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Expatriate life in Bratislava





Trends in expatriation

During the early 1980's expatriation was dominated by professionals sent by their employers to foreign subsidiaries or headquarters for long-term posts. By the end of the 1990's, however, globalization had created a new world market for skilled professionals. With the cost of intercontinental travel significantly decreasing and a booming economic uptown, employes could afford to turn to recruitment on a global scale if they could not find the right talent in the local market.

This has created a different type of expatriate where commuter and short-term assignments are becoming common, and gradually are replacing the traditional long term. Private motivation is becoming more relevant than company assignment. Families might often stay behind when work opportunities amount to months instead of years. The cultural impact of this trend is more significant. Traditional corporate expatriates did not integrate and commonly only associated with the elite of the country they were living in. Modern expatriates form a global middle class with shared work experiences in Multi-national Corporation and working and living the global financial and economical centers. Integration is incomplete but strong cultural influences are transmitted. Middle class expatriates contain many re-migrants from emigration movements one or two generations earlier.

In general, expat life in Bratislava is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Whilst it can take some time to adjust to a different culture, and in most cases a different language, the majority of ex-pats who relocate to Bratislava are more than satisfied with their choice, with 71% choosing to remain in the area longer than anticipated, according to a recent poll. In general, the relaxed atmosphere of the old town, full of sunny street cafes, picturesque courtyards and plenty of historical attractions, when combined with the prosperous new areas of town and the bustling nightlife and culture one will find around every corner of the city centre during the evenings provide the newcomer with a wealth of opportunities to enjoy and integrate into local life.

Of course one of the most effective of ways to integrate into Slovakian life is to learn Slovak, and there are several language schools which provide anyone wishing to relocate to Bratislava with the chance to learn the language. However, whilst it is undoubtably a good idea to learn at least the basics of Slovak, it is also the case that many people nowadays are able to converse in English, meaning that expats find it possible to get around the city with absolutely no problem, even if they're not able to speak the native language.

Overall, although the prospect of moving to a foreign may seem risky and in some ways rather intimidating, the friendly nature of the Slovakian people towards foreigners and the increasing diversification of the general population in terms of ethnicity means that now is an ideal time to move to the area, be it for business, personal or educational reasons.

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