Moving to Moldova
Moldova, a small land-locked country in Eastern Europe, may not be anyone's first choice of destination for an overseas posting, but it does offer adventurous expats an opportunity to experience life in an untouched part of the world.
There are a small number of expats living in Moldova, most of whom can be found in the country’s capital, Chisinau. The expat population of Moldova is made up of those employed by NGOs, embassies and a small number of international companies, as well as their trailing spouses.
Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, with poverty especially evident in the rural areas. Expats often feel guilty indulging in hearty meals at Chisinau’s great restaurants or visiting Moldova’s fine wineries, while some of their Moldovan friends and colleagues are struggling to make ends meet. Unemployment within the country is also high, so expats should only plan on moving to Moldova once they have secured a job.
Expats living in Moldova find the cost of living is low, especially if choosing to shop locally. There is a shortage of good quality housing in most of Moldova’s major cities and therefore house prices can be quite expensive.
The official language of Moldova is Romanian, but Russian is also widely spoken. Expats who have a basic grasp of either of these will find it much easier to settle into life in Moldova.
Safety is not too much of an issue for expats living in Moldova. The most common crimes committed against foreigners are petty theft and ATM fraud. Expats who take the necessary precautions like keeping valuables out of sight and walking only on well-lit roads at night should not experience any problems.
The standard of healthcare in Moldova is poor when compared to those that Western European or North American expats are accustomed to. Therefore, expats should invest in a fully comprehensive health insurance policy which covers them for treatment elsewhere in Europe.
Moldova may not be the most suitable destination to raise children, as most schools teach in Romanian or Russian and international schools are incredibly scarce.
Population: About 4 million
Capital city: Chisinau
Neighbouring countries: Romania to the east and Ukraine to the north
Geography: Moldova is landlocked and surrounded by its neighbours, Romania and Ukraine. The Prut and Dniester are the two major rivers which flow through Moldova's hilly countryside.
Main languages: Romanian and Russian
Major religions: Orthodox Christianity
Legal system: Parliamentary republic
Time: GMT+2 (GMT+3 from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday of October)
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.
Currency: The Moldovan Leu (MDL) can be subdivided into 100 bani. ATMs and card facilities are widely available in all major urban centres.
International dialling code: +373
Internet domain: .md
Emergency numbers: 112, 902
Drives on the: Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road. Public transport can be unreliable, and expats are advised to use their own transport whenever possible.