Permanent move from London to Tirana with 3 & 5 yr old

Hello to all of you out in Tirana who have made a permant from London (or similar city). I am a native Brit& have been to Tirana 6 or 7 times. I find it technologically slow & backward, but people are nice & climate is amazing. Hubbie's Albanian & our pound could buy us plenty of family time together & international school for kiddies.

HOWEVER, I'm massively in 2 minds about this move, I don't know the language but think I'd take a course, have lived in London all my life & keep thinking its a gud idea 1 min & thinking I'm nuts to consider the next.

please hellllp!! anyone whose made a move from London (or similar city) to Tirana wud be so helpful to hear from you:

Has it turned out as u wanted- if so any pointers? If not why not?
What has been your favourite thing/least favourite thing about the city/country?
What transition has been the hardest & why?

Thanks so much!!

Hello everyone, me again!

Would love to hear from all of you out there. Any advice or tips would be so nice to hear.

2cheesecakes :

Hello everyone, me again!

Would love to hear from all of you out there. Any advice or tips would be so nice to hear.


Please be patient.  The Albania forums are not very active, especially in this holiday period when people are travelling and/or celebrating with family and friends.  I'm sure someone will be along to guide you when things "get back to normal" :)

Romaniac Experts Team

Hi Eve

I am in a very similar situation to you. Myself and my Albanian husband are considering moving to Tirana later this year with our 3 year old. We run our own business, and are considering it for same reasons - more family time, a lot of friends and family there, good international schools and our income can go much further in Albania than UK.

We have actually lived in Tirana for a year in 2009, and have visited many times since, so I also know the country really well, but like you seem to be, we are also weighing up all the pros and cons - I'd love to have a chat if you'd like.

Hi, yes absolutely. I desperately want to try & get in touch with parents of children attending the international schools in Tirana. Do u know anyone who has kids at international school? Which ones are u considering?


I don't know anyone personally who has kids at the international schools, but my sister in law has visited a couple for us, and I have also been in touch with them.

The MIST (Memorial International School) follows the UK curriculum, but TBH I am leaning more for WAT (world academy) which follows the International  baccalaureate.
From what I have read, plus my sister in laws feedback from visiting, WAT has a great reputation, and seems to be highly regarded. 

I think it also depends on the teaching style you prefer and whether you would need to consider putting your kids back into the UK system at some point. But unless you visit them yourself, I think it is really difficult to make a decision what is right for your kids based on what other people say, same as choosing a school in the UK too I guess.

As an aside, my sister is a lecturer, and her experience is the students she meets that have been educated in international schools (wherever) are among the most well balanced, inquisitive, open minded kids she has ever met, and they do extremely well at uni.

Hi  my name is Irma and im Albanian .... Its funny the way u put it but actually true. Since you have  been here 7 times i dont understand what makes you take the decision to move here . Im sure you have heard that many Albanians are looking forward to go to your country , legally and ilegally 😛. The truth is that Yes its very beautiful country, undiscovered etc . For foreigners anyways its a cheap country so i guess it will be easy for you to survive and make lots of friends as the prople are very friendly :) . Im English teacher so if u need help i can teach you Albanian very well ... And sure i can help you settle down . I really cant advice you but im sure u will take the right decision for your life and just to remind you...- you can still go back to your country if u regret moving here 😉 you can find me in Facebook Irma Zaimi . I hope to hear from you soon ! Take care anyways !

Wow thanks so much for the heads up re other international school. My sister in law is going to visit MIST as well as the Turkish Uzgal (might not have spelt properly) next wk. Turkish school is not international but Albanian speaking. I will only consider English schools for my kids & yes your absolutely right about visiting myself. Both sis in laws are practising doctors, but of course UK expectations are unique. I will let u know the verdict but i do intend to visit any school myself if I am considering it for them at least 3 times & observe a bit of teaching if poss, talk to older students etc- but of course that's if they'll let me

I don't have any particular intentions to rtn to UK at a particular point for kids ed, but am very aware that the best laid plans can become undone, particularly in more developing countries such as Albania.

I'm really intrigued by the school that does the international baccalaureate & would def opt for them if they had good results because it would give them the mobility earlier on in their ed that studying a subject like medicine would later on- thanku so much for telling us about it. I would really like to chat some more. I do worry about becoming a bit isolated there myself. I don't speak albanian but am pretty good getting to understand new languages when I set my mind to it & have every intention to learn when I step foot there permanently. Do u speak Albanian? If so how well?

