Algiers, Algeria Report of what it's like to live there - 03/29/19
Personal Experiences from Algiers, Algeria
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No, this is not my first expat experience. I have served in Europe, Latin America and three other Middle Eastern posts.
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?
United States. Connections are easy to the US through major European hubs.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is divided between apartments and a few single family homes. Most apartments are large and comfortable; single-family homes are a bit larger with small gardens. Parking can be an issue so a smaller car is better. My commute to work is general less then 15 minutes via car. The housing in Algiers in general does not come with large yards.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
The staples are available on the local market; however, there are no US imported groceries and only a few European brands available. People often bring food back with them if they have been out of the country to Europe or the U.S.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
I wish I had shipped in more Asian and Mexican spices and food. Additionally, pet food and supplies are very expensive in Algiers. For consumables I would focus on liquid items as the Embassy has only diplomatic pouch for mail.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
There are restaurants available for just about any taste.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
Through the Embassy mail room.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Housekeepers and nannies are available locally. I pay my part-time housekeeper the equivalent of about 40 USD per day. The Government of Algeria does not approve visas for TCN to work as household staff.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
The Embassy has a small gym. There are also private gym facilities used by the expat community.
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?
Cash only except hotels.
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Having French or Arabic is very helpful
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Only approved taxi is the Yassir company
2. 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?
Small - streets are narrow, parking is a challenge, and traffic can be a challenge.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Internet is available but speed is not great. I can stream a TV show (usually). The flip size it is cheap I pay less than 20 USD per month.
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 vets are available. No quarantined required. Dogs are not overly welcomed.
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?
For individuals here with the US Embassy there is no bilateral work agreement so family members can only work at the Embassy. Teleworking is also an option. Local salary is very low.
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
I believe it requires permission from the local government.
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Business for work and what I would call conservative casual for public. Some Algerian women cover but not all.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
No - feel very safe here
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Any medical or dental care beyond the very basics requires medical evacuation to Europe or the US.
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?
Good - can get dusty during the summer months as sand can blow in from the Sahara.
4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
I would focus on learning French or Arabic so you can communicate your needs.
5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Mild Winter, great Spring and Fall and Summer can be hot and humid.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
The American International School of Algiers opened in 2016. For the 2019 - 2020 school year the school will include grades K-7 and 8th grade will be added the following year. The school is small but is like a big family with a very caring environment. The school is truly international representing a wide range of countries. All the teaching staff are American teachers. It is a great school where children can get personal attention in a creative and loving environment.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
Limited but you should contact AISA and speak directly with the school director.
3. 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 preschools are available at a range of costs. Daycares are not a thing in Algiers.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
Yes, but I don't have much information.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Small - overall the morale is good.
2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Good for anyone with a sense of adventure and willingness to appreciate Algeria.
3. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Travel - Algeria is a beautiful country. I have visited Taghit in the desert, along with Roman ruins in Timgad and beautiful cities.
4. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Back to travel - there are fantastic tourism opportunities for the adventurous. The tourism infrastructure is limited but if you put in the time, the travel will be rewarding.
5. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Some - tiles, carpets, jewelry.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
The city is very hilly - I was not expecting that aspect of the city.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Yes - absolutely
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your: