Common misconceptions and clichés about life in Tunisia

Hello everyone,

Old clichés die hard, as the saying goes... and living in Tunisia can generate lots of misconceptions in the eyes of the people.

What are the most common misconceptions about the expat lifestyle in Tunisia?

What are the most common clichés about life in Tunisia in general?

Did you have a biased view of the country before moving there? What is you view now?

Thanks in advance,


One of the most common misconceptions is that people are going to be hostile towards you because you're American.  I can't speak for other MENA countries but people here are very warm and welcoming to me.  I have had people stop what they are doing and help me when they see me struggling to communicate.  This shocked me a lot when i first got here 2 years ago and still surprises me sometimes.  I didn't expect that here.

I don't speak the local language and I thought maybe they would dislike that but I try to and people get a big kick out of it.  They don't mock me or anything and try to help me out.  They are very accommodating but, make sure to know at least SOME French.  It helps a lot.

The most common cliche here that is HELD by Tunisians is a lack of work ethic which I've found to be 98% true.  There are some hard workers here who show up to their job on time and give 100% to their jobs but they're not common.  Out of 100, there is probably 2 or 3. 

I didn't have a biased opinion before moving here as I knew very little of the country.  I figured it was an okay place to live.  Having been here for 2 years, I do miss the US though.  Customer Service here is a joke and not found in any part of the word.

Hi Priscilla,

Thanks for your newsletter re cliches in Tunisia.

Since my kids were five my wife and l were bringing our two kids to Tunisia....after the first visit, lm going be very brief here....we (they) wanted to return, which we did until they were 16.

We're from the UK and have always felt safer in Tunisia than the wife was able to walk home to our apartment at 2am after visiting friends, and feel safe.

They Tunisians are lovely people and have always made our stays worthwhile. We have a lot of friends there, more so than here in the U.K.

THe food is fresh and the shops, away from the tourist areas are always filled with fresh cheap fruit and veg.

We've always regarded the country as our second home and have not been back since the sad incident on the Sousse beach....we WANT to go back but our nanny gov have told us we "mustn't"... therefore cancelled all flights.

Miss the place terribly and would walk back there if l were able.

To all Brits (and Americans) who haven't've no idea what you're missing....people SMILE, say "good morning" and actually have a calm way of heart goes out to all those who are suffering hardship at this present time due to the "terrorist threats" but feel confident, it may take some time, that it will rise like the proverbial Phoenix.

Meanwhile, we all send hugs, love and kisses. Paul.

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