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Georgia opinions

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Mousel

New member
Hi,

I'm creating this thread as I wanted to hear opinions about life in general in Georgia. Like living costs, the people, time to integrate in the society, etc.. I know there are few members here who are still living there or have lived there.

I am planing to visit Tbilisi around June this year because it's hard to get a honest feeling just by watching Youtube videos or articles on the internet. So far from what I saw it fits with what I am looking for. Cheap living costs, territorial tax regime, warm weather, good food and not too far from Europe. But sometimes I feel it's hyped. 


Do you think as an European, Georgia is a good place to start with in the offshore game?
 

Poem

New member
Life - boring. What's interesting here? Nothing. 2 weeks per year, that's it.
Warm weather - where did you see that it's warm? There're 4 seasons, how can it be warm?
Food - bad. But it's not bad for those who don't care too much about heath.
Prices - cheap.
People - I don't know. Good? Bad? Compared to whom?
Time to integrate into the society - strange question. By what criteria would you judge it?
 
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khinkali

Entrepreneur
Cheap living costs, territorial tax regime, warm weather, good food and not too far from Europe

Yes. But it depends on what you're used to. Longer Summer than Northern Europe and many more days with blue sky. Tbilisi has similar latitude to Rome or Barcelona. There is Winter, but the rain comes in the Spring so you don't get weeks of cold wet weather like in UK. August is a bit hot, but not like Dubai and nothing like the humidity of South East Asia. Not quite Madeira weather, but I would say 8/10.

Get used to having no water for a few hours sometimes. Electricity can go, but not normally for long. Internet in Tbilisi is very good (I think better than UK). Most roads are below the standard you get used to in Germany or even UK, but not as bad as some places I've been to.

What kind of food do you like? This is the place for rustic food with excellent inexpensive wine. You can also go for your Western European food fix without breaking the bank (that's when places like Thailand and Dubai get expensive).

People don't always seem friendly at first if you're from a "how awesome to meet you!" and "have a nice day!" style Californian culture. Once people know you, they are super welcoming. My local shopkeepers insisted on my joining their (huge) family for a meal. Two of my three landlords have regularly brought me wine. I find people very polite for example when queueing in a shop, more like Copenhagen than Southern Europe. There is a lot of gesturing and horn blowing when driving (like parts of Southern Europe, but a bit more).

Do you like dogs? Most dogs live in the street and you literally step over them to walk into the Metro. A local chain supermarket near me had a dog live inside the entrance this Winter. Give a little food to your local dogs and they become your friends quickly. When the latest Fast and Furious movie was filmed here recently, the city moved thousands of dogs into shelters but they recorded the locations and afterwards they took each dog back to where it was found. I see this is an example of the "live and let live" culture here.

time to integrate in the society,
The language is difficult and the culture is strong. Georgia was one of the first two Christian countries. Georgian language and culture are much older than Western Europe. Younger people often speak English while older people (were forced to) speak Russian. When you go to a large bank branch or store then you can usually find someone with good English, but it's not like Malta or Cyprus.

You don't feel hatred for not speaking the local language like in France, but it does take effort when you're away from central or touristy places.

Regardless of where you're thinking of moving, you're absolutely right to visit for a while first. And go to non-touristy areas. I've lived a few places and all of them are loved by some people and hated by others.
 

Konstanz

Entrepreneur
Forget Georgia. It's fun for a visit to see , but for life it's not a place if you expect western lifestyle.
Also it's not English speaking country. They have their language and their letters, so it's impossible to understand for foreigner. Totally different culture.
If you are from Russia or other CIS countries it might be ok as an option, because they speak Russian too.
But if you can choose UAE , I would choose UAE comparing to Georgia

Real estate is cheap but quality is the worst I have seen even from photos you see that..

Also it's not that close to Europe. Tbilisi Paris flight time is 5h

Weather is also not warm. It can get very cold in winter
 
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alexeikarp

New member
@Mousel I have a feeling you and I could go grab a mini Boffer someday (soon, before I leave the G.Duchy again), especially that I've lived in Georgia.

