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Expat Exchange - 10 Things to Know Before Moving to Georgia
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Tbilisi, Georgia


10 Things to Know Before Moving to Georgia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: If you're planning a move to Georgia, here are 10 things expats living there wish they had known before moving to Georgia.

Georgia, a country nestled between Europe and Asia, is a hidden gem that's gaining popularity among expats. With its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes, it's no wonder why more and more people are considering moving to Georgia. But before you pack your bags, here are 10 things you should know about this fascinating country.

1. Understanding the Georgian Language

Georgian is the official language of the country and it's quite unique. It belongs to its own small language family and is written in a beautiful script that's unlike any other. While many Georgians speak English, especially in larger cities, learning some basic Georgian phrases can go a long way in making your transition smoother and more enjoyable.

2. Embracing the Georgian Hospitality

Georgians are known for their warm hospitality. They have a saying, "A guest is a gift from God," and they truly live by it. As an expat, you'll be welcomed with open arms and invited to share in meals, traditions, and everyday life. Don't be surprised if you're invited to a "supra," a traditional Georgian feast, within your first few weeks!

3. Navigating the Georgian Transportation System

Public transportation in Georgia is quite reliable and affordable. The country has a well-developed network of buses, minibuses called "marshrutkas," and trains. Taxis are also readily available and inexpensive. However, be aware that traffic can be chaotic, especially in the capital city of Tbilisi, and driving standards may be different from what you're used to.

4. Enjoying the Georgian Cuisine

Georgian cuisine is a delightful mix of flavors from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The country is famous for its breads, cheeses, and hearty stews. Don't miss out on trying "khachapuri" (cheese-filled bread) and "khinkali" (dumplings). And if you're a wine lover, you're in for a treat. Georgia is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world!

5. Experiencing the Georgian Climate

Georgia has a diverse climate, ranging from subtropical to high alpine to semi-desert, and it can vary greatly depending on where in the country you are. The western part of the country tends to be more humid, while the eastern region is more arid. Winters can be cold, especially in the mountains, but summers are generally warm and sunny.

6. Adapting to the Georgian Cost of Living

One of the biggest draws for expats moving to Georgia is the low cost of living. Housing, food, transportation, and healthcare are all significantly cheaper than in many Western countries. However, salaries are also lower, so it's important to have a realistic budget and financial plan.

7. Appreciating the Georgian Culture and History

Georgia has a rich and diverse cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years. From ancient cave cities to stunning Orthodox churches to vibrant folk music and dance, there's so much to explore and learn. Georgians are fiercely proud of their culture and traditions, and as an expat, you'll have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in this fascinating world.

8. Navigating the Georgian Healthcare System

While Georgia's healthcare system has improved significantly in recent years, it's still not up to par with Western standards. Many expats choose to have private health insurance and go to private clinics where English-speaking doctors are more common. It's also important to note that certain medications may not be readily available, so plan accordingly.

9. Understanding the Georgian Work Culture

Georgians are hard workers and the work culture can be quite formal. Punctuality is valued and business attire is generally conservative. However, Georgians also know how to enjoy life and it's not uncommon for business meetings to be held over a meal or even a glass of wine. Networking and building personal relationships are key to doing business in Georgia.

10. Exploring the Georgian Landscape

From the stunning peaks of the Caucasus Mountains to the beautiful Black Sea coast to the lush vineyards of Kakheti, Georgia's landscape is incredibly diverse. Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or just enjoy a good view, you'll be in awe of the country's natural beauty. Plus, Georgia's compact size makes it easy to explore different regions.

Moving to a new country is always an adventure, and Georgia is no exception. With its unique blend of East and West, tradition and modernity, Georgia offers a truly unique experience for expats. By understanding and embracing the country's language, culture, and way of life, you'll be well on your way to making Georgia your new home.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Tbilisi, Georgia

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