Djibouti - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You need very little local language here. The expat community is so concentrated that the few restaurants/hotels/stores we regularly frequent all have English speakers on staff. There are French language courses at the embassy, and I have seen ads for private tutors on Facebook. - May 2022

I speak French and my spouse did not; spouse got by with broken/limited French and English. Locals will appreciate your efforts in French. - Sep 2020

Not much. Most people speak English and Somalian. - Apr 2018

People are speaking English more frequently, especially at the more popular expat restaurants and grocers. You can take French classes at the French Institute of Djibouti and the Embassy offers French tutoring. If you can learn some Somali, now THAT would go a long way. - Jun 2016

Je ne comprond pas Francais. Sorry, that's the only French I really know. I get by fine without it. - Aug 2015

You should at least learn French, but it is possible to survive on just English if you stick to the up-scale shops. - Feb 2013

You can survive with no French, but it would be useful to have some basic French so you can recognize grocery items etc. With that said, more and more Djiboutians speak English. There are two different versions of a menu at a restaurant - the French and the English. - Apr 2010

I think you will really benefit from speaking French. It's a very French-based culture after many years as a colony. The education system is in French, and it is not very common to find people who speak English, though that is changing. You are also likely to run into people who speak neither French nor English, but usually someone will be around to translate if at least you speak French. - Aug 2008

Very little. - Apr 2008

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