PM me, my number on the typical messengers is here: 0bin - encrypted pastebin

My general feedback is as follows:

- Georgia certainly reeks "developing" country as opposed to "developed".
- Tbilisi has very bad pollution all year round due to being encircled by tall hills. It's particularly nasty in the summer where it's plain toxic to breathe.
- There is no (hardly) such thing as "cheap" service providers here, you have to go to the Big 4 or close to them. Everyone else is just a heap of thick bricks and utter waste of time.
- The same as above goes in regard to many kinds of personal service providers (cleaning, taxi, para-construction etc.). Most of them have no grasp on the basics of what western quality standards and expectations are.
- Taxation is attractive in theory, in practice, as always, there is a fair amount of small print.
- For a non-youngster European, Tbilisi can be a tad boring (I'm 30+ with a family, so well beyond my one night stand period). Most of the local goings out are either European-priced or subpar by some standard or other. The Nomad scene is concentrated along what is essentially one building.
- Real estate is generally meh. You can get a nice private house but there is an utter lack of asian-style resort-like condos unless you head to Batumi. Its inexpensive, but value-for-money, worse than some asian or even island counterparts.
- The local population is not particularly adept at servicing you in English. IF you chose to work in fluent Russian, do so at your own risk, because in 90% of cases it will be a language-barrier solution and in 10% a cause of explicit and misplaced racism (or, at the very least, a protracted geo-political lecture to substantiate the explicitly non-racist position of your overly politically enthusiastic conversation partner)
- Everything outside of Tbilisi gets very rural very fast. Expect very little in terms of western standards outside of Batumi or Tbilisi.
- Georgia is not particularly easy to get to from Europe. Especially Batumi, which is the nicer place in Georgia - most inexpensive flights go to secondary airports and its another ~30-40 bucks to get anywhere reasonable from them, as well as the stress of taxi-faring in poor road conditions with constantly speeding drivers.
- There's this generalized "shifting" factor or underdeveloped countries. Things pop in and out of existence quickly, what you took for granted a few months ago is no longer valid at all and you are a fool for thinking that it is. There is less permanency and establishment to rules and laws.
- Traffic, general tidiness etc. are not all superb.
- The black sea beaches are explicitly not white sand with palms type.
- The medical system is not Sub-Saharan, but not up to modern western standards either (notwithstanding, Georgia has a good grasp on classical medicine and leaps of advance in the medical use of Phage therapy, for example).

Notwithstanding,

+ There, indeed, are, subject to certain conditions, explicit tax advantages to working in GE.
+ Immigration for both yourself AND employees is a piece of cake. No visas or work permits for most countries. Just take a plane and settle.
+ It is non-blacklisted jurisdiction with decent banking options.
+ Its not particularly dangerous, violent or remote.
+ There is a lot of undeniably striking natural scenery, especially in the realm of mountainous terrain.
+ Spring-to-autumn, the coastal areas are very pleasant climatically, very suitable for medium and large-scale farming/garden compounds.
+ Whilst not being a shopping hotspot (like UAE etc.), it's still well ahead of exotic countries from the point of view of availability and pricing of +-decent quality household goods.
+ There is little-to-no corruption in the servicing of mundane daily administrative requirements.
+ The prices are, if you keep watch, lower than many places worldwide. I would say, approximately, a little lower than in a place like Thailand. Maybe closer to Philippines after all.

Given all of the above, I wasn't too sad to relocate back to the G.Duchy during COVID.

Georgia is on the "nicer" side of the scale of countries for me, but it's not perfect.
 

Mousel

New member
Thanks everyone for the replies. It's nice to have opinions from both sides.

I've been to Tbilisi. It was somewhat boring.
It was Ok, but Batumi was much more beautiful.

If I would immigrate to Georgia, Batumi were my choice to live.

I've heard good things of Batumi. I'll definitely visit it if I decide to live in Georgia.

Life - boring. What's interesting here? Nothing. 2 weeks per year, that's it.
Warm weather - where did you see that it's warm? There're 4 seasons, how can it be warm?
Food - bad. But it's not bad for those who don't care too much about heath.
Prices - cheap.
People - I don't know. Good? Bad? Compared to whom?
Time to integrate into the society - strange question. By what criteria would you judge it?

I appreciate your view.
Regarding the weather, where I come from it's mainly cold and rainy. Looking at the historical temperatures of Georgia, the main average is higher than most North European countries.
Regarding people, let's say compared to other cultures, like eg. if they follow traditions, have values, are respectful, etc. Some Western nations have forgotten this.
If you are a foreigner it can depend how fast you can adapt to the new culture. I've lived in few Eastern countries(Ukraine, Russia) and I've managed to adapt into the society very fast. I think it's a combination about your culture, your character but also how your host welcomes you.

Get used to having no water for a few hours sometimes. Electricity can go, but not normally for long. Internet in Tbilisi is very good (I think better than UK). Most roads are below the standard you get used to in Germany or even UK, but not as bad as some places I've been to.
Thanks for your long reply.

