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hi,we are hoping to move to rhodes in the next 8 months...we have children similar ages. can i ask,how does your son find the language? does he speak greek? i love the island and have holidayed there for years,i just hope its not to much of a battle to settle the children!!
 

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hi,we are hoping to move to rhodes in the next 8 months...we have children similar ages. can i ask,how does your son find the language? does he speak greek? i love the island and have holidayed there for years,i just hope its not to much of a battle to settle the children!!
Hi Kerry-marie, the children will find it hard but they will settle. My son does not speak greek but is learning slowly. they will probably be put down a year so they have time to catch up, so prepare them for that posibility and i would also recommend they start to learn the basics. I speak greek so it has been a little easier for me to teach him. I can recommend teaching them the alphabet as it is quite different and then basic phrases. I am sending my son to a private school here as i wanted to make sure that i was giving him the best chance possible as the public schools will not give them as much help. Thats not to say that they are bad schools. Private schools are cheaper here than in the uk. The kids here seem to be very friendly to him and he has made friends easily, even though he does not speak. They'll be fine, it just takes a bit of time.
 

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Advice for moving to Rhodes, please???!!!

my girlfriend and i recently had a holiday in Rhodes and fell absolutely head over heels with the place we would now love to move there but wondered how we would be able to get permanent jobs as we know that alot of work is generally seasonal across the island i've looked at various jobsites but besides repping there isn't alot to go on. we are both going to learn greek, she is a child care worker and i am a prison officer training to become a plumber and electrician.
can you offer any advice, many thanks...:confused::):confused:
 

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Plumber / electrician are excellent trades on the islands, if you're good. One of our closest friends is an electrician here (we're not on Rhodes, but on another island) and makes a very good living, owns a beautiful home and runs his own business. You'll need to navigate the way to getting licensed in Greece for these fields: do not delay on that, or underestimate how complex it may end up being.

The other piece of advice I'd give you both is to get started immediately on learning the language, and do it in a serious way. Not the BS "Greek for tourists. You're going to need technical vocabulary, you're going to have to communicate with the local residents who speak only Greek and foreign workers who speak various levels of Greek. Unless you are language geniuses, if you're learning the language outside of Greece, it takes about a year to get to a point where you can communicate, and many more years to become fluent.

If this is something you want to do, do it very deliberately. Make a timeline. How long will it take to finish your training? How long will it take to get licensed in Greece? At what point do you think you'll be ready to make the move? But start the language immediately. You won't regret it. Until you're fluent in Greek, you're going to end up constantly struggling, relying on other people to explain things to you, mistakes and misunderstandings will happen.
 

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On another thread another couple are returning to the UK after 7 years on Rhodes. Work is aways a problem. Reading various forums it seems more people are leaving Rhodes than there are arriving
 

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thank you for an extremely helpful response, we really are serious and willing to put in the effort, maybe Rhodes is not the island to go for as there seems to be several things on the net about people finding it hard to keep work there We are more than willing to look at other islands as it is the Greek people, the climate and way of life that we have particularly fallen for, is cyclades nice and is it worth a holiday to check it out?

many thanks.
 

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Daniel, I understand, trust me, I fell in love with Greece and NO ONE could talk me out of coming to live and work here! For me, it happened in a pre-internet age, and I had no advice and had never met anyone else who had done it. I struggled a LOT, in every way you can think of - if I could do it all over again, I would want to have had someone who was knowledgeable about it be honest with what it really takes to make it work. Here are some of my thoughts - not organized, just what I am thinking right now. There are a lot of experienced people on the forum who've lived and worked in Greece longer than I have (I've been coming here for 12 years but only made the permanent move 2 years ago) and there are a lot of REALLY different opinions/viewpoints. All of my advice comes from ME - I've lived for extended periods of time (at least a year) in Athens, in a town outside Thessaloniki, and on a TINY Cycladic island. I've lived in other parts of Greece as well for shorter times.

1) Climate, since you mention it. How important is this to you, really? The climate in Greece is changing. This past winter was one of extremes - precipitation, humidity, wind, were all way worse than anyone could remember. Living on a small island puts you at the mercy of the weather in a way you may not be prepared for. You have to learn to prepare to be self-sufficient (and that can include doing without running water and electricity) for days or even over a week. We went 10 days without provisioning here (but we didn't lose electricity or water for longer than a day - lucky!). If the climate is great when you came for a holiday in the spring or summer, maybe you just want to come in the spring or summer. Greece has four seasons and winter in Greece is not the same everywhere, some areas are harsh and some are less so. Rhodes is probably the gentlest but if you are considering other areas this is something you need to know.

