Work and Travel in Macedonia
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN MACEDONIA FOR TRAVELLERS
Macedonia is a country formed out of the wreckage of Yugoslavia. This young country is finding its feet and there’s lots of volunteering opportunities in Macedonia for those who want to help. The vast majority of these jobs don’t require any qualifications. You just need to bring your enthusiasm!
When it comes to work and travel in Macedonia, you’ll get to experience a culture on the fringes of Europe. Our travel guide to Macedonia is going to show you everything you need to know about travelling here.
1. Work in a Monastery in Macedonia
A significant part of the population is devoutly religious and you’ll find lots of working monasteries across the country. These monasteries always welcome volunteers.
The work can be anything from helping to reconstruct the actual monastery to gardening work. Conditions are basic and you’ll be expected to live without many of the luxuries you would normally expect. Areas like Demir Hisar are hotspots for those who want to engage themselves in this type of work in Macedonia.
The requirements of different monasteries differ, so make sure you look up what to bring. For example, some monasteries provide food but you need to bring a sleeping bag.
2. Teach English in Macedonia
Young Macedonians are looking towards the West. There’s a major brain drain in the country as young people seek a better life elsewhere. Help them accomplish their goals by becoming an English teacher in Macedonia.
As you travel in Macedonia, you’ll find that young people are eager to learn the language. The majority of the demand centres on the capital of Skopje, but you can find work across the country, including in the pristine locality of Lake Ohrid.
As long as you’re a fluent speaker you won’t need to demonstrate any prior experience or qualifications.
3. Become a Conservationist in Macedonia
There’s a budding conservation movement in Macedonia. Spend your time helping conservation group protect the endangered birds of the region and cleaning up the environment.
Much work is being done outside the cities to clean up the environment, particularly around areas like Lake Ohrid.
You don’t need to have any prior experience to join a conservationist group. They just want you to be able to work hard and to assist in their projects.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR MACEDONIA
Macedonia may be a European country, but they aren’t part of the European Union (EU) or the Schengen Zone. However, you don’t need to worry about the visa requirements because they have a liberal and open visa system.
You can get a 90-day passport stamp if you’re from the UK, the European Union (EU), North America, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and Australia. This is easily renewable by crossing the border and returning. The border authorities aren’t strict when it comes to this.
South Africans must bear in mind that they need to apply for a Macedonian visa in advance. This is still valid for 90 days. Thankfully, the visa process isn’t as bureaucratic as some other Slavic countries, so you should get your visa reasonably quickly.
Chinese citizens must also apply for a visa in advance, but it also needs to be endorsed before they can enter the country.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN MACEDONIA
Spring in Macedonia is like much of Europe but warmer. It’s a great time of year to work in a monastery because the conditions aren’t too hot nor too cold.
You may also want to consider a homestay on a farm as you travel in Macedonia. Spring is the main planting season and locals are always grateful for the extra help. It’s your chance for a cultural exchange and your opportunity to discover the real Macedonia.
The summer season is ridiculously hot, with temperatures in August regularly exceeding 40C. You should be prepared for this by choosing volunteering opportunities in Macedonia that keep you inside.
This is why we recommend English teaching at this time of year. There are plenty of summer schools across the country that are crying out for native English speakers to provide them with support.
You can also work in orphanages and with the elderly. You don’t need qualifications for this. Most of your work will revolve around keeping residents company and keeping the orphanage/care home clean.
The autumn season cools down and is one of the best times of year to work in Macedonia. Again, this is the perfect season for working in monasteries and working on farms.
Refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for more information on some of the things you can do there.
Macedonia is a mountainous country and receives snow in parts of the country throughout winter. The only seasonal work available in winter is working on one of the ski resorts.
Popova, the Sar Mountains, and Mavrovo are just some of the ski resorts that open for business in the winter. Apply a few months in advance and you could find work on the resorts here. You could be working as a ski instructor or you could be simply working on the staff as a cleaner.
It helps if you have some prior experience because most workers are skilled and the standards are high.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN MACEDONIA
Foreign volunteerism is common in Macedonia, so don’t expect any problems if you decide to pick up one of the volunteer opportunities in Macedonia.
You should remember that Macedonia has been embroiled in a political spat with Greece over the name of the country for many years. You should avoid commenting on politics, especially now because this is a time of high tension. Try to stay away from the topic of Greece entirely.
Other than that, you’ll have no problems as you travel in Macedonia. You’ll find it an easy country to work in, with a Western and Slavic feel all in one.
Do you want to work and travel in Macedonia?