Even those with experience living abroad may struggle with the supply issues of the country. For this reason, many recommend that anyone considering a life in Georgia makes sure they are acquainted with at least one of the companies that specialize in shipping home comforts to expats living there.
Healthcare in Georgia is of a very high standard; however, medical access is less than thorough. The majority of facilities can be found in Tbilisi and Batumi, another major city located on the Black Sea coast. Costs are also high, and expatriates are not entitled to free or subsidized health care. This means that a comprehensive insurance policy is necessary in order to meet the high price of care in Georgia. There are a variety of companies that provide specialist cover for people moving abroad; however, not all will cover the former Soviet State. For this reason, it is imperative that you ensure you have the right level of cover to meet your needs before you move.
The experience of expats when it comes to education in Georgia is varied. Many struggle to find appropriate schools for their children away from Tbilisi, meaning that education can be a major factor in deciding on a location in which to settle.
State schooling in Georgia is only compulsory between the ages of 6 and 14, and is conducted in either Russian or Georgian. Children receive a basic education in an Elementary School environment until the age of 12. They then move to a Secondary School, where they can opt to receive a higher level of training for the next three years, qualifying with an Arasruli Sashulo Ganaltebis Motsmoba certificate at 15. Those who choose to stay can then undertake a further two years of schooling to achieve a Sashualo Ganatlebis Atestasi certificate, before continuing onto higher education institutes and universities.
There are a few international schools in Tbilisi catering to the needs of the expat community. The English Boxwood International School gives students the opportunity to study in English for UK qualifications, including GCSE’s and A Levels. The city also boasts both the French-Georgian Ecole Marie Brosset, where students study for the French Baccalaureate exam, and the International School of Georgia, which caters for both expat and local children. The American QSI International School, also based in Tbilisi, teaches a US curriculum, with students studying for US recognized qualifications.
Georgia has a number of both state and private universities. Most are based in Tbilisi, with others centered in cities including Zugdidi, Fori, Rustavi and Kutaisi.
While a move to Georgia does present a number of challenges, this gorgeous country also offers all sorts of rewards to those that are brave enough to venture here. It is truly a unique place, full of beautiful ancient churches, great food and cheap beer. The size of the country means that a move here really does provide you with the best of both worlds, with city living, country walks, mountains and beaches never too far away.
Walkers and climbers will not be disappointed; not only do you have the Great Caucus range to discover, but you also have full use of the Tusheti National Park on the northern slopes of the Caucasian Mountains. From rolling green hills to crystal clear skies and the odd church surrounded by miles of unbroken countryside, it feels as though you are taking a step back in time. The quietness of the Georgian landscape seems almost alien to Westerners accustomed to the quiet roar of a road. For those who like a challenge, a weekend climbing Mount Elbrus (the highest in Europe) will reward you with the kind of views that could only belong to Georgia.
Tbilisi, in contrast, has an up-and-coming vibe about it, particularly at night. With your choice of nightclubs, bars, and live music venues, there’s always something to keep you occupied. The city itself is unique, with a multitude of ancient churches nestled next to modern buildings and tucked away beside bright little bakeries. For the ultimate Sunday indulgence, take a wander through the leafy boulevards of the capital before sitting in the sun for a lazy lunch on a restaurant patio.