Moving to Slovakia: how it went with me

    Recently, more and more articles on Habré are devoted to emigration from ex-USSR countries and immigration, including to countries of Eastern Europe. I have long wanted to talk about my experience, but somehow I could not get together, and a recent article on immigration to Slovakia prompted me to write my opus.

    So, I will begin the story.

    I moved to Slovakia in two stages, and the first, in general, was unsuccessful, but the experience was useful in the future.

    Attempt number one: study

    It all started in 2009, when I wanted to go to study somewhere abroad. Considering that I have relatives in England, options were considered in Devon, but as it turned out, the presence of relatives does not simplify the process by exactly how much, and the prices for education are considerable for local ones ... I was little informed about scholarships, that's why stalled.

    It took a little more than six months, and I became interested in the issue again. It was especially interesting to me, because just in the summer of 2009, I graduated from the institute and entered the magistracy, remaining to work there at the department (in Belarus there is still a compulsory distribution, therefore working at the department was the easiest and most pleasant way to conduct this distribution). The very first months of the master's program terribly disappointed me in our science, because my completely viable ideas for a master's thesis were rejected with the comment "we won’t pay a dime for that."

    An eye on the Visegrad scholarship program caught my eye. Of the countries in which education was discussed, for some reason I was most interested in Slovakia. Why dont know. Maybe because of the language (Hungarian is too complicated, Polish is simple, but I just don’t feel like it), maybe because I just visited friends in Pieš гостиany in the spring of 2009. One way or another, but on the same day I found a university in Zilina ( here), there I found a department where I was doing just what was interesting to me, and wrote them a letter with my ideas about the upcoming work, and after a day or two I received an answer in the spirit of “Cool, come on!”. After a couple of telephone conversations and an exchange of emails on the second or third day I was sent an invitation letter, which was necessary to apply for a scholarship. In addition, I had to go to the department of international relations of my university in Minsk and make a certified translation of my diploma and extract from it (as I later found out, they don’t actually do it there, but they made an exception for me - not many people get involved in similar events).

    Žilinská univerzita - University of Zilina

    After preparing the remaining necessary documents and filling out the application, it was necessary to send all these documents, in fact. And here a problem arose: a little more than a week remained before the deadline for submitting documents. Not a single postal service agreed to such conditions. Fortunately, I found a friend who just that day went to Slovakia, to Trnava, to study. It was decided to do the following: having arrived in Trnava, she sends my documents to Zilina, a university employee receives them, reports the Pozyvaci list to them and sends everything together to Bratislava. Unfortunately, the plan “floated” a little: the documents arrived in Zilina on Friday afternoon, because they could only pick them up on Monday, and the last day of sending was Sunday ...

    In general, when a couple of months later I received an email beginning with the words "We are sorry, but unfortunately ...", I had no doubt why this happened. The first attempt failed.

    Attempt number two: work

    A year and a half passed, the distribution was over, I quit the university, because the conditions on which I was offered to stay would be incompatible with the sudden possible relocation to another country, which I regarded as inevitable in the first year of “freedom”. In the last months of work at the university, I received a job offer from one good Minsk company, which I myself had been planning to go to for a long time, and began the process of finding jobs for them, without ceasing to look for foreign options. Alas, there were not many options, due to the fact that for the most part potential employers wanted either local or already have a work permit, but they didn’t really want to get in touch with people like me.

    It somehow happened by chance that the company in which I was still moonlighting while working at the department tried to establish a joint business with a small company just from Slovakia. The business, in general, did not go, although a couple of times we went to them to show prototypes of devices that they would like to have (by the way, to this day those prototypes are somewhere on their shelves). Details do not play a special role, but the point is that during one of these trips, another company was found in a neighboring town, which urgently needed an embedded programmer to program some ARM-based system. After a telephone conversation and a personal meeting, they immediately hired me to work — all that was left was to “collect” the necessary documents, which was started right there in Slovakia.

    By the way, the company is essentially located in the village (Nižná , population - 4K people) in the territory of the former factory, which was once part of the industrial giant TESLA . By the way, not only almost the entire population of the village and surrounding towns used to work at this plant, but people from afar went there every day to work, because the schedule of local trains - “special clouds” - was much denser than now, and they all were jammed to the eyeballs. Unfortunately, those days are long gone, the plant fell into disrepair long ago and was sold in parts to local residents. In the neighboring town of Trstená, the once large wheeled tractor plant completely ceased to exist, and now it gives the job exclusively to the waste management company, whose workers dismantle it day after day and clean the surrounding area.

