LIFE IN TBILISI

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FAQs 

Q: Which part of the city is located the Tbilisi Teaching Medical University HIPPOCRATES?   A: Our University is located in the center of the city - VAKE.

Q: How easy is it to travel around the country or the region from Tbilisi? 

 A: Fairly easy. Depending on where you’re going, international air travel can be a pain (only a few flights a day depart Tbilisi, and most arriving flights get in at inconvenient times, often between 1 and 4am). For regional travel, small carriers like Pegasus often have cheap direct flights. For longer flights, expect layovers in Baku, Istanbul, Munich, or Doha (London if you’re lucky). It is cheap and fairly easy to take a marshutka (minibus) or an overnight train for travel to Baku or Yerevan. It is very cheap and very easy to get around Georgia via marshutka (there are several marshutka hubs around Tbilisi, like Didube and Station Square), and there are overnight trains to other cities like Batumi or Zugdidi. For day trips to more isolated locations (Davit Gareja monastery), you can also split a taxi with a group of friends. 

Q: Is it safe to drink the water?

A: Sort of…? It’s really your call. Some people do and some don’t. The Tbilisi water source itself is pure, it’s just that the pipes are older, and often have mineral or bacterial buildup (but it isn’t nearly as bad as in St. Petersburg, where you will almost surely become violently ill from drinking any water not thoroughly boiled). It’s totally fine to shower and brush your teeth with, although the mineral content might make your hair more brittle than usual. 

Q: Where is the nightlife?

AErrr…best to keep those expectations low. As of now, Tbilisi is not the sort of city that has go-to bars and clubs. A place that is packed out with a great crowd one night can be dead the next. Some places are more reliable than others, but you generally have to just stay in the loop before deciding to go out. Part of this may just be the Georgian drinking culture–in my experience, most Georgians view going out and getting drunk as going to a dinner party at a restaurant/friend’s house as opposed to going clubbing or dancing. So the demand for clubs seems fairly low, and the establishments come and go quickly. 

Q: Are locals welcoming towards foreigners?

A: Absolutely. Georgia has a legendary reputation for hospitality that stands to this day, and many Georgians take significant pride in being good hosts to foreign “guests.” It is not uncommon for total strangers to take an interest in your life/how you got to Georgia. Most people under 30 speak at least basic English and are happy to practice with foreigners. Minorities, however, might have a more difficult time– Chinese-American friend was subjected to constant staring and pointing, along with periodic shouts of “China!”/”Japan!”/”Bruce Lee!”, laughing, kung fu noises, and people speaking “Chinese” at him. 

QWhat can I expect of living in an average Tbilisi apartment? 

AApartments vary good. Wifi is easy enough to install if your landlord doesn't have it set up already. Just about every apartment has its own washer, but dryers are extremely rare, so you will probably have laundry lines on your balcony/courtyard. Unless you have central heat, the winters can be difficult. 

Q: How reliable is public transportation?

A: Very. Taking a bus or the metro around Tbilisi will set you back less than .50 USD, and (at least downtown) most routes run every ten minutes or so. A marshutka (minibus) is a slightly more expensive, but usually runs faster and more regularly to distant suburbs. There are periodic strikes–during my year here there was one marshutka driver strike and one bus driver strike, both lasting only a few days each.