What is living in Tunisia REALLY like?

I am a blonde,Christian Canadian woman who is considering moving to Tunisia. But I am wondering what is it really like to move/live there? I am 31, completed University Degree, strong work experience but only speak english. My husband is Tunisian and missing his family, ready to move back home. Can someone please help me to understand how the transition will be and how the country compares to Canada regarding job opportunities, religious freedmon, health care, overall stand of living. I will have the support of my husband and his family, however can't help but wonder how life will really be? Any insights greatly appreciated.   thanks!

Hello
I am Tunisian and I hold a Canadian citizenship after years of studies at the U of Ottawa. I lived in Ottawa for years and in Toronto for a couple of years.
As religious freedom, it is there and it is guaranteed by law. hopefully no pressure from your Tunisian family.
Jobs in Tunisia, are not as high paying as in Canada. But Zero stress. The weather is magnificent.
There are many expatriate enjoying easy life in Tunisia, most of them are French. Sure it will be a rich experience, just go for it.
I know an American couple who settled in Tunisia since summer 2001, they came with 2 kids. Now they have 4 kids, and they go to an international school, the kids speak fluent Arabic, French and of course English.
Enjoy your experience

youtube.com/watch?v=ZDQEPibCnK0

Hi raeleen10,

Coming to Tunisia is a good experience... whether you are blonde with blue eyes won't make much difference, as there are already many foreigners with blonde hair and blue eyes. Maybe people will look at you more often, but isn't it a good thing?

Language may be more an issue. If you don't speak neither French nor Arabic it may become difficult for you in daily life. But you can always start learning a few words to communicate.

regarding religion, I think there is no issue. Well, it may be a little bit difficult for you to find a church if you need it (the one next to my place is actually a gym now !! :) ), but there is also a beautiful cathedral in Tunis. No one will force you to become Muslim, of course not ! And you have the liberty to be from any religion.

For job opportunities, I don't know. Maybe start looking for something before coming ! Salaries are not very high, but if you are with your husband and his family, there should not be any issue.

Overall, it's nice to live in Tunisia. As Ibehi said, weather is magnificent !! And you can easily find places as comfortable as in Canada. You'll also find any kind of food in shops here, same as in Canada, + more traditional food.

do not hesitate if you have some more precise questions !

Juliane

Thank you for the info. Your insights were reassuring but also insightful to the challenges that I will face. From what I understand from your feedback is that my biggest issue will be not speaking French and then job opportunities (along with pay). As mentioned, I did study french in school so I can easily improve there. How is the public transit? Are there particular jobs that English could obtain? How affordable are flights out of the country back to Canada for visits?

I look forward to travelling there for a visit, but will need to see how things go before moving. Decisions decisions... :S

Thank you again.

I'm happy I can reassure you, but you'll see, once you are in Tunisia, all your fear will disappear ! :)

What do you mean by public transit? You mean public transport in the city? I think it depends where you stay exactly, but the most common way of transportation is... taxi ! They are everywhere, they go everywhere, and it's pretty cheap, in Tunis and around as well. There are also some buses, but I never tried them, so I can't tell you... And in the city center you also have a tramway, it's nice, but I don't know how efficient it is !

For flights back to Canada and jobs offer for English speaking, I can't be of any help here... sorry.

Juliane

Hi there
I am a retired social worker and my husband and i moved here three years ago.We were in Toronto this summer and have to say the contrast will be massive.Shopping will be different as we don't have 30% of your selections.You may be able o look at job opportunities with one of the embassies,or perhaps one of the international companies.Transit does not exist but taxi's are really cheap and will drop you anywhere for next to nothing.People here are so friendly though and will help with anything and everything.I crumped my car and because people thought I would not want my husband to know they arranged for it to be repaired reaaly quickly.(I had told him)
Flights you will have to go from Tunis,Monastir or Enfidha  to either france or london and connect from there.Flights to London return are about $350 .
No problem with religious freedom,here is very liberal.
Lots of people speak english and will help you learn the languages.
Maybe try a holiday here 1st.

HI there, thank you for sharing your experience. I do intend to travel there for holiday in the next few months. I am really looking forward to seeing the country and meeting my husbands family! I look forward to gaining my own perspective on the country. Thank you!!

Hi
I think for someone who has never left Canada things in Tunisia will be very different.  Not worse, or better, just very very different.  When I moved here it took me two years to get used to it and four years to make any money at all.  The greatest challenge is finding a job that satisfies you and makes you even a half decent salary.  Unless you are able to work online I would say you would never find a good job here without French or Arabic, unless you teach English as a foreign language.  There is always work for a native speaker who can do this.  But Tunisia is a wonderful country so if you decide to move you will enjoy it.  It is especially good for people with young children.