As I said in the previous paragraph, I already lived in Russia and Ukraine, so lowering my living standards is not an issue. Where I currently live, life is too comfortable tbh and going somewhere where it isn't is a good way to challenge yourself and see life in perspective.

What kind of food do you like? This is the place for rustic food with excellent inexpensive wine. You can also go for your Western European food fix without breaking the bank (that's when places like Thailand and Dubai get expensive).

As I lived in Russia, I often went to Georgian restaurants where I ordered mainly khinkali and Khachapuri and I like it a lit. Never tried other dishes beside these two as they were my favorites :).

People don't always seem friendly at first if you're from a "how awesome to meet you!" and "have a nice day!" style Californian culture. Once people know you, they are super welcoming. My local shopkeepers insisted on my joining their (huge) family for a meal. Two of my three landlords have regularly brought me wine. I find people very polite for example when queueing in a shop, more like Copenhagen than Southern Europe. There is a lot of gesturing and horn blowing when driving (like parts of Southern Europe, but a bit more).

Where I come from we do have the "have a nice day" kind of people but friendship is viewed differently compared to other cultures. What you describe is exactly how I felt when I met Russians. Very closed at the beginning but with time, they can be your best friends.

Do you like dogs?

Yes :)

The language is difficult and the culture is strong. Georgia was one of the first two Christian countries. Georgian language and culture are much older than Western Europe. Younger people often speak English while older people (were forced to) speak Russian. When you go to a large bank branch or store then you can usually find someone with good English, but it's not like Malta or Cyprus.

My Russian is between A2-B1 thanks to the time I spent there and private lessons I took. Do you think English and Russian is enough to live in Georgia? Did you encounter any moments where Georgian was necessary?

Forget Georgia. It's fun for a visit to see , but for life it's not a place if you expect western lifestyle.
Also it's not English speaking country. They have their language and their letters, so it's impossible to understand for foreigner. Totally different culture.
If you are from Russia or other CIS countries it might be ok as an option, because they speak Russian too.
But if you can choose UAE , I would choose UAE comparing to Georgia

Real estate is cheap but quality is the worst I have seen even from photos you see that..

Also it's not that close to Europe. Tbilisi Paris flight time is 5h

Weather is also not warm. It can get very cold in winter

Thanks for your reply. I'm actually not expecting a western lifetstyle but the opposite :). As said previously, I would like to lower my living standards for not taking things as granted.
UAE I will visit maybe one day if my business becomes successful.
I already lived in poor conditions and that was not even in Eastern countries.

@Mousel I have a feeling you and I could go grab a mini Boffer someday (soon, before I leave the G.Duchy again), especially that I've lived in Georgia.

PM me, my number

Thanks for your reply. Didn't know there were other people from G. Duchy. Good to know. I will contact you soon for that Bofferding ;)
 
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khinkali

Entrepreneur
Do you think English and Russian is enough to live in Georgia?
Quite easily. When I am in situations where I just can't get by in English I use Google Translate English to Russian (even Google finds Georgian too difficult). I kind of get alexeikarp's point about attitudes to Russia, but I would say it isn't the language. Young people in particular tend to have strong feelings about politics and occupation but not the language or people. A lot of checkout staff in Vake say "spasibo" instead of "madloba".

If you've lived in Ukraine then you know the downsides that have been mentioned. The criticism Russians seem to have is that Georgian people are too proud and boastful. But they can't get enough of the culture, food, wine or vacations so lol.

I haven't been to RU or UA but I think there's more hugging here (only once you've known people a few weeks).

The vaccination programme could take a while so Georgia might have more lockdowns this Autumn and Winter.
 

OTR365

Active Member
Regarding Tbilisi vs. Batumi: If I had to choose a city to live in Georgia year-around, it would be Tbilisi. It is a much bigger city with malls, gyms and other stuff. Batumi is lively during the tourist season, but it hibernates from late autumn until late spring.

The biggest obstacle for integrating in Georgia is that their language is almost impossible and the English skills of locals leave room for improvement. Russian speakers have it easier, so a combination of Russian, English and a few local words for courtesy would be enough for managing or muddling through almost all situations. The culture/infrastructure shock for people from RU/UKR/BG/RO etc. is small or nonexistent. A pothole on a street or a rude waiter does not traumatize you etc.

Georgia has up-and-coming energy. Despite the language/culture differences, the tax office or bank clerks try to give foreign guests good service. The food culture is a matter of taste - I enjoy the humble ojakhuri, but khachapuri less so. So sure, why not Georgia? I'll be there once the global covid psychosis ends, around they year 2025 or so :)
 
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