    The collection of the actual documents did not take very much time, including due to the fact that in this region - on Orava - the population is “smeared” enough, people often work in another locality, they live, people from different cities are married and married villages, but because people know each other well. Thanks to this, for example, it was possible to obtain a work permit without the painful expectation of about two weeks. I had to go to Belarus and get an extract from the police about my criminal record (funny, but “ordinary people” call this document “criminal record”, and the police only call it “criminal record”). It should be noted that when filing documents with the police for foreigners ( cudzinecká polícia) documents must not be older than 90 days, otherwise the police will not accept them. Another point: at the time of filing the documents, the law did not allow submitting them directly to the police, if I was already there, it was necessary to submit them to the Slovak Embassy at the place of permanent residence. It seems that today this requirement has been removed.

    Documents were submitted, a written interview was held at the embassy, ​​during which basic questions were asked about Slovakia, as well as about my employment and what I will do if I suddenly lose my job for reasons beyond my control. It remains to wait. And here, as they say in Belarus, "Moscow could not have done without it." The fact is that documents are sent to Zilina, where the regional police are located, through diplomatic mail, in which routing is rather intricate. “You just can’t just take it” and send documents directly from Minsk to Zilina. First they go to Moscow (why ?!), then to Bratislava to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and only then they are sent to Zilina. As you might guess, the documents in Moscow received ... and lost somewhere. Where - nobody knows to this day. The embassy waited a month and a half from the moment of sending the documents, after which it sent copies directly by courier. I received the documents, after a couple of weeks I received an answer: a residence permit was issued. At that time, I still had a short-term visa - I regularly went to future employers, because they did not give me a free national visa, although this is a normal part of the process. Upon arrival in Zilina, I wrote an application for a residence permit card (preukaz o prechodnom pobyte ), passed fingerprints, and also, which turned out to be a bit unexpected for me, posed for the camera. Because of this surprise, on my first card I’m a little unshaven :)

    From the company I was allocated a room in an apartment in the aforementioned Trsten, which was generally not bad, because in the same town, our company opened a new building, where they moved the group working on our project. In the same apartment lived a fellow engineer who worked on the mechanical part of our project.

    Trstená, square MR Štefánika, view of the hotel Rogach

    Life here

    I must say, from the first official salary the first thing I bought was a bicycle (in Slovak it means bicykel, in the Orava dialect it means bicykeľ). It cost me € 370, for which I received a wonderful bike of almost the local brand Kellys Scarpe (the headquarters and assembly shop of the company are located in the aforementioned Piestany).

    In general, Slovakia is a wonderful country for cycling. This, of course, is not Holland or Denmark with their wonderful bike infrastructure, but outside of the settlements there really is where to go for a drive. In principle, this is exactly why my friend John Rosman is in love with Belarus, because unlike the USA and England, where everything is private and fenced - where with wire and where - with brick walls (hello to the English!), You can go anywhere in Belarus and where whatever. In Slovakia, despite the presence of private property, you can also go anywhere, anywhere (almost), but in addition to this there are mountains, streams everywhere, squirrels, hares, foxes, deer and other animals in the forest, meetings with which can bring a lot pleasant impressions - well, or scare to death, if we are talking about some wild boar.

    Mount Velky HotchDolina Kubina

    The local population, in principle, is divided into three categories according to their relation to bicycles. The first category is people over 35, mostly women who ride old bicycles from the time of Tsar Gorokh to work, to the store, and anywhere. In principle, people who used to drive and are now afraid to be hit by heavy vehicles on narrow highways can be added to this category. The second category is youth, owners of new mountain or city bicycles, who either use bicycles everywhere and always (like me in winter too), or very often, and at the same time try to popularize this activity if possible. The third is motorists who do not recognize the bicycle as such, and drive a car everywhere and always, even if the distance is less than a kilometer. In principle, categorization is approximately the same as in Belarus, exceptour help.

    As for the monetary side of life in Slovakia, the situation is this. On average, living in Slovakia is a bit more expensive than living in Poland. It’s bad if the reader lives there and thinks about moving :) On the other hand, living here is cheaper than in Belarus, despite the fact that the quality of life is generally better. Salaries - in Zhilin, it is difficult for a programmer to receive above € 1,500. On Orava - and even less. On the other hand, even with such a seemingly low salary level (compared to what programmers in all kinds of EPAM receive in Minsk), this money is more than enough for a normal life and frequent trips.