Thank you for the note. I appreciate your perspective. If you dont mind me asking, where did you move from?? And what exactly did you mean by.. "very very different" could you elaborate with an example for two:)
I do have my degree and will attend to get the certification to teach engligh, as I have read that both are requored in order to teach english in Tunisia. I do not have specific experience in this, however my current job is very much similar to the role of a teacher.

thank again for your insights.. greatly appreciate!!

I came from England so I was used to having all the facilities around me.Here you will find supermarkets have a very narrow range of goods.If you are going to live in Tunis,there is a better range but nothing like Canada.You cannot drink the water from the tap,even Tunisians won't touch it.Hygiene is different,you always carry wet wipes and tissues as toilets apart from hotels don't have any paper.There are numerous things similar that you don't realise until you are here.
We got over the water problem by having reverse osmosis filtered water and we have a well as everyone does for rainwater.
The cost of living and pice of houses is much cheaper and I always feel very safe here.neighbours keep an eye out for you if you are foreign and make sure you know where to shop etc.Our neighbours treat us to meals and invite us to all big occasions like weddings etc.
I hope that is helpful and do feel free to contact if any more questions.
I have to say we love it here and wouldn't go back to England.There is always bits on the news about the problems after the revolution but they don't effect day to day living.There is the odd protest same as every country but again nothing major.
Yours
greta

HI i am from New Zealand and moved to tunisa 9 months ago..i find my experience here not as good as many others i have read on this site...first my biggest problem is i don't speak the language..but trying hard to learn french..secondly i am wondering if anyone here has been treated badly by tunisian women for marrying a tunisian man as i have...i get openly stared at and laughed at...and many times the women here openly talk about me..i see many other white women walking about the streets and wonder if they suffer the same rejection that i have had..i am respectful and go out of my way to say salam to others but most times the  woman don't respond to me...my husband says it is because there is a shortage of men in this country ... and many times he has heard tunisian woman talk about how they don't like woman for other countries coming over here and marrying one of their men..has anyone else anything to add to this.. i am really interested to hear from anyone with a similar story to mine...this attitude toward me has made me feel down..and i find myself staying home more and more...As a result of this treatment i have not made any friends here at all...
sandyrose.

Hi sandyrose53!


I am sorry to hear that you're not too happy here and I really think that it's just a matter of time until you will get used to life here in Tunisia.

I arrived here with husband and son less than 2 months ago.. But I have to say that contrary to yourself I really like being in Tunis. So, if you are living in North Tunis, please feel free to contact me in private and we can have a drink and a chat sometime :)

I am Algerian,  but lived in the uk for about 5 years. And then moved around a little before I landed here in tusinia.. So I speak English, French and Arabic quite well.

Hope you're doing well

Oum Adam

sandyrose53: welcome !!
i will be very glad to exchange any informations relating to your doubts about tunisian sociability..it's not because i am tunisian ,but here, people are very friendly especially with foreigners ..perhaps it's a problem of communication. :) welcome again .

i don't know if love is enough to make such a big shift  in his own life . mixed mariage do work when you are in your country but in case you move here , you will see that everything is different starting from mentality, religion,  social convenience  and so on. overall, people , here, are very friendly you will see:)) but surely not as kind as canadien one:)) i was in Quebec a few years ago and i am still fascinated:))
coming for a visit is a first step, then we will talk about details, i guess::)))
(excuse my bad english, i'm trying to improve it)

When I say different here are the main reasons.  The streets are very very dirty, especially since the revolution.  This is especially the case in Tunis, I don't know where you will live.  When you go out people look at you and are interested in who you are and what you are doing. The people are not at all aggressive, just friendly, but personally I found this focus difficult to get used to.   I was used to being anonymous.  Now I am used to it and I have learnt how to blend in so things are fine.  Other differences is that I had a very busy life with lots of things going on and the pace of life is very slow here.  Friends are not as important as family so all your social life will be with your family and it is difficult to make a friend of your own age who would like to spend regular time with you.  Also I was used to going out of the house a lot, to restaurants, to cafés.  Here most of your social life will be in your house, or your families houses - not outside.  Your life will revolve around your partner and where he wants to go.  For some people this is not a problem though.

hello; tunisia its number one in the world  live is life

hello im from tunisia i will b go to newzeland u send me visa,!!

