- Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 18:13
You are considering moving to Serbia with your child or you are already here? If you arrive here and expect every single thing to be perfect - snap out of it!
In case you are coming from well arranged and organized countries where a lot of work is taken in order to improve the child care and their animation, maybe it will seem that Serbia is miles away from the same level. But in the last few years there has been a progress in the field of childcare, protection and making cities more child friendly.
The first question when relocating with children is always related to the safety of the city. The cities are safe for adults but not so much for children when it comes to city traffic. A lot of fast driving, bad drivers and old roads can be threat to your child and we suggest that at the beginning an adult is always by his side. If Belgrade traffic seems a little bit chaotic, imagine how it looks for your child. In time he/she will get used to the "rules" and learn to be careful on the street. Also if your child is still in a stroller, bear in mind that some towns have a lot of steps and stairs making getting around a difficult thing, like getting on and off the public transportation vehicle. But be sure – someone will help you!
Other dangers that lurk in all large cities such as abuse, harassment, pedophiles, kidnapping etc. are very rare in Belgrade. Whilst not completely crime free, the capital - Belgrade is an extremely safe city to raise a child and a pretty relaxed place to live in general.
Once you have “made” your do’s and don’ts list regarding safety, the next question in line is about education. Most expats decide to enroll their children in kindergartens and schools where the main language is English, school activities are in line with an international program and curriculum is similar to the one in home country. That gives child an opportunity not to go through a whole process of adaptation in the school. If on the other hand, you decide to enroll your child into public school, get well acquainted with school’s programs and approaches and do not forget to add the language, cultural differences and an unfamiliar environment into the equation. This is a very personal issue, so take time before deciding. If you are concerned about not knowing the language, remember that children are like sponges, they will become fluent in no time.
For parents, there is no more stressful situation than the one in which your child is sick and you do not know what to do. Seek out and choose a paediatric doctor before you actually need one. Get recommendations from other expats, locals, neighbours etc. because when you have kids, you really have high expectations from a doctor. When it comes to medicine, many expats find out that Serbian health system differs a lot from the ones in their homeland. It's not that the Serbian doctors do not have the needed knowledge and could not help your child; it's more about the mess in the whole healthcare system resulting in lack of real patient care. You have two choices - Serbian way to learn and learn to work within the health care system in Serbia, or go private. It will cost you but it's maybe the best solution in the very beginning.
And in the end, do not forget – children are considered to be royalty in Serbia so be aware of sudden pinching, hair tousling and baby talk from the complete strangers.