The European country of Belarus has seen a lot of changes over the last few decades and is becoming an attractive place for people to move to. The country is host to some amazing architecture and rich cultural history and offers a way of life very different from that of Western Europe. A friendly and clean country with lots to see and do, moving to Belarus could be the change you’re seeking for yourself, your family, and your career.
Belarus is home to some fascinating World Heritage Sites including the Struve Geodetic Arc and the Mir Castle Complex. The city of Minsk is the location of the Belarus Opera and Ballet Theater, with regular shows for music and dance lovers. The country’s museums and galleries showcase the history and culture of the Belarusian people and make a great day out with the family.
There are also lots of natural sights to see, with a beautiful landscape of countryside, forestry, highlands, and towns. The traditional feel of Belarus and its dedication to an earlier way of life make it a relaxing and enjoyable place to be. If you’re considering a move to Belarus, you’ll be kept busy as there’s always something to see and do.
Climate in Belarus
Belarus is a mild country for much of the year, with warm summers that tend to reach about 17-18°C. The Eastern European climate has plenty of summer rainfall as well, so prepare for changeable weather all year round. July tends to be the hottest month of the year, and also the driest. In the winter, you’ll need to wrap up against the cold. Heavy snow is very common and the temperature can drop to as little as 8°C. The western side of Belarus has warmer temperatures, but there are parts of the country that see sub-zero temperatures for up to a third of the year. Capital city Minsk can be very cold and icy during the winter months.
QUALITY OF LIFE IN MINSK
Minsk is one of the top ten city matches for 7.2% of Teleport users.
Costs of living in Minsk are in the least expensive 10 per cent of all 248 Teleport cities. Average living expenses are significantly lower compared to other cities, especially in the housing market. Moving to Minsk will very likely decrease your daily costs of living.
Pros and Cons of Moving to Belarus
Maybe your significant other lives here, or you were offered a dream job, or you love travelling and unconventional life decisions. Maybe you were kicked out of your parent’s house in Miami and had no one else to go to except for your Belarusian granny. Life is complicated and unpredictable, after all.
Cons of moving to Belarus
If you’re moving to Belarus, you’ve got to speak Belarusian or Russian. There’s no other option. It’s not like Thailand where everyone seems to know English despite its very different culture and economic status. In Belarus, you won’t get the simplest things done without Belarusian or Russian, neither will you find people on the street to help you out unless you’re very lucky.
- Payments & taxes
More and more people nowadays call themselves digital nomads. They travel around the world, work from their laptops from any place that has internet access. Belarus is no exception. If you’re one of these people, prepare to face some issues. Your usual methods of earning, and transferring money, and paying taxes might not work in Belarus. Locals can’t open accounts overseas, it can be hard to do bank transfers, some payment services such as PayPal allow only limited operations, and others like Transfer wise don’t work here at all. There’s also no tax treaty with some countries, so you might have to pay double tax.
This one has two sides. Primary and secondary education isn’t bad in Belarus. Curriculums may include weird and unpleasant things such as ideological groups that children are asked to join (keep in mind that they can’t be forced to join by law), but all in all, children will be taught all the same subjects on more or less the same level as in an American high school, on A-levels and GCSE, and similar programs.
Belarus only joined Bologna Process in 2015 and is still in the process of bringing universities up to world standards. This means that the Belarusian diploma won’t be accepted in most countries. Very few Belarusian universities are rated in the world university rankings and none have made it to the top 100. However, education is cheap compared to that in the developed countries, and there’s a good chance of getting tertiary education for free if you’ve got Belarusian passport.
- Personal rights
Belarus is rated at 61 out of 100 on personal rights in the Social Progress Index next to Vietnam and Kuwait. In comparison, the U.S. is 92, the UK – 95, Germany – 97 (compare countries here to get an idea). Political rights and freedom of expression are at the “red” level, and so is access to independent media. Unlike in the developed countries, you can’t always have your political views expressed (see freedom of expression rating here), and you aren’t likely to get much when protesting on the streets.
Another problematic aspect of living in Belarus is a serious lack of inclusiveness. The country is rated 58 out of 100 in the Social Progress Index. Gays and lesbians aren’t accepted on the governmental level and discrimination and violence against minorities are high. These are the problems that have been pointed out by people who’ve moved here or by the world’s rankings. And now it’s time to move to predictable and less predictable advantages of moving to Belarus.
Pros of moving to Belarus
- Cost of living
The cost of living in Belarus is quite cheap compared to the first world countries. Renting, housing and communal services, transport, petrol – all the main expenditure are much, much cheaper. Medicine, including dentistry, is free for citizens/residents or cheaper in comparison to even Russia; the same, as you recall, goes for education. Surely, the average income is also small ($500 a month officially, $250-300 a month unofficially), but if you’ve got savings made in any of the developed countries, or any other sources of income outside of Belarus, your quality of life will actually get better when you move to Belarus.
Belarus might not be the best country for frequent travellers due to the absence of low-cost airlines, but truth be told, it’s still a good one in terms of its geographical location.
A good number of countries can be reached by car or after a night on a bus. That’s not something the U.S., UK, or Australia can boast!
Minsk isn’t a small city, yet it’s nothing compared to the capitals or just large cities of the first world countries. This means, it’s easier and faster to move around the city, and you can’t possibly get into a situation where you need two hours to get to work. Transportation is good, modern, and keeps improving. There’s also much less traffic compared to cities of the developed countries. The same goes for regional cities, although, of course, infrastructure there is not as developed as in Minsk.
Transportation within the country is ridiculously cheap. It’s completely subsidized by the government, as opposed to that of many developed countries (e.g., the UK, USA, Germany, or Switzerland). For example, taking a train for two hours in the UK will cost you around $50 (more if you’re going to London or through London). In Belarus, it will cost you around $3.
This may sound counterintuitive, but there’re many advantages of Belarusian medicine compared to other countries. First, it got 98 out of 100 in medical care in Social Progress Index: same or almost same to the UK, U.S., Germany, and Australia. Second, it’s organized better in many ways – you can choose to get free or paid medical care, while in the developed countries it’s one or the other, and it’s not working that well.
In Belarus, you seem to have more choice. You still wait, not even that long if you’re going for frees medical care, and you make an appointment with paid services if you’d rather pay and save time. You can see a specialized doctor just because you don’t feel well. If you don’t like the doctor that free services provide, you can always go to as many different doctors in paid services as you like.
- Leisure time
If we’re talking about Minsk, its entertainment, or rather its activities sector isn’t worse than that of big cities of the first world countries. True, you don’t get Broadway shows and world-class operas, but in reality, how many people visit these places on a regular basis?
Yet, if you’ve got a hobby that you want to keep up after moving here, or if you want to get a new one, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to satisfy your most niche interests. Anything from joining a group of Indian dancers to practising canoeing and mountaineering is possible.