I do like creature comforts that they're a bit short of but of course we would kit the house out & that. I would really like to keep in touch. Are you in London? Would you like to meet for a coffee?


Hi ... Im Albanian and dor the moment i live in Tirana.... You have lots of internation schools in Tirana but the one i would suggest you is WAT - there is where the kid i was babysitting was. Its is very nice enviroment, safe and great staff  of teachers . I am sure you can find information about it in Internet. Generally there go kids of different nationalities but all the teachers speak english so im sure they will be perfectly fine ... In any case let me know if you need Help :)

Hi Irma

I understand exactly what you mean, and I know many Albanians in the UK and Albania,  most of whom would not understand this decision.

I think it very much depends on an individuals circumstances, what they do for a living etc. as to their viewpoint on this. I am extremely lucky in that my business gives me the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, if I did not have that luxury I could not even consider moving to Albania.

In Albania, I understand there is very little employment opportunity for most people, and moving to the UK/Western Europe etc. can definitely give you a better life. I personally know many Albanian friends and family right now who are desperate to get out of Albania.

However, in many cases things are not as rosy as they seem in the UK, Europe or elsewhere. 

Also in the UK there are many different problems too - for millions of people in the UK, they are just a wage slave,  and many people here have a huge amount of debt, as the cost of living here is so expensive, that most people on an average wage are just living month to month scraping by to pay the bills.

In Albania, you have a lot of corruption, bad roads, hardly any public services etc. - but we have many different types of social and crime problems that are the consequence of living in a society such as the UK. In my experience, your meaning of family is much stronger in Albania than it is in the UK.

There are definitely many pros of the UK over Albania - we have many facilities, public services, products and services etc. that are not available in Albania.

But overall, for me, the opportunity to have much more time with my family, to be able to spend time outdoors much of the year, and for my daughter to experience being part of a close-knit family, and also still get educated in English, outweigh the cons for me.
I would also like her to become fluent in Albanian which will be much easier if we live there :-) We may not stay forever, but for our lives right now, it seems to make sense.

*Hey Eve, sorry to post such a long response on your thread, as I guess that response from Irma was intended for you, I hope my extra two cents was helpful also :-)

Honestly it is nice to hear and i truly wish you the best if luck ... Im a multilingual person so if u meed help dont mind asking- Take care for now :)

Hi Bev

Don't apologise! Ur insights re the UK are so on point! By the time we have paid the bills here & done with work for the day, there is little time for kids & family life, enjoyment of the great outdoors (for which is too cold here mostly anyway), which I believe is the cornerstone of healthy mind & body- inevitably leads one closer to happiness in the long term- just thinking out loud here for the kids in years to come.

My kids do not speak any Albanian at all. We speak English at home & Hubbie doesn't have enough time to teach kids formally & doesn't have family to come over give them the exposure just chatting away at the wknd- life is too busy with work.

Irmita, We too know many people from Albania who'd move mountains (or try & walk around them-lol!) to come here but life here is not the promise land you may believe it to be- it's changed no end since I was a child & what was once a comfortable British way of life has  become a way solely for the extremely wealthy! Not to get too poetic, but I kind of see it like this & anyone with life experience of living & growing up in the "west" may be able to identify- the plagues of societies such as ours, I believe to be loneliness & capitalism- I don't hav much family left but Hubbie has loads & they're close to one another. The word 'loneliness' doesn't exist. I believe this gives rise to a lot of later life issues for adult children interns of friends, partners etc.

I would love to hear more- so pls don't apologise Bev!


Well i Think you missunderstood me as i wasnt sugeesting u to not move here ... I just wish you the best of like whatever decision you make :)

Hi guys.
I lived in UK and lived in Albania so I can give my 2 cents hoping to help you in your decision OF moving or not.

