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Moving to Tunisia in June! Any fellow Americans out there?

Hello! I live in Hollywood, CA and I'm changing my whole life in two months, moving to Tunisia, and I'm very excited and a little nervous! I'd love to hear about anyone else's experience who has done this before! I am preparing myself for the culture shock, the heat this summer, and Ramadan... What else? Would love to make some English-speaking friends if possible. :)

Welcome on board  :cheers:

You can search in the network section in the green banner above the page for American members who are living in Tunisia.
If you have questions, have no doubts to post them, I am sure there are some members who can help you and if you have general questions maybe I can help too.

What brings you to Tunisia?

Hi,
I am not American but from Scotland! I moved to Tunisia just 6 weeks ago......big difference from where I come from.
Feel free to get back to me ,

Annie :top:

Hi Lauren - where will you be living when you get here?  I'm Australian but been living here quite a few years now.  I'm in Bizerte in the north about 60km from Tunis.  Would love to assist you with answers..........

Hi I'm moving there in the next month. I'm so nervous but excited.. I'm from England. I  going to be living in hammam  sousse..  Annie where in Tunisia are you living ?.

Hello new friends!

I will be living in Beja! I am moving with my boyfriend--we are getting married and starting a family soon! I'm so excited! We are doing so much right now to get ready for the move--it is really busy so I'm not able to check in here too often, and I'm still getting used to the site. Thanks so much for replying! :)

welcom to Tunisia

hi how you doing ?when you going to move to tunisia  ? and what kind of jobs you looking for? have you ever worked in customer sevices  sector ?can you work in English call center

If you have any question i can help you :)

Which part of Tunisia are you planning to move to?

I don't want to "rain on your parade" but personally I've found the whole experience dreadful and disappointing. That said each one's experience is unique.

take care Carole

I am Irish and moved over five years ago to Kerkennah a little island down south. YES it is challenging but the people are so kind and helpful it makes alk the difference. We are only Europeans in our village and they include us in every aspect

Mandy
I've lived in Sousse for 9 months. 

It has been a "baptism by fire".  If you are coming to work and have assistance from your company that will help sIgnificantly.
If you are coming here as a lone female BEWARE! 

In the quieter areas people generally go about their business and apart from the novelty factor of you being foreign you should be left alone.  Sousse, however,  is a key tourist spot and attracts the wrong types that prey on women.

Wait tiimes here for a carte sejour has risen to a staggering 8 + months.
Plus the law seems to change frequently which throws officials into chaos and you get 5 different versions of what you're meant to do or where to go to obtain the right papers.. They are also making it harder for peoole to stay here but it depends on your circumstances/income.

Do you speak French and/or Arabic. If you don't you will really struggle. Particularly when you have to sign contracts etc.

If you have any specific questions then let me know so I can see what I can do to help.

Best of luck. Carole

Morning.I am alone but have many expat friends living in tunisia.. I have been offered a job  in sousse and will have friends who xan translate for me. I still feel it is the right move for me and any information  and advice would be great..Thank you.

To find work is great. Many, including me have struggled. I've decided now to build something of my own.

I'm glad you feel this is the right move for you but I would still urge caution in your dealings with the locals. 

I've moved around a lot (about to do the 38th move) and lived the bulk of my life alone with no family support from age 16, so had to be resourceful. Granted this is the first time living overseas (something I've always wanted to do but not here) but this has been more than challenging.

I have lived and worked amongst all nationalities and it's enriched my life tenfold. However, I have recieved no such welcome or kindness from the local people. They befriend you only to benefit from you. They don't embrace a multi-cultural society like we do in the UK but wear a smile of insincerity while finding a way to rip you off. This is the sad fact. Like I've said to countless people we have real poverty in England. It is not the burden of only Tunisia. Neither is it my fault that I was born in Europe so why do they think it their right to cheat me.

My only saving grace has been meeting a few wonderful people from the ex-pat community who've kept me sane and they are the only people that have shown any genuine kindness or who are trustworthy.

I wish you the best of luck. Like many I know we came to escape the rat race, to get my health back (caused mainly by long hours and stress of my jobs in the UK) and because Europe is too expensive to live with one small income or a smaller pension.

If there is anything specific I can help you with let me know.  I have finally, after 8 months of frustration, found a good lawyer if you ever need him.

I do hope your experience will be happier than mine. I've a few friends that live quiet lives and love it but again not all see this as for life. That only tends to be the case if you get involved with a Tunisian. And that's another negative ..it means if I stay there's no hope of me ever having a relationship with a man again unless I can find an ex-pat which is proving impossible.

