If you are reading this post, it is most likely because you either work at Dialectica or you’re interest in working here!
As a consequence (or a privilege), this means you will be based or be moving to Athens.
Writing this as an expat, I want to give you an objective view on how it is to live and work in Athens.
I will try to give you as much information as possible, but the best thing to guide you would be to follow us on Dialectica Blog, as we are going to publish more posts like this every other week, hoping to cover all aspects of work and life in Athens and at Dialectica!
How is it to live in Athens?
Athens consists of > 3 million city dwellers. With that in mind, it is appropriate not to expect a peaceful and quiet village when you first arrive. It is a South European capital that can be easily compared to Rome, Madrid or Lisbon.
Athens is a place that will welcome you in. It is a city to live in. Let me list some good points:
Weather. It might seem a bit cliche but Athens has one of the highest number of sunny days per year, 300 out of 365. Beaches are easily reachable from the city centre as well as mountains, if you prefer trekking over sunbathing. This is also one of the main factors (or at least we think so!) that attribute to the countries high life expectancy (more than 81 years).
Culture and Environment. In the ranking of “most liveable cities”, Athens was ranked at 68th in the World (New York City was 57th for a comparison) and it was stated how cultural activities and environment were actually the main elevating points for the city. Athens is a vivid cultural center, from music, to exhibitions to theatre, accessible all the year long.
Cost of Living. In Athens you can find Western European life standards with the lowest cost in the region. You can find a complete list in this link, but having been in Athens as both tourist and resident, I have found plenty of opportunities to save money. Food is one of them, but also speaking about rents the situation is quite interesting: finding a flat in Athens is not easy given the big demand, but the cost can be very affordable even in central areas.
Internationalism. You might see Greece as a traditional place, which it is. Greeks are very proud of their origins and traditions, but this does not make the life of an expat more difficult, I would say the opposite. Integrating in Greece is quite easy as everyone speaks basic English, and it is actually difficult to find someone born in the 80–90’s who is not able to speak fluent or atleast hold a basic conversation! All public services have a branch for internationals and do not worry… in every coffee shop there is an English menu.
I can really list more than other 20 reasons why you should experience living in Athens but, as I said earlier, there will be other posts coming. I can just invite you to stay tuned.
How is it to work in Athens?
Of course you heard about the Euro crisis.
Yes, Athens was taken down by a huge financial crisis in 2009.
Well, the crisis is over. There is a big stereotype of Greece being in constant economic crisis, but looking at the numbers we can see a steady growth in the country. The GDP grew every semester from 2016 and with the last elections, the outlook is looking great!
The recovery will be long after such a crisis, but there are several good omens ahead.
First, the New York Times and then Vice underlined the new rising of Athens, naming it “Athens is the new Berlin”, recalling the early 90s when Berlin was a rising hub of arts and entrepreneurs.
Well, Athens is not a solid startup hub at the moment, but it will be. More than 800 startups, including Dialectica, were born and developed in the last 4 years making a statement on what was the real way out from economic crisis.
Working in Athens ensures you a health insurance plan, a good salary to cover basic living costs and enjoyable living, young and enthusiastic colleagues, and a wonderful city to live in. Of course, there are negatives, as in every place in the world, like bureaucracy, delayed public transports, and debatable public services.
However, despite all the negatives, I and many others expats have chosen this lovely city as our home, which can only be described by one of my favorite Greek sayings:
“Athens is the place that makes you complain about traffic, tourists everywhere and your bus not coming. But while waiting on the stop and doing this, you have the opportunity to admire the majesty of Acropolis.”