UK of the nowadays is not the same as the UK of 80 or 90-s. It have massive problems like crime, immigration,old age population,high taxes and YES -- the most important one -A very bad weather which makes you depressed through out the year. It is not anymore surprising to see English/British people running way from UK. They are running way because they have lost trust in their government which has destroyed their way of British life their parents or them were grown up. They destroyed THE GREAT WAY OF BRITISH LIFE  with their ridiculous human rights laws where criminals can come in UK and can claim very easy asylum and benefits . UK has become a big toilet where anyone can come and go as it pleases.Where anyone can come and do as it pleases. If the White guy complains then the human rights or the political correctness will kick him in the face and he will be labelled a racist or white pig. UK has lost its identity. Many cities in UK are invaded by Asians ( Indians and Pakistanis) and they have become a no-go area for the white people. Is forbidden to call a Pakistani a Paki but is Ok to call a white man White pig.
Crime is sky high in UK .
Education is OK only if you are rich and pay for private schools or universities like Oxford University -- and they are bloody expensive.
If your child goes to a public school chances are that your child will be affected by other children of different nationalities and backgrounds. Drogs and alcohol is the Moto of the new generation in UK. You see young girls smoking, drinking,having sex,etc,etc..Why happen this - because the FAMILY is permanently broken in UK or the parents have no time to look after their children because they are working 60 hours per week in order to pay the mortgage and other bills.
Plus many many more I can mention here.
Myself I would not like to grow my children in UK - not now- not anymore.

Albania in the other hand has its own problems.
We have crimes but never like in UK.
The weather is wonderful. Do not under estimate the importance of the weather. It lifts you up .
The family ties is still strong
You will know exactly that you are living in Albania becouse 99% of the population are albanians and not pakistanis, afghanistans, africans, indians,Jamaicans,rumanians, bulgarians,arabs,philipines,chinese etc,etc,etc :)
If you have a good income your life style will be a luxury one because your options for holiday in albania are many and the prices are very affordable.

I better stop here before you get bored and skip the rest.

Take the decision and do not regret. After all we love foreigners in albania more then our own blood. :)

Many thanks for your response. Yes much of what you've mentioned we are aware of both in the UK & in Albania. We are interested in hearing about Albania from the British expat's perspective. I get the Albanian view from Hubbie.

Obviously Albania's infrastructure & government is a major concern being from the UK, but I would like to know if and how this bothers expats (other than the obvious or being out of elec for 15minutes every few days which often you wouldn't even notice unless you're home all day). Also, it would be great to know what expats miss most/least about the UK if anything at all vs what they love/hate about Tirana. Just an inside scoop on life. Of course there are no wrong of right answers just views based on experiences that people can share with us would be great.

Hello Irma !

I can't understand how can you say to yourself  English teacher! I can see lots of grammar mistakes on your writing !
Go and learn English better and then say to yourself an English teacher.

[at]Anna Dylan > this is your first post on the forum and it is a bit off topic.  :/  maybe you can contact this user privately as this is not the topic. If you have any useful information to help the OP, please share it here. Thank you.

Anna Dylan :

Hello Irma !

I can't understand how can you say to yourself  English teacher! I can see lots of grammar mistakes on your writing !
Go and learn English better and then say to yourself an English teacher.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones Anna ;)

Thank you:)

Thank you very much for the advice , why so much hate though?


Isn't hate darling. I wish you lots of luck! I don't have reason to hate you . I haven't study English but I can  see lots of mistakes on your writing,  that's why I replied.

Yes , but at least Am not saying  myself English teacher .

romaniac :
Anna Dylan :

Hello Irma !

I can't understand how can you say to yourself  English teacher! I can see lots of grammar mistakes on your writing !
Go and learn English better and then say to yourself an English teacher.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones Anna ;)

I am one of the students who have learned English with lots of mistakes from these kind of teachers. I have paid lots of money to learn English when I was in Albania. Now I am paying more to fix the problems with verbs and grammar. It's much more difficult to fix than to learn.

I moved from London to Tirana in 2014 and lived there for 2 years with my Albanian husband. I loved it and I miss it every day (we now live in NZ). Be prepared for a simpler, very family orientated life! I loved the sense of community and the weather and the gorgeous countryside and delicious food. I was well connected with the expat community and appreciated being able to speak English with them! I struggled with the extreme frustrations of the bureaucracy - something I could go online in a few minutes could take me all day to achieve in Tirana. I hated driving in Tirana - it's horrific! As much as I loved the family community - I really struggled with how intense and claustrophobic it can be. There are a lot of family obligations. But I love Albania. I miss the simpler life! Be prepared to give up some of the luxuries. And much of the shopping is rubbish (I used to do annual shopping trips to London!).

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