Living as a Brit or Irish Ex-pat in Crete - Greece
Experiences of Schooling in Crete
Let us start with a British Dad's experiences of his kid's schooling:
"Firstly let me make it clear, and this is not just my opinion, if you plan on moving to Crete with children older than six and younger than eighteen (or school leaving age) be prepared to have problems with them adjusting to the first language of teaching which is, understandably, Greek. The locals will say it's okay, throw kids in at the deep end. They will learn. In my experience however, they will "drown" under the language pressure. Greek to most is not an easy language to learn and even with private greek lessons, British or Irish kids whose first language is English are likely to struggle to learn in a Greek school. If you really want to come to Crete with children of school age another alternative is to opt for Online learning or Home Education. Also you need to take into account are the cultural differences. Greek children are polite and well mannered in the main, however your child may well find it difficult to make friends as the Greek Culture is very family orientated and friends are normally considered to be people you meet outside of the home. Think of your child. Being alone in a school where the language is not understood and friends are few and far between. It could be a possible recipe for disaster."
"If your child is under six however the chances are that they will learn Greek easily and become bi-lingual, which is in itself a worthwhile thing to be and they will look back in older life with a real sense of pride and achievement.
"School in Crete starts at approximately 8.15am and finishes between 1pm and 2pm. Extra days off are common place and often no advanced notice will be given for such an occurrence. You may (if you are lucky) get a phone call from teaching staff telling you to come and pick your child up, as school has ended early on that day.
The above section is based on the experiences of one family, Geoff - the BiC webmaster, 2004-2006. While times change and there will additional information about the Heraklion School referenced below shortly.
This section has been edited and updated in 2014.
"European School, Crete"
Other useful links - the Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs (English pages), the Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, [Greek only]; Schola Europea, and ENISA.
Other Useful Reference Pages on Ex-pat Living in Crete:
This help explains the workings of the main public Utilities on Crete relating to local municipal rates, electricity and water and their billing.
Crete - you know the weather is good that is why you come to Southern Greece but Crete also has a winter climate and its house heating implications.
Telephone, Internet and Postal Services - what you need to know.
Essential reading, including the private Cretan Medicare Centres.
Retaining language and customs yet making foreigners feel inclusive along with choices in local TV Viewing.
More important direct feedback from those experiencing settling in Greece or who have been there awhile. In the chatter, they mention the differences in supermarket prices and where to obtain favourite goodies, edibles and household products from "back home". All in all, it is a good barometer of the cost of living when on a fixed monthly income when resident in Greece.
Save Water When Staying on A Greek Island
Water is a scarce resource that dwindles each year. Our helpful page on conservation of water lists a number of invaluable tips, ones that are common sense in reality. These tips show how easy it is to make the water that you use go further without investment or extra effort. The tips go a long way to help keep your garden and plants well watered thus ensuring they are green and healthy in a Mediterranean setting.
From small village stores, to large supermarket chains, like Carrefour and Lidl, Crete has it all. A Quick guide to what is available.
Your short cut to the Ministries and who is responsible for what.