Carole

Hi. You should be so proud of your achievements. I have watched the locals  They way they approach tourists there charm ..so so many fall fir it.. I totally agree  on the things you are saying about the locals .as a tourist going there 4 times a year fir the last 10 years it's unbelievable they can do this and most succeed. thank you for your advice carol. I wish you all the best .Mandy

Clumberdog I am with you in this!!!!  I have lived here for some years now in the North and the South and been the only 'blonda' in the village.  But and this is a big but - I am an adventurer, I love the culture here, I love everything about it and I'm here to stay!!

Thank you Mandy.

I had a former bank colleague visit me out here.  She never ventured far from the hotel.  There were tears in her eyes when she said "oh Carole, I can't tell you how much I admire you.  To drive a car from England, come to a developing country with no work and the language... wow... what a resourceful person you are"...

I am here by default.  This was not my first choice by any stretch of the imagination, just a series of events.  I'm about to move for the 4th time in 9 months.  Again there's problems with everyone and every apartment.  Lots of promises no action.  All blah blah blah.  It's taken me 9 terrible months and viewing over 38 apartments to get anything near right at a decent price.  But even now I'm making changes and getting it painted and shall remove 2/3rds of the furniture etc. 

Sad to say but most Tunisians are manipulative and tell lies.  They never respect your time and often simply fail to turn up for appointments and rarely do they deliver what they say they will.  They see Europeans as targets for sex/money/visas and will say anything to achieve their aims.  Sousse is bad for this.  My friend lives happily in Nabuel unharrassed but her partner is Tunisian.  Another friend lived in Monastir but found it hard to even go out and eat or take coffee due to the stares and harrassment. However, to balance that, I have met a decent family man who helps with anything car related, good opticians/doctors/dentist (albeit painfully slow) and a good lawyer finally (most don't know their own law or take documents from you, never do the job and never return your sensitive documents - BEWARE!) Many promise jobs and contracts don't come through or they want to pay peanuts for a 45 hour week. 

I stay only for the weather (although I froze to death in winter!) to get healthy again, and see if I can make my little project work but mainly because it's CHEAP and I am now in the "tax-fee" zone.  If I had more money I would be straight to Spain.  If I could have made it different .. I would.  Not here that's for sure.

Take care.  Glad you have a network to come into as it were.  Without my ex-pat pals I don't know what I'd have done.  You know where to find me if you get stuck.

Finally... romance huh?  I would advise any woman coming here to read
www.tunisianloverats.com   it is sad, disturbing, painful.

Carole

I'm quiet lucky I no a lot of locals in kantowi I always went away alone.suppose being a landlady of my own bar means I spot and senc them a mile off  . I wish you every success. . Take care.

I'm retired and living in La Marsa and speak passable French. I'd be happy to advise on anything, not sure where you are moving. I spent most of my life in Colorado and my daughter married a Tunisian and they will live here sooner than later we all hope. They live in Paris now. Feel free to use this: patrick (dot) batchelder (at) g male (dot) comm. You'll have to translate that into the normal email format; I do it so you don't have to go through the expat' blog.

Patrick

It would be great to meet sime Americans. But as  lovy as you seem La Marsa is a bit far for coffee! Do you enjoy living there?

I'm about to sign a 12 month contract for yet another apartment to give me time, without all the dramas I've had, to consider Tunisia but somewhere else other than Sousse or yet another country. Are there many ex-pats where you are?

Thank you.

As you may know La Marsa is considered and upscale beach town close to sidi bousaid and not far from Tunis. I do speak French which helps a great deal, especially with doctors, etc. Not great French  :) . I've been here three years now and travelled all over the country with different groups on bus trips. Have you discovered Internations.com? or maybe it's .org. At anyrate, we have a very active English speaking group from all over the world and often take Sunday trips and concerts.

It has taken a while but I don't try to "make sense" of things anymore. Like people walking in the streets when there is a perfectly good sidewalk or scheduling work and no one shows as "my mother is sick." Overall I've made the adjstment to far, far less "regulation" than the US and love it. It reminds me of being a kid in the 1950's: no seat belts! I go to the beach everyday of the summer months early, about 0700 and of course it is too hot after ten a.m. to do most anything. I find antiques at the flea market here, mostly dust collectors, but fun. Our fripe has thousands of people every Sunday.

Being a man, it may be easier for me to negotiate my way through taxis and bargaining, I don't know. But I've lived all over the world except for Asia and I'm fairly fearless as people are people no matter what their cultural background. Of course the Muslim culture takes a while to grasp and live around. I've even survived apendicitis for five days with a doc' who spoke only French!! We both got through it. I've been to Sousse several times.

I don't know about many expat's here; that is, unless they are part of a group that I socialize with I don't seek them out. The organizations and groups are the best way to meet people. I found them on the internet. If you look at Internations dot org I would recommend joining for 60 dollars as otherwise they restrict some information of activities. It really is more than worth it. It's run out of Munich and is all over the world. Maybe well meet up sometime on a trip!

