British expat in Greece ’cries at work’ and ‘borderline lonely’ – ‘hopes dashed’


Greece is a popular holiday destination and Britons may be tempted to move to their favourite holidaying country. With plenty of sun and cheaper prices, Greece may seem like a fantastic place to move to.

One British expat has taken to an expat forum to tell “the truth about living in Greece”.

She said: “When we set off for our sunny Greek island life and it seemed like the glimmering rainbow on the horizon that would save us from our miserable existence [in the UK].”

She continued: “We knew people here and associated it with happy holidays and sunshine.

“I’d read negative threads and thought ‘that will never be me’ how could anything be wrong in paradise?”

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Unfortunately, while not all of her experiences were negative, her life in Greece was more complicated than she anticipated.

She said: “I wanted to live remotely, get chickens and grow vegetables. Maybe even make some chutney. All the stuff that my new relaxed life and home where going to make possible.

“My new home certainly did appear to be beautiful and the views to die for. My Greek landlords were very accommodating and helpful.

“We were making friends slowly and did indeed achieve some of the relaxed solidarity and peace of mind we were hoping for.

“Then we started talking to people, we were treated with interest as newcomers by mostly the expat community.

“We soon realized we were paying almost double the rent of most people in the same area.

“No wonder our landlords were so helpful. We’d also signed a contract which meant we were tied in for some time, it became such a conversation topic I began tactfully changing the subject when it came up.”

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The expat community in Greece, she said, was not why she moved to Greece for.

She wrote: “Our hopes of slipping into and being accepted by Greek society where soon dashed.

“Although some are friendly, in company you would have little clue what is going on and again the only Greek people really wanting to be in our company where either half English or our landlords.

“You’re looking at a small amount of people who have moved here, the majority have moved because they are not happy with their experience in the UK and are going to have baggage as well as possibly guilt about having left friends and family in the UK.

“Your ‘pool’ of friends to choose from becomes relatively small and you spend time with people you wouldn’t in the UK.”

The family was “were planning on buying a bar” but soon gave up on the idea.

Instead, they work seven days a week “for between €2/3 an hour”.

She said: “The opportunities genuinely are limited here.

“I get the job but have to get a ‘health book’ involving a blood test, chest x-ray and stool sample because I’ll be working with food/drink.

“This makes me laugh after seeing exposed wires, people not wearing crash helmets and goodness knows whatever safety standards. I’ve often thought it’s survival of the fittest here.

“Most days I go home and cry until one day I [cried] at work and pretty much walked out. By this point I’d done nearly a month’s work, I got paid €90!”

With little money and low-paying jobs, the family found food “expensive”, particularly meat.

The British expat said: “We’re looking at options going forward and considering going back to the UK in shifts to work for agencies, then return with the money. In some ways it seems the best of both worlds in others it means spending long periods apart/alone in an already lonely place I’m not sure how that will work out.”



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