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Life in Macedonia

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Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:09 pm    Post subject: Life in Macedonia Reply with quote

TOPIC: Life in Macedonia


Posted in May 2003

This, like its neighbours, is a face-to-face society. Go there and knock on doors. Should be interesting but I do not think you will make much money. Enough to survive ? Maybe.

Soros might have something. Check out the Soros Foundation and the Open Society. Yahoo has a group about efl teaching in Macedonia, but most of its members seem to be far from that troubled land.


If you knew anything about Macedonia you would know that the country is experiencing civil unrest, as the Albanian minority stage an armed insurrection against the government.

{Theresa - There was again a period of unrest in early 2004. I will note that outside of Skopje, there is not a great deal of mixing of Serb and Albanian. And most non-Skopje Albanians live west (near Albania) and north (Kosovo way) of the capital city.}

And there are no jobs for EFL native speaker teachers in Macedonia.

{Theresa - this is a blanket statement that I will address below - look for this at the bottom of this post}

You might find something through Soros, as Albulbul has suggested. But Macedonia is not Korea. You cannot just walk into a private language school becasue of your nationality and possession of a BA.

the above posts can be found here -


posted December 2003

I'm in Kosovo, but I went to Skopje two weeks ago for a conference and it's not bad (remember that I'm in Kosovo). It has a few historic buildings that weren't destroyed by the earthquake (the old train station), a lot of communist architecture, a nice river flowing through the middle of it

some western shops (none in my neck of the woods) and peanut butter. I can't find peanut butter in Kosovo.

As for the cost of living: they use the Drachme, about 60 to the Euro (which you can use with cabbies, but not at corporate shops), and things are less than the US prices, but a bit more than where I am now.

A cab ride from the center of town all the way out to the top of the mountain (about 20 minutes) where our hotel was was 150 Drachme. Full meal at a decent restaraunt (no drinks, we WERE working) was 90 Drachme.


I lived in Skopje, Macedonia for six months around five years ago. Skopje is really a divided city, with the Macedonians on one side (i.e., the main side) and the Albanians on the other.

On and near the Albanian side there are some interesting and historic-type structures, such as mosques and an old Turkish wall. A lot of the city got levelled in an earthquake in the '60s, so you're looking at a lot of strange, communist post-modernist something (I can't really describe it) architecture downtown. The post office looks like a giant UFO, something that Kazoo from The Flintstones would have flown back in the '60s.

That said, Skopje's not a bad city and, as it isn't a sprawling city, you can get around quite easily on foot or with the pretty efficient bus service. It's got a nice mountain in the backdrop with a couple of old Orthodox churches up there.

Rent in a typical block just outside the center cost around $200USD at that time. I'm thinking you need around $500/mth to break even (i.e., if you're paying rent).

There are a few private schools - one called Nova - that I know of.

If you feel the need to get away, you can take a train down to Thessaloniki in around five hours for almost nothing. I don't know how long it takes to get to Beograd. There's no train line to Sofia.


I was there five years ago and loved it. The people were great and in Skopje you had access to most things you would expect to find in Europe.

The teaching was good too with mainly adults studying.

The social life centred around cafe society and cheap nights out eating and drinking.

In the south of the country there is Ohrid in the summer where there is a beautiful lake and in winter the skiing is very cheap and excellent.

Two of the teachers i knew then have since married Macedonian women which has to be a positive sign!

I don't know how seriously it has changed since the Kosovo attacks but a friend of mine was back there last year and had no complaints.

There are issues between the Macedonians and the Albanians but they didn't mix much then. The Albanians were all based in their own areas and towns at that time....


The bar where i drink in downtown north america is run by Macedonians-- theyve got a map of their country on the wall, and they speak in their lingo when theyre not busy.

They seem pretty easy going but i dont think they are, really. Or at least, they dont put up with any nonsense. Theyre into all sorts of stuff, so they see a lot of nonsense, if you get my drift.

I imagine Skopje, Macedonia would be a very interesting place!

the above posts can be found here -


And finally ......

The USA will always be my home, I plan to spend my retirement there. But while I am young I want to see the rest of the world.

One of my most favorite memories is walking across an ancient bridge in Skopje, Macedonia. The air was full of foreign words in 3 different languages, of which I could understand 10%.

Nobody knew or cared that I was American, it was just a moment in time when I was surrounded by something that nobody from my small USA town would likely ever experience.

Somebody said 'Variety is the spice of life'. I'd like my life spicy, please.


My comments ....

That there were virtually no jobs for ESL teachers was most certainly true in the not so distant past.

Currently, there is a potential need for schools catering to English expatriates' children. This, of course, is not ESL.

The Balkan Sunflowers works with Roma children in another area of the country. Very primitive conditions.

Five years from now, ten years from now, things may be quite different as MK has good raw material resources and a vast base of unemployed.

There is a sense of strong urgency in the government for the country to be inducted into the EU. Because of this, there is increasing support for changes that will support that. One area of potential strength is forging a common language bond.

Currently, Albanians are generally demanding that their children be taught only in the Albanian language. They also want to have their own university where the instruction will not include any Macedonian. The also have demanded that the MK government have all documents, etc, in both the Macedonian and Albanian languages.

English, however, is a relatively neutral issue, and one highly important to banking, business, economic development in general and in building a network of support with other countries.

If you read the articles (link below) about Macedonia's cultural, political, economic and educational challenges, you will get a very good sense of this country's strengths and weaknesses.

World in Conflict. Economies in Transition

If you are a pioneer ready for a recreation of the Wild West, Macedonia just might be for you. Very Happy
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