Living In Tunisia Expat Guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Living in Tunisia is different for everyone. While some people come to Tunisia to retire, others come here on vacation and end up staying their entire lives. The difficulty of living in Tunisia depends largely on what country you originally hail from. Are you ready to relocate to Tunisia? You need to read more!
Expats living in Tunisia might find it more difficult if they originally came from somewhere like France or the US than someone who originally lived somewhere like Japan or South Korea. Tunisia is a nominally Muslim country, although people are friendly towards other citizens no matter their religion.
However, women living in cities typically dress quite modestly, but it’s perfectly acceptable for women to wear tank tops and shorts. This attire may need to cover half of their buttocks when they go out to the beach or go swimming. That’s why it’s best to avoid wearing clothing that overtly shows religious affiliation (e.g. a Christian cross) as it may cause some backlash.
Moreover, this is purely cultural and not legally enforced in any way. Have you been surfing the internet to get the right information about living in Tunisia as an expat? Well, worry less as you’ve landed on the right platform. Substantial developments have been in moving the country forward. Would you love to explore it?
If that sounds like a yes, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will walk you through the pros and cons of living in Tunisia as an expat. Not only is that, but we have compiled this article to explain living in Tunisia as an expat, the interesting facts, ultimate guides, and more. Continue reading to get the details.
What to Know about Living in Tunisia as an Expatriate
Before we walk you through the pros and cons of living in Tunisia, it’s quite essential that you know all it takes to live here. Since the country is practically dominated by the Muslims, there are many things to consider as an expat. Well, not to worry, below are the things to know about living in Tunisia as an expat.
· Housing and Accommodation
Housing for expats is often far more expensive than it would be back home. There are also regulations that limit what can be built to preserve the Tunisian architectural style. More so, this limits how much housing can be created to accommodate the growing population.
For this reason, expats living in Tunisia will often have to look outside the cities in order to find affordable housing that meets their needs. In spite of that, the best option for most expats is a villa that comes with a garden and is at least partially self-sufficient.
Tunisia has an extensive network of highways, although most people choose to drive on them very little. However, the government has begun to construct more and more highways as the number of cars on Tunisian roads rises. But it will take decades before they can be considered a first-world standard.
For now, most people will still have to drive on smaller roads that are riddled with potholes and traffic congestion during peak hours. Public transportation exists in Tunisia, but it’s not common for expats to use buses or trains. This is because; they are typically used by poor people who can’t afford their own cars rather than foreigners.
· Making Money and Earning a Living
Many expats work for international companies that have set up Tunisian offices due to the cheap cost of living compared with western countries. In fact, some will also work for Tunisian companies, though they’re often restricted to positions requiring a perfect mastery of the local language (Arabic).
Aside from this fact, there is still an income tax in Tunisia, but it’s considerably lower than what most expats would pay in their home country. Moreover, freelancers can enjoy a good time while living in the country as an expat.
· Taxes and Cost of Living in Tunisia
The cost of living in Tunisia is extremely low compared with most countries in the modern world. Foodstuffs are plentiful, and thanks to Tunisia’s close proximity to mainland Europe it’s easy for people living here to import high quality goods from all over the world at low prices.
The local currency is the Tunisian dinar (TND), although many expats will bring the bulk of their earnings back home instead. Meanwhile, the dinar is pegged to the value of the Euro, so it tends to be very strong within Tunisia but weak compared with other currencies.
· Making Friends and Meeting People
Due to its location on the northern coast of Africa, Tunisian culture has been heavily influenced by Arab traditions and practices. Though this may seem intimidating, there are a wide range of opportunities for expats willing to make an effort.
Moreover, expats living in Tunisia should try to participate in as many Tunisian customs as possible. From sitting on the floor of cafes and going to weddings to embracing Muslim traditions like fasting during Ramadan or attending mosque on Fridays. And it’s also important to learn the basics of the local language as soon as possible.
· Health and Safety
Health care isn’t free in Tunisia, but it’s made affordable for most Tunisians by the government. Expats living here shouldn’t have any problems getting access to high quality medical treatment at an affordable price, provided they have a valid insurance policy and the right paperwork.
On the other hand, there is a risk of malaria in Tunisia, so it’s important to take precautions against mosquito bites and get regular vaccinations before visiting.
· Education and Schooling
Most expat families make the decision to send their children to local schools. These schools are typically expensive, but they offer the benefit of allowing the children to become fluent in Arabic while learning about Tunisian history and culture.
Some expat parents send their children to international schools (usually French) instead, which also teaches them French while giving them a more international education than that available locally. Higher level education is difficult for foreign students, and most universities require either Tunisian citizenship or a long-term visa in order to be admitted.
In addition, the best option for foreign students is typically postgraduate studies, where they already have an established background within their field of study. Besides, all university instruction is carried out in Arabic – the exception being higher level international institutions like the University of Carthage.
A Brief History about Tunisia
The history of Tunisia begins about 5,000 years ago when various nomadic Berber tribes settled in the fertile land along the coast and in the nearby mountains. Over time, these tribes began to form city-states and small kingdoms ruled by a number of different dynasties.
Among these were the Carthaginians, who established an empire that controlled most of North Africa. In 146 BC, Tunisia was conquered by Rome and organized into a province known as Africa Proconsulare. Besides, in the 5th century, most of Tunisia was conquered by the Vandals and they established a kingdom here that lasted for nearly two centuries.
The Byzantines ruled Tunisia from the late 6th century until approximately 640, when control passed to the Umayyad Arabs. The Arab conquest created a diaspora of Arab peoples across North Africa, and Tunisia evolved into a vital crossroads between the east and west.
In the early 8th century, Tunis was ruled by an autonomous dynasty of Berbers known as the Aghlabids. By 800 AD they controlled most of modern-day Tunisia and parts of eastern Algeria. The next few centuries were a time of great prosperity in Tunisia, and it became a center of learning and culture.
In the 11th century, Tunisia was invaded by Banu Hilal Arab tribes from Egypt. These Arabs lost control of Tunis to the Almohads of Morocco in the early 12th century, but they regained power here less than two decades later. Over the next 100 years, Tunisia was seized and ruled by various dynasties including the Almohads, Hafsids, Abdalwadid and Zirid.
Furthermore, modern Tunisia was established in the late 19th century when France invaded and colonized the country. The French granted Tunisia its independence in 1956 but retained control of several key areas such as military and foreign affairs. Habib Bourguiba was the first president to be democratically elected after independence, and he ruled Tunisia for three decades.
The overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 ushered in a new era in Tunisian politics marked by democratic reforms, free elections, and the establishment of a constitutional government. Since then, efforts have been made to resolve the country’s problems with violent extremists and to address issues like unemployment, economic reform, and government transparency.