For all your important questions!
Is it safe to travel to Albania?
Yes, as long as you are a smart traveler. Similar to any country you are unfamiliar with, there are obvious safety precautions that you can take to ensure your safety (i.e. not going out at night alone) but other than that, travel to and within Albania is easy, affordable and safe.
What kind of food is available? What if I have dietary restrictions?
Albania offers a wide variety of seasonal fresh fruits, veggies, wines, meats and cheeses. Their cuisine is similar to most other Mediterranean cuisine typical of this area, with heavy Greek and Italian influences. Vegetarians/vegans will have no problem finding food options since fresh fruit and vegetables are widely available. For other dietary restrictions, such as those who are gluten free, kosher, or lactose intolerant, there is little in the way of gluten-free bread products. Halal meat and fresh fish is plentiful, especially along the coastal areas. It is advisable for foreigners to drink bottled water.
How can I travel within Albania?
Public buses are widely available in Tirana and very affordable. For travel out of Tirana around Albania, mini buses called “furgona” are viable options.
Will housing be provided?
No, housing will not be provided by the National Coastal Agency during the length of the internship. However, housing in the best parts of Tirana is still very cheap compared to the rest of the world, and you will have no problem finding an abode in the heart of the city.
What is the work environment like?
The work environment at the National Coastal Agency is professional, but very flexible. Interns are given a lot of leeway in terms of projects and most work is independent. We aim to create a mutual partnership that both benefits the NCA and aids the intern in achieving their future career goals.
Do I need to know Albanian?
No, all the staff at the National Coastal Agency speaks fluent English. But this is not the case for most Albanians. Younger generations of Albanians will often speak English, but many of the older generations do not.
What are Tirana and Albania’s popular attractions?
There are many attractions and amazing things to do in Albania as well as the neighboring countries. Here are a couple examples of popular highlights.
Locally (in Tirana): Dajti mountain (you can take a cable car up, go hiking, have a picnic, parasailing, horseback riding, and finish at the rotating bar overlooking the city), Skanderbeg Square, Sky Tower (for coffee and another rotating restaurant), and Taiwan Square (lots of restaurants and shopping opportunities).
Within Albania: The coastlines and beaches are worth a visit (or even more than one!) Cities with great beaches and coastlines include Sarandë, Vlorë and Durrës. Each of of these cities is within driving distance.
International Travel: You can visit many of the neighboring countries. Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Greece are driving distance. Italy is a ferry ride away and flights to other countries are short, inexpensive and convenient.
What is living in Tirana like?
Tirana is a very walkable city. The food is especially good, you can’t get fresher food at a cheaper price than in Albania. The people of Tirana are known for being very hospitable and friendly. The park, equipped with a running lane, restaurants along the pier, and an artificial lake, is always bustling with families and runners and is very safe for an early morning or evening stroll.
Cost of living?
The cost of living in Tirana is very low. In fact, many of our interns overestimate the costs.
Food: Food is inexpensive since fresh food is so readily available. Local farms produce the majority of the food. The average cost of a meal at a very high end restaurant is usually less than $15 and street food usually less than $2 for a decent sized meal.
Housing: Housing costs in the city depend on location, but are also very reasonable. Apartments in the center of the city will be pricier than locations farther away but that is to be expected; still it is more affordable than the US.
Transportation: Transportation costs are low, usually around $0.30 one way for a bus ride and taxis are also an option. Tirana does not use Uber.