Tunis, Tunisia Report of what it's like to live there - 11/03/20

Personal Experiences from Tunis, Tunisia

Tunis, Tunisia 11/03/20

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, multiple European cities, as well as Asian and African.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

USA. Connections through Paris and Frankfurt.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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4. What years did you live here?

2019 - 2020.

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5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic Mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most of it is basic concrete houses with variations of views. Most everything is a little bit up, but you can find some charm in it.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

French Supermarkets stock the main items. Dairy is not great here. It's very inexpensive but often the quality is low.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Good dairy products.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Chinese, Japanese, Italian about the only thing I don't have is a good Indian place.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Cockroaches are around. Nothing major.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

You get what you pay for. Our neighbors hire local help for very little money and have all sorts of issues (perfume being used, not showing up, long breaks) . We hired a nonlocal, pay a little more, and love the help we get.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, available and mid-priced. There is also one at the embassy.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

About 50/50. Large places and restaurants allow card use. There is an ATM at the embassy.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Christian.

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

You need some French to venture out.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Not really.

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Transportation:

1. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

It's like driving in a swarm of bees. Bring something you don't mind denting.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, their is. The embassy provides support for this and this helps iron out the inevitable issues.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Lots of providers availible.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes, there are good vets. No quarantine.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

It's a tough place for spouses as local pay is so low.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Yes, there are lots, orphanages, pets etc. etc.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes, there are terrorist attacks here and you should be aware at all times.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

You can find OK care. COVID is certainly taking a toll on providers.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Great air, right off the ocean.

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4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Not really.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It's a great temperature.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are three schools of note. The American, British and French. The American has the best facilities, the French is the strictest and the British somewhere in between,

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes, there is a Montessori school here and other options.

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3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Absolutely, tennis and soccer are huge here.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Quite large and quite good.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Restaurants, beach trips. There is plenty for everyone.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I think it's decent for both, though COVID had put a dent in the single and couple scene.

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4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Yes, Tunisians are wonderfully kind.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes, there is a large community here.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not for me or my family.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Beaches and Roman ruins.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There are hundreds of archaeological sites and just as many different beaches.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Yes, the Madina is a great place to pick up Tunisian items. Furniture, rugs, pottery, and silly red hats.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Great access to Europe, beach life, cheap and easy recreation.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Nothing really.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely. What a great place to spend a few years.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Germanic driving theories, concerns about the random pet walking down the street.

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4. But don't forget your:

Defensive driving book.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Summer_in_La_Goulette

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6. Do you have any other comments?

My family and I really love it here.

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