Confessions of young people who left Serbia

Slim job offer and low salaries are the two most common reasons why young people in Serbia decide to move abroad, trying to find their place under the sun. The Blic daily talked to a few of them about the life in their adoptive countries and whether they fared better than in Serbia.


After graduating from a university in Vienna, where studies can be 50% cheaper than in Serbia, our students usually find a job pretty quickly. However, if they looking for a job in Austria from Serbia, things are somewhat more difficult. Fluent German is a must.

Kristina Ivković (22), Vienna: Be modest and everything is doable

  Kristina Photo by: Private archive / RAS Serbia

One rainy morning I woke up in Vienna, determined to finish my studies right in this city. Vienna is a city that offers a lot, but it can also take away lot if you stray. The living standard here is much different to ours and if you are not smart about your money in the beginning, you will not do very good.

Vienna has so much to offer. There are many benefits for students – free cultural events, sporting activities, various jobs and many doors opened to the world. It is possible to work and study and in only five working days you can earn up to 450 Euros. The average monthly income for a student that would ensure a stress-free life is between 500 and 600 Euros. Theatre and museum tickets are around 10 Euros, but every single day there is something going on for free. Studies are twice cheaper than in Serbia. The prices of beverages are almost the same as in Serbia. Everything is clean, neat, people are well-mannered, the parks beautiful and public transportation is right on time.


Close to 10,000 Serbian citizens are working in Russia. These are mostly construction workers, but there are other worker profiles too.

Ljiljana Božović (24), St. Peterburg: Serbian apples are three times more expensive here


Photo by: Private archive / RAS Serbia

In Russia, studies are twice as expensive as in Serbia. For a four-year-study, students have to pay 16,000 Euros. To compare, this is how much a private faculty for foreigners costs in Serbia. The prices in shops are three times higher than the prices in Serbia. For instance, Russia imports all of their fruits and vegetables and Serbian apples are three times more expensive here. Cigarettes, on the other, hand are twice cheaper than in our country. When I compare the living standard from two years ago to today’s one, I would say that it has declined somewhat.

As far as work goes, there is a great demand for worker profiles that are not highly educated like construction or shop workers. Most of such jobs are done by people who have come from different parts of Russia or are from abroad. The Russian mentality is similar to the Serbia, although I would have to say that Russians are more well-mannered.


England has one of the biggest market economies in the world. The country is the leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector. Still, this country is not to welcoming to people who come from non-EU countries. The jobs that are most in demand here are IT professionals, nurses and hospitality workers.

Aleksandra Vještica (30), London: If they accept you, you are fine


Photo by: Private archive / RAS Serbia

Everybody says that it constantly rains in England. True! It does rain, but for five minutes. After that, the sun is up and everywhere you look is grass and flowers.

I am under the impression that 99.99% of people here have a job, and not just any job but a well-paid one. In everyday life, British people don’t pay much attention to skin colour. The British are quite reserved but polite. However, if you manage to enter their circle of friends, they will respect you and love you like a family member. People in London usually socialize over brunches, while in Serbia, they mostly hang out in coffee shops or night clubs. It is a custom in England to have breakfast with your friends in a bar or to go to a tea party on Sunday afternoon.

Although it sounds impossible, London has very clean air although there are 12 million people living here.


Unlike most European countries, the jobs that are most in demand in France are those that don’t require high education. The professions like office cleaners, dish washers, and restaurant helpers are very much sought after.

Mina Radovanović (24), Paris: Food and accommodation expensive, studies affordable


Photo by: Private archive / RAS Serbia

I study at the state-run Sorbonne where one academic year costs 200 Euros. At the beginning of every academic year, students also have to pay health insurance which ranges from 200 to 500 Euros.

If you decide to live in suburbs or a dangerous neighbourhood, you can find a flat for between 400 and 500 Euros a month. Usually, people who are not in a good financial situation will look for a roommate and rent out a room for between 200 and 300 Euros. In the more affluent neighbourhoods, flats are much more expensive to rent and a one-bedroom-flat costs around 1,000 Euros. I spend between 70 and 80 Euros on food every week. For instance, one rotisserie chicken costs 10 Euros here.

The Netherlands

There is a great demand for highly qualified workforce in The Netherlands. The following professions are very much in demand – engineers, IT experts, financial experts and all sorts of medical workers.

Dejan Borota (26), The Netherlands: Standard is high, life is relaxed


Photo by: Private archive / RAS Serbia

Studying in the Netherlands is easier and safer. If you are looking for a full-time employment and financial stability, the Netherlands is the right country for you. Still, Serbia has more soul, better people, food and, unfortunately, more life problems.

The Netherlands is an economically strong country, shoulder-to-shoulder to Germany. The global economic crisis did affect this country, but you cannot even feel it in everyday life. The average salary here is around 2,000 Euro, while the minimum wage is 1,600 Euros. Unemployment is low, around 6%. Getting a job in the Netherlands is relatively easy and there are many companies looking for workers across sectors.

If I have to compare the prices and the salaries in Serbia and the Netherlands, I would say that the prices in the Netherlands are relatively low. The living standard here is high, and life is relaxed.

(Blic, 11.12.2016)

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