Expat Exchange
Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: With a population of approximately 2.1 million, Bucharest, Romania boasts a low cost of living, a big-city vibe and welcoming Romanians. Once you've lived here for a while, the city may wear on you - the out-of-control drivers, slow and inattentive service and dirty streets. Expats move to Bucharest for work. It's not a city that attracts a lot of tourists, digital nomads and retirees.

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What do I need to know about living in Bucharest?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Bucharest, they said:

"My advice would mostly depend upon the person's situation. Most single men I know love Bucharest. Most families with small children like Bucharest because of the affordability of domestic help. Nursery schools are plentiful and inexpensive. But the life in Bucharest can wear on you. I know many people who have spent their life living overseas and are frustrated by this city. The traffic and the blatant disregard of the rules of the road are frustrating. While the traffic here is no worse than any major city (and certainly not worse than WDC or New York City), the drivers seem to care only about where they need to go and what they need to do to get there. Lane patterns, the color of stop lights, pedestrians in the road, tram tracks all mean nothing to most Romanian drivers. Service in restaurants is unbelievably slow. At some point you get used to being ignored. Trying to find someone to help you in a store with a question you have is impossible. The general attitude of seeming to not care is frustrating. Yet Romanians are genuinely nice people, which seems to contradict all of what I have just said. They have big hearts if you have a relationship with them," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

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What do I need to know before moving to Bucharest?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Bucharest, they said:

"I enjoy the Obor area, because it has all I need, including the biggest grocery market in the city, but has fair prices for the accommodation. I would suggest searching for a place both next to metro stations and parks. Because public transport is doomed to be trappet in rush hour trafic and parks, such as Herastrau, grant an escape from the busy streets, especially for those who come from smaller cities. The far North of the city, above Herastrau park, has the richest area with new apartments. The rest of the city is filled with communistic buildings with simple flats," added another expat who made the move to Bucharest.

How do I find a place to live in Bucharest?

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We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Through aquaintances. Met some international exchange students and kept in contact with them shrough social networks," added another expat in Bucharest.

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Bucharest?

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"I live in a rented flat on the 9th floor. It's a renovated 3-room apartment in a communistic block and I share it with 2 other expat, one of which is a colleague of mine, the other - a firend of a colleague. It's quite typical to share apartments, because most expats work in a more or less international environment with other expat folks. Also, compared to food prices at a market, for example, I find apartments to be disproportionately expensive. Especially when renting a studio," added another expat in Bucharest.

What is the average cost of housing in Bucharest?

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If you are thinking about moving to Bucharest, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The housing costs are a little higher than in Latvia. The cost for a studio is the same. But a multiple room apartment outside the city center in Riga should be a bit cheeper. Even if there isn't a big difference in the price, the salary rates vary a bit more for the disadvantage of Bucharest... We pay a monthly fee of 2100 lei - 470 Euro for rent+utilities for a simple 3 room apartment between the downtown and outskirts. Simple studios are around around 250 - 350 Euro," remarked another expat who made the move to Bucharest.

How do I meet people in Bucharest?

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When we asked people living in Bucharest about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"The International Women's Association is a great place to meet female expats from all walks of life, including from the host country. IWA is extremely involved in charity work and hosts an annual bazaar in December, which is the highlight of the organization's year. Moms with small children have several baby groups from which to choose, both in the suburbs by the American school and in the city," mentioned another expat in Bucharest.

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What should I bring when moving to Bucharest?

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People living in Bucharest were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"WISH I HAD BROUGHT: More books in my language (there are none here), computer mouse (spending more time alone made me use my laptop more), ice skates. WISH I HAD LEFT AT HOME: Creams and all those body care products, A dress that I hoped to get into again after miraculously loosing some weight, suit," added another expat in Bucharest.

Will I be able to find a job in Bucharest?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Bucharest, they reponded:

"Bucharest is mainly filled with affiliates of large, international companies. French is a popular language here, it is tought in scools. If you also take into accout the low labour costs, you get a perfect arial for supportive affiliates, such as for IT and customer support," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

"Romania's major industries are furniture and beer. Renault has a major plant that produces Dacias and the new Logan. Most expats in Bucharest are with major European corporations with smaller operations in Romania. Several NGOs have offices here--but for the accompanying spouse, chances of work on the economy at western wages are few and far between I am sorry to say," added another expat in Bucharest.

What is life like in Bucharest?

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When we asked people living in Bucharest what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Expats are here because of work, period. I don't know anyone who comes to Bucharest because they love the city. Having said that, most people here have good travel schedules. While travel in Romania is difficult because of the poor condition of the infrastructure, Romania is a short and relatively inexpensive plane ride from nearly all of Europe. Direct flights are available to nearly every European capital, as well as some of the larger Asian and North African capitals as well. On weekends, Bucharest's clubs are full of young people who love to stay out dancing until 4 a.m. The restaurants continue to open and improve by the week. There are a lot of good ones from which to choose, and that are not too expensive," added another expat who made the move to Bucharest.

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What do expats find most challenging?

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"Trash everywhere, Strays dogs (they killed my beagle puppy) and the way the drive (dear lord, they drive crazy)," remarked another expat who made the move to Bucharest.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Bucharest accepting of differences?

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"Romanians are not the most accepting of other cultures. That is not to say they are prejudiced--my personal belief is that they don't have a lot of knowledge about other cultures because this society was completely closed for 40 years under Communist rule. With Romania's new president, Traian Basescu, I imagine Romanian society will gradually become more accepting to people from all walks of life," added another expat in Bucharest.

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What are the schools in Bucharest like?

Live in Bucharest? Answer this Question

"Make an appointment and take the whole family along - the children will give you feedback about their views. Have questions ready in advance and ask lots of them. The school has a policy of honesty so do not expect 'soft' answers adapted to your own circumstances. The school knows what it does and does it well," added another expat with kids at International School for Primary Education in Bucharest.

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.

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Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

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