English (and other languages) in Belgrade

Do people in Belgrade speak English?

This blog post is part of the “Must read” series for people visiting Belgrade. Find all other blog posts in the “Essential” category HERE. 

I’d wish I could say that we know English and that you will have no problem communicating day-to-day. But it’s also not that bad.

As I already mentioned in the article regarding Cyrillic, do not expect a high level of English knowledge in any government run entity – post office, court house, parking garages, etc. One of the reasons is the fact that usually a bit older folks from Belgrade work there, that went to school when English was not obligatory and they mostly learned Russian.

But as a general rule of thumb, if you stumble upon someone that’s younger than 40, there’s a huge chance they will understand you, at least basics.

For people in their 20s and 30s I’d say that they are usually pretty decent with the lingo and that you will get the answers you need. That also goes for the cafes, fast food and restaurants where younger people work – shouldn’t be a problem to exchange a few words.

English aside, children in Serbia mostly learn German and French in schools, sometimes Italian and Spanish. Cannot say that you will find someone that speaks any of those that easily, so better don’t even try.

So, as the general tip – just approach younger people while asking for directions or where something is, or how to fill the ticket etc, they will be able to help you most of the time.

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