Hi everyone! My name is Jessica and im moving to Sousse next june. I would really like to know if there is any girls / women living near there. I've been searching and i think this is the only "active" website where people actually make conversations. Is it possible to find friends from here? It would be so nice to have even one friend before moving there! :)

Hi Jessica .I'm moving to Sousse in the next 2 weeks.. been going to Tunisua for quiet a number of years.4 times a year.. Unfortunately  I just lost my business  etc  .if you like to contact ne feel free.Mandy.

I am also moving to sousse in july just after ramadan i hope and i would love to make friends :)

Hi Jessica
I've been here 9 months and am going to give it another 12 months and then decide if this is really the place for me.

You will have heard this countless times but Tunisia is not Europe and not for the fainthearted!  Also, as for friends it depends what type of thing you like to do and age range you'd like to be with.

If alone you will of course be vunerable.  I credit myself as being "streetwise" but I've found it tougher than imagined.  What languages do you speak?

I found a British friend on this site and she introduced me to a couple of others and I've since found two really great friends myself.  So now I have a small group of close friends who I hang out with socially.  British are very much in the minority.

Certainly, there are ex-pats who'll help with practical things like where to buy what, best places to eat/drink, painters, man & van,  beauticians, doctors, lawyers, dentist, getting a catte sejour (nightmare) where to go to rent an apartment etc... so just ask for what you need.

Rents have started to climb mostly due to the influx of 2m Libyans.

Good luck.

Excellent that you will Ramadan - it's chaos and no one sleeps!!

Good luck and I hope you will be happy here.

Me and my fiancè  have noticed rents are climbing recently as we are trying to find an apartment for quite cheap.
there were many before but now all see, to be 500dt+ for a month and when u consider that average wage is like 600dt, really seems impossible to live!

Carole789- i saw somewhere that the carte de sejour wait is 8 months + :o
If this is true, do you get a temporary cds whilst u wait?

Hi Carole!
Thankyou for all of ur advices, but i've lived in Sousse before and been visiting There 3-4 times in year since 2009, so nothing there is new for me really ;) Tunisia is my second home and even thought there is a lot of things i do not like, it's still my home. I love the culture and the people! Most of the time.. I can't stand those loverats on the beach or the way how people are always after money.. Anyhow, I've seen and traveled many places in Tunisia, but Sousse is my hometown <3 It makes me happy to see that you are so active in this website Carole and even Tunisia have been dissapointing for you, you still want give it a second chance :) I just have to say that it makes me sad to see in this website that many times when you join some conversation you have something bad to say about Tunisia/Sousse. I believe you have you reasons for it and i really wish you could see the better side of this lovely country too....
I wish all the best for you and good luck, and shukran one more time! :)

Ps. Even thought im christian, i really like the athmosphere of ramadhan! I feel like it just ended and here it comes again! :) sorry my bad english, im sure there is a lot of mistakes in my text.. :D

Ala khir!

Yes anything from central Sousse down to Tantana is around 500 - 800 tnd pm.

As mentioned, the influx of 2m Libyans and Europeans into Sousse has pushed house prices/rental prices up considerably.

I am on my 4th move in 9 months. It's nigh on impossible to find anywhere quiet! I now have a tiny salon, 2 decent sized bedrooms, ancient kitchen and decent good size bathroom for 500 tnd. I paid to have the salon painted, bought a washing machine and will be replacing most of the furniture in time as I want modern/clean. I also had them take all the carpets/curtains out as it stunk of smoke. I shall buy new. But I see this as a stepping stone to a fully UNfurnished where the rents are less.  In terms of property ownership ..I'd need to be convinced. New builds are nice but poky; older properties more space but all need serious renovation!! Unless of course you have money ..

I knew my life here would be very different but I've "compromised" as far as I'm willing to go now!!

Alternatively, live elsewhere eg it's cheaper in Nabuel/Hammamet. That is something I may consider longer term. Or further out still where the mentality is very different to Sousse. Not Monistir though ..you will die of boredom me thinks!!

Yes anything from central Sousse down to Tantana is around 500 - 800 tnd pm.

As mentioned, the influx of 2m Libyans and Europeans into Sousse has pushed house prices/rental prices up considerably.

I am on my 4th move in 9 months. It's nigh on impossible to find anywhere quiet! I now have a tiny salon, 2 decent sized bedrooms, ancient kitchen and decent good size bathroom for 500 tnd. I paid to have the salon painted, bought a washing machine and will be replacing most of the furniture in time as I want modern/clean. I also had them take all the carpets/curtains out as it stunk of smoke. I shall buy new. But I see this as a stepping stone to a fully UNfurnished where the rents are less.  In terms of property ownership ..I'd need to be convinced. New builds are nice but poky; older properties more space but all need serious renovation!! Unless of course you have money ..