2) Finding work. In the islands especially but also the rest of the country, unemployment is a serious problem. You may not be worried if you have a trade of your own, but what about your girlfriend? Current unemployment rate is 15.9% but that is the "official" rate meaning it ONLY counts the people who are receiving unemployment. People who are no longer receiving unemployment benefits, or who never qualified for them in the first place but are out of work, are not counted. In some islands, the rate is over 40% (Ionian islands I think are the worst). Tourist businesses on most islands are only open for a short time in the season. On my island, 95% of the island population works no more than 3 months out of the year - that's fine for the business owners who just sit around all winter, but it's not fine for the employees. Don't underestimate the difficulties in finding work if your language skills are not excellent. With so many university educated Greek childcare professionals out of work and looking, your girlfriend is going to have very stiff competition.

3) Readjusting to a lower income. I don't know what you make at home. Here, the wage for a university grad employee working full time in the private sector is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of €700-€1000/month, after taxes. That's not a lot of money. If you are able to get your own business going and get it going well, you may do great, but people are also not going to pay huge amounts of money for services that they are accustomed to paying less for. I haven't had to call a plumber on the island here but when I lived outside Thessaloniki I had a burst pipe and had it fixed. He did some other work in the apartment and the total was €20 including parts and labor. Not sure if that's average but I remember paying over $200 in the US to have a sink fixed that required no parts and only 15 minutes.

4) Language. As I mentioned before, Greek is essential. On the islands, the languages spoken are Greek, Bulgarian, and Albanian. English gets you nowhere, at least not in the Cyclades.

If all of the above are acceptable to you and you are up to it, then of course the Cyclades are worth a trip. Oh that's something else you should do - visit multiple places, and NOT only in the summer - visit in January if possible. So you visited Rhodes and you loved it. Who's to say that you wouldn't love Syros more? Or Naxos, or Samothrace? You have to visit a bunch of places to see which one fits you the best. The first place I fell in love with when I came to Greece in 1999 was Paros - I can't stand Paros now and no amount of money would convince me to live there.

The truth is that for 99% of people who love Greece, they are better off visiting Greece as tourists, even if they do that 3 times every year for 30 years. But if you're part of that 1% that wants it badly enough, just have your eyes open and do as much research as possible and you'll have a much easier time than those of us who started down this road before the internet came along!
 

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I'm envious!! I have been living in Thessaloniki for 8 years but would LOVE to live in Rhodes!!! My husband's best friend (and many of his friends) are from there - the best friend is also our daughter's Godfather so between myself, him and others, we are working on convincing my husband to move there!!!
 

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Plumber / electrician are excellent trades on the islands, if you're good. One of our closest friends is an electrician here (we're not on Rhodes, but on another island) and makes a very good living, owns a beautiful home and runs his own business. You'll need to navigate the way to getting licensed in Greece for these fields: do not delay on that, or underestimate how complex it may end up being.

The other piece of advice I'd give you both is to get started immediately on learning the language, and do it in a serious way. Not the BS "Greek for tourists. You're going to need technical vocabulary, you're going to have to communicate with the local residents who speak only Greek and foreign workers who speak various levels of Greek. Unless you are language geniuses, if you're learning the language outside of Greece, it takes about a year to get to a point where you can communicate, and many more years to become fluent.

If this is something you want to do, do it very deliberately. Make a timeline. How long will it take to finish your training? How long will it take to get licensed in Greece? At what point do you think you'll be ready to make the move? But start the language immediately. You won't regret it. Until you're fluent in Greek, you're going to end up constantly struggling, relying on other people to explain things to you, mistakes and misunderstandings will happen.
That's one question answered for me, I'd be looking for work in Air/Con and refrigeration but I'm also qualified as an electrician. We do love Rhodes but to be honest we've not been to an island that we've not loved, so I guess if things are really bad in Rhodes at the moment, then we may a have to do some research and think about other areas. We've not been to the mainland before but I'm sure the people and way of life is similar to the islands, especially if your near the sea.
The language is my biggest fear because as has been said, I'm sure it can be the one thing that means you make a success at your move or fail and I must admit I'm using rosetta stone to try and learn but I'm struggling.
Our time line is fairly flexible, we'd like to do it April next year but to put it back a year may give us more chance of making a success of it.
I really need to look into how my qualification translate into Greek, do I need to pass Greek test to show I'm competent etc.
So much to learn! But I'm sure it'll be worth the effort!
 