    Generally speaking, travel is a topic for a completely separate conversation. Before moving to Slovakia, I had never traveled so much. The very idea of ​​traveling somewhere outside Minsk and the Minsk region for most of the inhabitants of this city, apparently, is seditious. In Slovakia, this is completely different. People constantly travel, and if not abroad - which is rather arbitrary here, then around the country. And there is where to go. Castles, mountains, lakes, rivers ... There is something to watch (it would be with anyone ...). And given that the possession of a residence permit in Slovakia allows you to travel throughout Schengen, the possibilities are truly unlimited. For example, in Vienna I have been 6 times, of which 4 - in the last year. In Prague - only 3, for the last six months - 2. A ticket with a return to this very Prague - € 40, or even cheaper if you travel by RegioJet train. Well, in Krakow,

    Vienna, Stephansplatz I

    must say, for me, language was not a problem at all. The first couple of months, while I was in Slovakia “short visits” on short visits, communication with future colleagues and superiors took place in English. Outside the company, as a rule, no one understood English, therefore I spoke ... in Belarusian. So much more people understood me, although there were still problems. Basically, they consisted in the fact that the Belarusian language is very pronounced “hiccups” and “yakan”, because the words robota and robiť , familiar to Slovaks, sounded completely unusual and incomprehensible: work and work. When I realized this moment, I just began to speak with a very strong near-Slovak accent, changing words to the Slovak way - the level of understanding increased to 70% percent :) A strong impetus for studying Slovak was given to me by my colleague Jan, whose English was rather weak, because we had to somehow find a common language. In total, more or less tolerably well, I could speak after two months of unstable stay here. Now I have Slovak at such a level that the locals take me for “vikhodnyar” - a person from the eastern part of Slovakia (“east” in Slovak - vychod). Yes, I’ll say right away: I didn’t go to any courses and read almost no books. I have the “Belarus-Slavatsky razmoўnіk” and the “Grammar grammar Slavatsky Mova”, which I open every three months,

    Osobný vlak Kraľovaný — Trstená I

    must admit, the local medicine that I had to deal with a little disappointed me. There is more bureaucracy, such a feeling, than in Belarus. Although it seems there are doctors, unlike.


    Unfortunately, my contract was signed only until the end of the year, because the project was ending, and no new one was expected, so at the end of the year I had to look for a new job and a new apartment. I decided to move to Zilina, because I managed to like it - I was there literally every two weeks, and on Orava I'm already tired of a little, because Still, I am very unaccustomed to living in small towns. After publishing the resume on, they called me literally five times a day. As a result, I ended up in a company to which I personally sent a resume. And then the problems started.

    As it turned out, my work permit, which was issued to me a year ago in Námestovo, is not only invalid (because it expires), it is not subject to automatic renewal, because I am changing my employer, and my new one is in another city in the region. Because of this, the process of the device tightened a little.

    The second problem was to find an apartment in Zilina. Most apartments were either expensive or in poor condition. For example, for € 176 (without paying for energy) the so-called garzónka , i.e. one-room apartment in which there is no separate kitchen, and a stove, sink and refrigerator are in the only room. Fortunately, there were acquaintances who had a two-room apartment, which they agreed to give me for an even lower price.

    And finally, the last, as yet unresolved problem is the Internet. In the new apartment there is the possibility of connecting as many as 6 or 7 different providers. It would seem, go and get connected. Each of them offers a bunch of discounts and other bonuses. There is, however, one thing that they are silent about right away. It is called viazanosť, i.e., roughly speaking, the conclusion of a contract for a certain period with conditions excluding its easy interruption. If the contract is terminated before the deadline, a fine of approximately € 200 is paid. The term, as a rule, is 2 years, but the option for 1 year is possible - in this case the subscriber loses discounts and participation in promotions. In principle, the option without knitting is possible, but in this case, the total cost of connection is about the same € 200, and in addition, the tariffs are even higher. In comparison, Beltelecom’s conditions are just some kind of fairy tale.

    The second part of the problem with the Internet is the need for a residence permit with a validity period of at least the period for which the contract is concluded, because the best solution to the problem in my case, apparently, would be to conclude a contract for the apartment owner.

    Despite some difficulties of this kind, I do not plan to leave Slovakia in the next couple of years :)

    In general, this is probably all I wanted to tell, at least everything that was remembered now. Ask questions, I will try to answer them.

    Zilina, Mariana Square

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