I knew my life here would be very different but I've "compromised" as far as I'm willing to go now!!

Alternatively, live elsewhere eg it's cheaper in Nabuel/Hammamet. That is something I may consider longer term. Or further out still where the mentality is very different to Sousse. Not Monistir though ..you will die of boredom me thinks!!

Yes. Few years ago it was a 2 month wait now it's around 8 months. You MUST ensure that you have a "provisour" provisional card incase you get stopped. Often what they tell you at the Bureau des Estrangers is inaccurate. I had to do my application process twice even when I took an Arabic speaker with me!! I'm still waiting for mine.

The quittance has gone up in price quite dramatically.

I like to be very honest and upfront in my dealings with people. If I can save others some of the pain and upset that I've experienced in moving to the country then I will be pleased. It was through the deceit of certain Tunisian people in the first place that my life here for the first 6 months was very hard and painful and I'm a capable person.

There is nothing wrong with the country per se it has many stunning parts and is away from the stesses of Europe. Apart from the constant noise!

I think where things have fallen down are the attitudes of the people. I could tell you some things that would make you wince!

I go about the day with an open mind and heart and a smile on my face. I am speaking some French now and a few words of arabic but am not welcomed everywhere, that's for sure. I have been, in some cases treated as an object of ridicule.  Mainly because I don't have a husband ... oh please!!!   Like having "a man" is the be all and end all of life. As independent European women we are viewed as odd. I have also been shocked by the prejudices of people which seem to me to be rooted in the 17th century.

I'm aware that I'm a guest in this country and do my utmost not to offend and to adapt etc but there comes a point when kindness and respect needs to be 2-way process, as we are after all one humanity.

I have a Belgian contact ...he's a business man with vast experience of life and multi-lingual. It took him 2 years to settle here.

I'm bracing myself for Ramadan. I take it you weren't driving through it!  The roads were the worst and people shoving you in queues. But yes there is an evening party atmosphere!

Anyhow let me give you a bit of good news... I'm becoming more known in my neighbourhood and through conversation grows mutual understanding and respect.

I've made huge sacrifices to begin a new life in a foreign country. I shall give it 12 months more and go from there, even if just to enjoy my newly painted walls and the beach!

Glad that you're happy. I hope one day to feel as you do.

Thank you for your comments.

PS One of the main reasons for staying is that I have made some nice friendships. I would have liked a Tunisian friend but that's not worked out for me.  My friends are Euroupean and Libyan and I utterly love the mix of opinions, nationalities and viewpoints.

Yes i understand you very well. Im speechless of how brave and indepent you are out there! Believe me, you have all my respect. My biggest problem in moving is the fact that i dont have any friends there and while my fiance will be working im scared of becoming lonely and bored at home. I experienced that last summer and it was hard. I dont feel comfortable about the idea of going out alone jogging/beach/coffee because of those stupid local men who start flirting on the streets.. Im 22 years old and once one man who could be old enough to be my father started sending me kisses...
Anyway that's why im searching for a friend that i dont have to just stuck at home. :)
This is great website!

Carole i didnt realise you had to pay for cds! Stupid me.. how much is it?

Yes rents really haVe increased.. i would like to live imin hammamet but my fiance life is in sousse so unless he finds a job in hammamet we will be staying in sousse.

I love tunisia but for me i dont think it will be llong term, purely beabecause theres no stability and we will be very poor, i hope we can lead a better life in an EU country but maybe not!
I speak no french or arabic but I'm learning arabic, it is hard!

The men can be a pain but we can teach you a few words of arabic to deflect them and how to avoid the scams etc.  From a personal, physical point of view uou shoukd be fine. Just watch your purse/mobile as you would anywhere else. Don't let strangers in your home and DON'T disclose private information about your bank/earnings/plans.

There are younger people amongst the tour reps (British) and I can ask around.  And I have younger friends who may be ok for you.

Learn some French or Arabic. I know an inexpensive conversational arab teacher. He is very safe and to date proved reliable.

Now, this is NOT to preach to you NOR to tell you  how to live your life but read this site. It will give you some clues as how to protect yourself. I will ALWAYS safeguard women's safety and rights and those of my fellow countrymen/women.

www.tunisianloverats.com

Finally, this is not to frighten you or put you off. It is about being practical and telling how it is. 

Good luck.

You mean carte sejour?

Have a job here? Not meaning to pry but legislation will be different depending on your status.

Thankyou so much Carole i don't know what to say! This is exactly what kind of encouragement i needed :) I have been stressing about this a little, but now i feel already better. Thnx!!! :)

Yes carte de sejour.. no i wont have a job there.. wil be living with my husband to be

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