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Living in Slovakia
A practical guide to the way of life in Slovakia
Slovakia, as many other European countries, can offer to nationals and expats free education and healthcare systems, as well as an efficient infrastructure. Read up on important aspects about life in Slovakia, from education to transportation!
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Life in Slovakia
Education in Slovakia
Those moving to Slovakia with families will of course need to ensure that there are schools suitable for their children. Slovakia has a free education system that is compulsory for ten years. Like many other countries, schooling is divided into primary and secondary school. However, at around the age of 10 students can choose to stay at the “primary” school until they are 15, or attend a “gymnasium”.
Once they have finished this stage of schooling at 15 or 16, they can then choose whether to attend a Secondary school until they are 19, or leave to enter the workforce. After graduating at 19 they can then attend a public, state, or private institution of higher education, which could be a university or a college, to complete their further education up to bachelors, masters or doctorate level.
Next to the public school system, Slovakia has a number of highly regarded international schools that teach in English and are particularly popular with expatriates who are only living in Slovakia with their kids. Additionally, there are also many universities that offer studies in English, due to the widespread popularity of the language amongst younger adults and children.
Healthcare in Slovakia
Like most other European countries, Slovakia has a state healthcare system, managed by the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic, where residents are entitled to free basic healthcare and further treatment by specialists, hospitalization, prescriptions, and pregnancy and childbirth services. However, some other services are only partially subsidized or must be paid for in full by local residents and expatriates alike.
Many of the state funded hospitals are also lacking in equipment and are in debt, and quality of care can vary from region to region. If you are an EU citizen moving to Slovakia, you will be able to use your EU health card to obtain free state healthcare. However, some services may not be available for free under this plan, and you are advised to contact the Ministry of Health for more specific information.
If you are not an EU citizen, or you want to supplement the free healthcare, then it is highly recommended that you take out private healthcare insurance instead.
Transportation in Slovakia
Transport in Slovakia is made easy by its well developed and properly funded road (over 720 km of motor- and expressways) and rail (over 3,660 km) transport networks. There are a number of different state funded rail networks operating in the country, including the main infrastructure operator Železnice Slovenskej Republiky (ZSR), which provides both passenger and freight services across the country. There is also a large bus network, which operates in many cities and towns across the country, as well as trams and trolleys in some of the larger cities.
However, whilst public transport is very popular with a lot of the local residents and foreigners, many people also choose to drive their own cars. Be aware that many of the roads are subject to toll charges, but you can purchase a long or short term stamp card up front to avoid having to pay cash at every toll booth. Speed limits (60 km/h in urban areas and 130 km/h on express and motorways) are strictly enforced, as is seat belt use. Like most of Europe, Slovakians drive on the right hand side of the road.
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