (good afternoon). Of course they don’t expect you to talk at length about philosophy and similar stuff, but some most frequently used polite phrases go a long way. So, use your knowledge of English at the beginning, but try to pick up some Greek as well.

Superstitions

Furthermore, keep in mind that Greeks are highly superstitious and they expect you to show some respect for that. One of the best known things they believe in is the Evil Eye, which is supposed to protect you from someone’s jealousy and bad energy. Another, more peculiar thing that many Greeks believe in is that bat bone brings good luck. Don’t be surprised if someone has a bit of the bone in their wallet or a purse, they simply consider it lucky. A symbol of happy times, fertility and prosperity in Greek folklore is pomegranate, so they often bring one when they pay a visit on New Year’s Eve and smash it on the threshold. Besides the evil eye, Greeks also believe that garlic has the power to prevent evil things from happening.

Finally, once you move to Greece and get to know the people there, remember the following list of most common dos and don’ts.

DOs and DON’Ts

  • Bring a gift when someone invites you to their house for dinner. It doesn’t have to be much, it’s just important that you do not come empty-handed.
  • Keep an eye contact when you are talking to someone. Don’t look around if you’re in the middle of a conversation with someone, they might think you are being rude.
  • Show some interest in their rich culture and traditions, they really appreciate that. Not only will your interest in Greek heritage mean a lot to your new friends, but it will also provide you with the unique opportunity to learn about some less known details about their customs and history. Let’s face it, who can explain it better than the Greeks themselves?
  • Don’t thrust the palm of your hand in front of someone’s face, it’s considered extremely rude. Don’t do it even as a joke.
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