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That's one question answered for me, I'd be looking for work in Air/Con and refrigeration but I'm also qualified as an electrician. We do love Rhodes but to be honest we've not been to an island that we've not loved, so I guess if things are really bad in Rhodes at the moment, then we may a have to do some research and think about other areas. We've not been to the mainland before but I'm sure the people and way of life is similar to the islands, especially if your near the sea.
The language is my biggest fear because as has been said, I'm sure it can be the one thing that means you make a success at your move or fail and I must admit I'm using rosetta stone to try and learn but I'm struggling.
Our time line is fairly flexible, we'd like to do it April next year but to put it back a year may give us more chance of making a success of it.
I really need to look into how my qualification translate into Greek, do I need to pass Greek test to show I'm competent etc.
So much to learn! But I'm sure it'll be worth the effort!
Being qualified in both AC and elec is great! I don't know if things in Rhodes are 'really bad' compared to the rest of Greece - you'll probably need to get really up to date info from someone who spent this winter there - but my guess is that it's probably doing better than many other areas of Greece.

One factor that heavily influences unemployment numbers is seasonal employment. Self-employed and under-the-table employees aren't counted, but all the regular insured employees are; when a hotel closes in October, its employees go on unemployment until April and are counted. On a heavily touristy island where many people work in hotels, on beaches, at bars and clubs, in restaurants, etc., the numbers of the unemployed can be wildly high - even if many of those people have reasonable expectations of being rehired in the spring. To put it into perspective, a HUGE number of schoolteachers (the non-tenured teachers) are all fired en masse every June 30 and go on unemployment every July and August, only to be rehired in September. It is only recently that they have not rehired all of them, and some of them are "real" unemployed now. The same is the case for many seasonal jobs. How that plays out on each island is different.

On the island where we lived, the electrician (one of our closest friends) was one of only two electricians on the island, and did a very brisk business. I don't think there was anyone in HVAC on the island though I could be wrong. At any rate, our friend wasn't from the island. He's an example of an 'outsider' who came in with a much-needed skill and in a few years bought a house and has started building another house, and owns other property on the island. He is Greek, though, from Crete.

So if you can find a place you love that doesn't already have an HVAC / electrician, you would be in a great position. Especially on the smaller islands, which were electrified somewhat haphazardly (my island wasn't fully electrified until 1981) there will always be lots of work for a good electrician. However, you would need start-up capital. You'd need some sort of storeroom for your equipment and parts, so something larger than a regular office. You'd need a van or something. If you're on a small island, you'd need your own 'stockpile' of parts because you wouldn't be able to get to a supplier easily.

Even on Rhodes you may be able to find such a place - probably a smaller town or village - but the advantage of being on a small island - say Tilos or someplace - is that those people might not already have an electrician. If their choices are wait til someone comes once/week from another island, or call you who live next door, well, you have customers.

As far as the language issue goes - can you join a class where you are now? Most Greek Orthodox churches have some sort of language classes - some have excellent ones. At least if nothing else they will be able to put you in touch with a teacher somewhere. Rosetta Stone is no replacement for a human teacher. If you have to take some sort of exam (I have NO idea if you do) about air con and electricity in Greek, well, you're sunk if you've only done Rosetta Stone. You will need technical Greek in any case, though, to deal with customers and suppliers and so on. You'd have to pay for the classes but they'd probably not be much more than Rosetta Stone, or even less. My mother takes Greek classes at her local Greek Orthodox Church and pays something like $300/year (in the US).
 

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Thanks for the reply WKA, we only live in a small town with no Greek community at all but your right Rosetta stone doesn't come close to being taught by a human. I'm going to contact some local colleges to see if they have any classes?
My feelings right now is to maybe set are timeline back by a year and aim for 2014 and maybe next year take a month or two out and do some Island hopping and see some of the smaller islands.
We've been to all the usual suspects, Corfu, Zante, Crete, Rhodes, and Kos plus Cyprus,all of them a few times.
We will do some asking around while were in Rhodes for a month in September but when you read peoples stories and questions on here, you begin to realize that you have a lot to learn. Also beginning to realize how important getting a good working knowledge of the language is. When your sat in a bar in Faliraki, it's easy to think everyone speaks English!
Plus maybe the economy may be picking up by then and it also gives us time to save more to support ourselves while we get settled.
 

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Hi there, we have younger children than you and left Rhodes after 3 years last summer for our kids to attend English speaking school as neither my husband or I speak Greek. I am interested that your son is attending a private school, which one is this? Is it a secondary or primary school and are you aware of any schools taught in English? We would love to return!!
 
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