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An Expat Interview with John Bennett-Collins

John Bennett-Collins has lived in North east Crete for four years. Here, in our latest part of ‘An Interview with an expat', John tells us of his life in Crete, Greece and how it compares to living in the UK. John was born in Dublin and lived in the UK his whole life before emigrating to Greece four years ago.

1. Where are you from?

I was born in Dublin, lived in UK and then moved to Crete

2. What made you decide to move to Greece?
I was sick of England. People in Crete are people orientated.

3. Have you always lived where you live now in Greece or have you changed location with in Greece?
I have always lived in north east Crete - 4 years.

4. How long have you lived there?
4 years.

5. How do you spend your days and nights usually?
Socialising with friends. Fishing. General house renovation.

6. Is it easy for foreigners to find work there?
No very difficult. The economy has hit rock bottom. Cretans tend to employ Cretan s but not a solid rule.

7. Do you understand much Greek? If so, how much?
Yes can understand and speak enough to get by.

8. How long has it taken you to grasp the language?
Twelve months.

9. Is Greek a difficult language to learn?
I think it is difficult, many words are similar but emphasis has to be concentrated.

10. What do you do for work? Is it easy for expats to find work there?
I am retired, don't work.

11. Is it mainly locals or tourists in your area?
There are only two other foreign couples in our area.

12. What do you miss about your home country?
Family, fish and Chips, real ale beers.

13. What are the advantages for you about living in Greece?
Weather. Slow pace. Hardly any crime.

14. What are the disadvantages about living in Greece?
Current economic climate - bureaucracy - exchange rate.

15. How easy was it for you to settle in to Greek life?
Not a problem - holidayed here for ten years prior to move.

16. Was it easy making friends? Expats or locals?
Yes very easy - the Cretan people are wonderful.

17. Is there anything you would have changed about your move to Greece?
Yes - I would hire a huge truck and bring all my belongings over here.

18. Do you find that there are many cultural differences in Greece compared to your home country?
Yes - the Cretan people do not regard the government as having any involvement - they enjoy life first.

19. Do you visit your home country often? If so, are you glad to return to Greece?
Once or twice a year - look forward to returning to Crete.

20. What advice would you give to anyone planning on relocating to Greece?
Get a good lawyer - never fork out money upfront - always get receipts. Speak to ex-pats living in Greece first.