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“My daughter went to school, learns Belarusian, likes everything”

Moved with my family: the eldest daughter (aged six at the time) and the wife. The decision was spontaneous. We were considering relocation to Europe or the US—our friends already live there, it would’ve been easier to cooperate. But moving far away abroad is always a problem—languages, healthcare, children and much more. Minsk came to mind for two reasons: the climate is better compared to St. Petersburg, and better career opportunities.

My wife and I also thought of the advantages moving to Minsk offered: cleaner environment, the city is quieter and more children-friendly. The job offer and the move were four, six weeks apart. We stayed longer only to settle the matters in St. Petersburg.

What bothered me about migration was medicine. It turned out that the regular clinics’ level is lower, but one can medical services at paid clinics, so the problem can be resolved. Other than that, the experience has only been positive: no language barrier, no biased attitude. People tend to smile more because Minsk is further south than St. Petersburg, I guess. I remember my first impression: we lived near Pushkin Avenue, it felt like living in a resort town. Small houses, no skyscrapers hanging above you—although I have certainly traveled around already and see that not all of Minsk is like that.

After St. Petersburg, we were impressed by the hills and the lack of that insane humidity. We immediately noticed how much better the food is here.

“The Komarovsky Market is close to where we live, and this is just my place to hang out”

Sure thing, there are markets in St. Petersburg, but just not the kind you’d take your kids to, traveling through the city on a weekend. There was this one time, I was renewing my car insurance, and the lady clerk saw I was from St. Petersburg and asked this question, “So, does life taste better here?” I think this perfectly reflects the gastronomic experiences of a person moving to live here.

Speaking about the cost of living, it’s about 80% against that in St. Petersburg. Imported items may cost more, but the rest is somewhat cheaper. Had an easy time finding an apartment. My daughter went to school at the age of eight, she learns Belarusian, likes everything. Minsk offers a large selection of children’s interest clubs; I believe Belarusians to be such a creative nation.

Vacancies at iTechArt. Group 9 Created with Sketch.

I can say that the local IT market is very hot. Developers of any level are in demand, even juniors. Unlike in Moscow and St. Petersburg. A huge IT community, highly skilled experts, companies are growth-driven. Generally, it’s a major outsourcing hub with many large companies developing software for the West—not for the domestic market as in Russia. In St. Petersburg, developers sometimes come with poor English, since the Russian-speaking segment is large; they get engaged in applied things and spend years working for small-time product companies. I deem this a disadvantage: if you lack the experience of working at a large company and fail to understand the corporate culture, you’ll have a hard time adjusting. Minsk also has a good “cost of living/salaries in USD” ratio.

“Should one wish for rapid IT career development, Minsk is just the place”

I think people are afraid of moving because of this automatic reflex: it’s gonna be difficult. If you think it through aspect by aspect, it becomes clear that there are no problems.

No red tape, no lines. An interesting fact: there is an agreement on child benefits between the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation, so you can compare and opt in for the larger amount. The question about how long we’re gonna stay in Belarus is a toughie, but all in all, everything is great, and I’d like to settle down here for a long while.

Better career opportunities.

Free medical care is potentially inferior.