The Republic of Serbia is in the center of the Balkans and formerly was part of Yugoslavia. It is right at the crossroads of Eastern, central and southern Europe and although it is landlocked, many rivers including the Danube are navigable and supply river transport routes to the Black Sea. The capital city is Belgrade and the currency is the Serbian Dinar. The official language is Serbian which is quite difficult to learn with many grammatical rules. English is spoken in Serbia, particularly by the younger generations who learnt it at school. Customs and manners are very important in the Serbian culture and instruction should be taken from a local if possible.
The north of Serbia has cold winters and hot, humid summers, whilst further south they have hot, dry summers and heavy snowfall in the winter due to its close proximity to the Adriatic and its lower altitude.
Serbia has very few immigrants and the tiny minority of non-Serbs includes Hungarians, Bosniaks, Romas, Yugoslavs, Croats and Slovaks. There are an estimated 200,000 refugees who were expelled from Kosovo, a contested province which is now mainly Muslim. Many Serbs, particularly students, left Serbia during the Yugoslav wars of the1990s and have never returned, leaving Serbia with one of the oldest populations in the world.
Those moving to Serbia may find jobs difficult to find unless their move is a job transfer. Unemployment is over 14%, there is a high import/export deficit and the national debt is high. Serbia’s main export is frozen fruit and it grows about one third of the world’s supply of raspberries.
Immigrants will find Serbia somewhat behind the rest of Europe with just 42% of households owning a computer and only 33% using the internet. Telephone calls, especially internationally are very expensive although the cost of living is quite low. Average wages are just $400-450 per month. Real estate is cheap and the rent of a small studio apartment in the city would be around $410 (300 Euros) per month. Holiday homes are common along the Danube.
Tourism is centered around cruises on the Danube, spas and visitors to the main cities of Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis. It is possible to get a visa to stay in Serbia for a fee of around $100 and a work permit is also necessary for those who intend to work. Teaching English is one way that immigrants can earn a living. The culture and food are very different from westernized standards so it is quite a difficult country for westerners to settle into. Medical insurance is necessary for non-Serbian residents.
Sport is centered on the team sports of football, basketball, water polo and volleyball although tennis has also grown in popularity.