Living in Macedonia
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A practical guide to the way of life in Macedonia
Macedonia is a small but rich country: its multifaceted architecture and landscape reflect its complex history and create an inspiring and vibrant atmosphere that all expats living in Macedonia are bound to enjoy. Find out more about local transportation, healthcare, etc. in this guide.
Life in Macedonia
Healthcare in Macedonia
Although not yet of the same standard as many other European countries, the public healthcare system in Macedonia has undergone significant improvements over the last decade.
It is funded by a mandatory state healthcare insurance scheme, which is collected along with social security contributions and income taxes from people working and living in Macedonia. Expatriates are able to use the public healthcare system provided that they are working and paying the necessary contributions from their earnings.
However, many people, including expatriates, also choose to take out private health insurance to subsidize some treatments that aren’t covered by the public system.
There are a large number of private hospitals spread throughout the country, though they are mainly concentrated in the capital city Skopje and other urban areas. Be advised that in the public system only some doctors will speak English, so communication may be an issue.
Education in Macedonia
Macedonia has a free education system, which is compulsory up to the age of 16. However, as classes are taught in Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, or Serbian, depending on the region and the school itself, many expatriates living in Macedonia make use of the private, international school system, where their children can be taught in English and take internationally recognized qualifications.
Most of the international schools are located in Skopje, as it has the highest concentration of expatriates living in Macedonia, including the QSI International School of Skopje, Nova International Schools, and the American School Macedonia.
Macedonia has five state universities, the largest and most notable of which is the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, as well as some private, international institutions like the South East European University.
Transportation in Macedonia
Macedonia has 9,573 km of roads, 228 km of which are classified as motorways. You are able to use an International Driving Permit to drive legally whilst living in Macedonia; however, it is recommended that expatriates with long term residency permits obtain a Macedonian license.
You must have your headlights on at all times when driving, and the seat belt law is strictly enforced. General speed limits are: 60 km/h in inhabited areas; 80 km/h outside of inhabited areas; and 130 km/h on motorways.
There are airports in a number of cities which fly to domestic locations, and two international airports, one at Skopje and the other at Lake Ohrid.
The state railway network, run by Makedonski Zeleznici, has 925 km of track and provides transport links within Macedonia and to nearby countries such as Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece.