Carolina wrote:I understand what you are saying about life being a bit of struggle with four children anyway (!) but the system is very different in Greece, and I’ll try to explain a bit more about it. Here the older 2 children will need private Greek lessons, and keeping up with their English is very important too. If they wish to do sport, art , music, dance or any other activity then you will have to pay for this too – the normal school curriculum is very basic and barely touches on these. Greek children who wish to take up a sport or musical instrument etc go to extra out-of-school private lessons.
The (junior) school day runs from 8.15 to approximately 1.30pm. Many junior schools now have ‘all day’ school which finish at 4pm, and in which they do not do any extra lessons but are helped with their homework (from day one at 6yrs old they have one or two hours homework daily), and this is mostly to help working parents.
Private Greek lessons, plus English lessons, plus any activity will need to be fitted in after school hours.
The State Nursery schools do not take children until they have reached their 4th birthday. The nursery school then runs for two years from age 4 to 6. At 6 years old children start infant/junior school. The nursery school hours for children aged 4 to 6 years are 9am to 12pm only.
There are private nurseries which will take babies from a few months old, up to children aged 5 or 6 and the hours they are open are generally from 8 am to 4pm
So the costs - Private Greek and English lessons ( keeping up their English is very important) for the 2 older children will cost from 300 to 500 euros a month, childcare for the 2 younger children around 400 to 500 euros per month. Then add in the cost of any activities – maybe one of your children wants to play football, another learn ballet, art, take swimming lessons etc etc – and you are talking of total costs of over 1000 euros per month. Most Greek parents pay at least 200 to 300 euros per month per child (often much more, especially for an only child) for extra tuition classes, a foreign language class or two, and an activity class. As the children get older the costs continue as children attend private tuition schools and language schools throughout their teens. All this is the norm in Greece today in order to attain a high school leaving certificate at age 18yrs. More on the teenage years on this thread:
Don’t forget that the children have 3 months off school in the summer holidays, and if you are both working you will have to pay for childcare. Other school holidays are 2 weeks at Christmas and 2 weeks at Easter, as well as numerous Bank Holidays, plus days off for church holidays, teachers strikes (!) etc – this averages close to one day off every other week and is a real pain for working parents – however most have their extended families to fall back on.
Basically if you want your children to receive an education in Greece then you will have to pay for it, and with four young children it will be very costly. This is just one aspect of living in Crete that you may not have thoroughly considered, and there will be many others. Some of them have been touched on in the previous replies – read them again and seriously consider all the points that have been mentioned.
I’m sorry that I can’t reassure you that you will manage, which is why I advise you not to sell up and invest everything in a move. A ‘trial run’ of at least a year, with funds for the first couple of months, should help you decide whether or not it is really going to work, and that will give you the option of going back whenever you wish, if you wish!
If you're struggling financially in the UK I'd suggest that you'll struggle even more here, assuming you won't have a dependable income, e.g. a pension or private means.MovinForward wrote:As someone who's struggling to make ends meet in this country, I seriously considered moving out of the country as well.
Despite EU directives you'll find that your degree will not be recognised in Greece [even Greeks with foreign degrees have this problem]. You'll also find that, by and large, design studios in Greece and, especially in Crete, are small businesses that are not likely to take on any employees let alone non-Greeks, especially in the current financial situation. I know a very talented graphic designer here, Australian Greek so fluent in Greek and English, who struggled to cope with the volume of business three years ago and is now considering working from home to avoid office costs.There are a bunch of graphic design work in Greece and I seriously considered attempting to make it out there. I graduated 3 years ago with a graphic design degree, but haven't been able to find a job. I'm not sure what makes me think I'll find a job out there,
There's not much full-time work for anyone without their own business or a job in the civil service, banking etc., let alone a business service regarded as a luxury. Most Greek businessmen will have a cousin or friend for practically any goods or services they need.. . .it's just that there's no work to be found. No FULL TIME work anyways.
I'd wager relatively few Cretans would comprehend the idea of internships. As for the local vernacular .... do you have a talent for languages? "Proper" Greek is hard enough and the local vernacular is equivalent to the English spoken in a Glasgow pub when they don't want to be understood by an English visitor. My wife and I have been struggling to learn the language for several years, still have lessons but are far from fluent.Is there perhaps a way to learn the local vernacular WHILE studying abroad via internship?
In present economic circumstances property should be relatively cheap to buy but don't expect rent for business premises to be cheap. Also, setting up your own business legally can be an expensive, time consuming, bureaucratic nightmare.... maybe I can buy property and open my own studio.
Carolina wrote:For living costs don't forget heating in the winter, running a car - petrol, tax, insurance, mot etc. - costs of flights 'home' for 'holidays'.
One thing that immediately strikes me is the cost of educating 4 children in Greece. The older two will need private Greek lessons - and later the younger ones too. They may well need extra English lessons too, I don't know how much is taught in the European school and I believe some of the lessons are taught in Greek.
DaveG may be able to tell you more about the school, and his experiences, if he reads this.
Buying a property - it can take from a few weeks to a couple of years depending on what and where you buy. Buying an existing property with a clean title can be done in a few weeks. Buying off plan and having a house built will normally take about a year.
A word of caution - I would advise you not to sell up at home before you have rented here for a while and see how you like it and how you, and the children, cope. What are your reasons for wanting to live in Crete? A laid back, relaxed lifestyle? The reality is that many Greeks work two jobs in order to support their families as the wages are low and the cost of living increasing all the time. Add to that being in a foreign country with four young children and no support.. then the 'laid back' lifestyle can be rather elusive.
If you invest everything in a move and it doesn't work out it can be difficult to sell up (find a buyer and get a good price) and move back. And a good number of expats do move back after a year or so as they decide that it is not the life for them in the long term.
Sorry if this is all negatives, but I think they are important things to seriously consider and you should be aware of them. Of course there are many positive aspects of living in Crete, but I'm sure you have an idea of those already!
I hope others will add their comments to this for you.