No such thing as sending a visa to get to NZ.
You need to check out www.immigration.gov.nz for visas and immigration information.

My husband tunisian an he in tunisia an im in england we can't be together because of the visa I told him I come over to him but he say no bec it not a gd life in tunisia an he family don't expect me so I don't no what going to happen now

I am sorry to read your post. It must be horrible for you being stuck here whilst the man you love is in Tunisia. Would you consider moving to Tunisia full time? If I can help please just send me a message?

Annie

Hi.i am going to live there also .in the next 6 months I will be going as a single person.I' been going to Sousse el kantaoui  .3 times a year and have decided enuff here .. I have met some lovely friends and they are going to help me when I leave England. . I am sure u will make the right decision .

Hi,

I've been offered a job in Tunis. I really would like to live in a quiet country. I don't know anything about this country, I am from the Philippines and been in Dubai for almost nine years. Can anyone help me to know about Tunisia or is there any FiIipino in this forum to help me?

I am thinking to accept the job and might come on May. Please help me.

With this new governement in place, the country is back to normal, peaceful and relaxed, don't worry, you'll be safe, make friends in this forum so you're not alone there.
good luck

Lived here nearly five years no problems even during the revolution. People really kind.I have a daughter who has lived in Dubai twenty years and loves coming on holiday here

amazing

sihemt :

With this new governement in place, the country is back to normal, peaceful and relaxed, don't worry, you'll be safe, make friends in this forum so you're not alone there.
good luck

Thanks so much for your advice, will definitely do that :)

clumberdog :

Lived here nearly five years no problems even during the revolution. People really kind.I have a daughter who has lived in Dubai twenty years and loves coming on holiday here

I know I will also love the place as I'm a nature lover, this is why expats in Dubai are in love with Tunis too. Will be happy to know more about the place though. Thanks :)

SOUSSITOUNSI :

amazing

thanks  :)

Hi clumberdog,

I read the input you gave to another member and I was encouraged.  I am currently struggling with the position of deciding on a move to Tunisia or not.  I have been living in Northern Virginia, USA for the last 20 years, and my husband has a job opportunity to work in Tunis in connection with the US. Department of State there.   He has been there many times but I have not and he needs to accept this position or not  before I will have a chance to visit.  I am very open-minded and well traveled, lived in Turkey for a year when I was 20, and am quick to pick up languages, and so it seems that many of the obstacles people face in a move such as this are not as much obstacles for me.  Yet, I am still nervous about such a big move.  It will be a commitment of at least five years. 

You sound very positive about life in Tunisia, although realistic as well.  Is there anything else I should be concerned with in a move such as this? 

I appreciate any input you could give me. 

Thanks.

Sylvie

There are a lot of Americans and Europeens living there who are very happy and live a normal life with no worry. The terrorists are in the mountains between Tunisia and Algeria.
The country's first priority is sécurity, my family live there very happy life. We're going this summer for 3 weeks.
Go spend few weeks there and see if you like it.

I'm Michael. I'm a christian and I happen to be a Nigerian. I studied civil engineering as a course. I'm thinking of moving to Tunisia but I don't know if I'm making the right move as I speak English only. I want to know if I'm going to have communication problem or not. I really love to settle down in Tunisia Parmanently. I have nobody I'm coming to meet though. I am single. Please can anybody help? I want to know if I'm making the right choice. Thank you very much.

my sister is in love with a tunisian guy, is tunisia a safe place to live? my sister is from the philippines. what are the culture or tradition in tunisia?  please help my sister!

Hi all I been in Tunisia 6 months love the country , people are amazing go out of your way to help you . Unfortunatlley I cannot find a job anywhere and  as much as I don't want to go back to England I feel I have no choice 😢

mandyv74 :

Hi all I been in Tunisia 6 months love the country , people are amazing go out of your way to help you . Unfortunatlley I cannot find a job anywhere and  as much as I don't want to go back to England I feel I have no choice 😢

Is teaching English not an option?

Hello
Contemplating a love to La Marsa area next year (job offer already)
What is the air quality like in the Tunis area?
Are there many parks/nature areas nearby?
Are there regular meet up places for ex-pats/Arabic classes where you can meet people?
Thanks
Helen

Hi teaching English is a option but I have no qualifications  :(

you could offer conversation lessons
not grammar....

[at]Raeleen10 Hi, did you moved to Tunisia?

I am considering moving there in the near future, I want to know how is like?

Hi Everyone,
I accepted a position in Tunis and will be moving there soon.  Are there any recommendations on what I should bring from the USA?

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