The day to day pace of Belarus is typically slower than in more developed nations, and some services and products may not be as readily available as they are back home. Internet connectivity is good though, and expats will often purchase online instead. Belarus does have a fast and secure postal service, but local residents tend to buy their goods in towns and cities at markets and native shops. You'll find local treats and international delicacies in supermarkets, and you'll enjoy great meals out and fun activities if you seek out some of Belarus' best national pastimes.
Traveling around Belarus is simple and affordable, with a fantastic public service network that includes railways, bus routes, tram lines and private hire taxis. Maps are often available from local stores and travel apps for your smartphone can also offer navigation assistance. Lots of the signs for public transport systems are written in Belarusian, and this can be tricky for international residents — make sure to carry a phrase book while you're getting used to the country.
The Belarus road network is also a great way to travel. City transportation in major conurbations such as Minsk is made easier with a single travel ticket that covers all aspects of your journey, available from local news stands and outlets across the city.
If you're traveling around Belarus, do bear in mind that many rural roads aren't marked on Google Maps and might be missing from many satellite navigation files, so you might find navigation difficult without a physical atlas or map.
Whether you're moving to Belarus for work or for the change of pace, you'll have to consider the needs of your family if they are moving with you. The school system in Belarus is free for residents up until age 16, and there are several international schools in the country's major cities which teach in many European languages.
The two main languages in Belarus are Belarusian and Russian, although an increasing number of young people are fluent in English as well. Minsk and Brest are great locations for families, because they are home to the country's international schools. The academic year in Belarus runs from September to July and follows a similar structure to that of other European countries.
Belarus offers free healthcare for most basic medical needs and for emergency care, through state-funded hospitals and local clinics. Non-urgent procedures such as cosmetic or dental work are not included, and expats will need to have achieved full resident status to be able to claim healthcare. The system is contribution-based through income taxes, so working people fund their own healthcare and have the right to access it.
Health insurance plans are also available privately or through your workplace to cover additional medical needs. The standard of healthcare in Belarus is good and improving year on year. Worried about a young family member and need treatment in Belarus? The Children’s Oncology and Hematology National Center is one of the country's leading hospitals and specializes in pediatrics.