Moving to Belarus
Expats in Belarus will find that the country is not a popular destination for those looking to live abroad. The country is a former Soviet Republic which remains largely isolated from the international community due to the authoritarian nature of its government.
Little foreign investment enters Belarus and the economy is largely controlled by the state, with approximately half of the local population employed by state-controlled companies, while private business is virtually non-existent. Manufacturing is a major contributor to the economy, with the biggest exports from Belarus including heavy machinery, and agricultural and energy products.
Belarusians are known to be stern and conservative, which is often mistaken for unfriendliness. The majority of the local population are Belarusians, with sizeable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians.
Russian and Belarusian are the official languages of Belarus and expats will encounter very few people able to speak English. It is therefore essential that expats living in Belarus make a concerted attempt to learn the local language. Furthermore, a general knowledge of Cyrillic will be useful as almost all street and public transport signs are written in this script.
Expat parents should note that there are very few international schools in Belarus, and these are mostly located in the capital city, Minsk. Healthcare in Belarus isn't up to the standards most expats will be used to, so those needing significant medical treatment will likely need to seek this abroad.