Algiers, Algeria Report of what it's like to live there - 10/05/20
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. I've also lived in several cities in the USA, Europe, and Africa.
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?
USA. Three flights to get to/from Algiers from the northeast.
3. What years did you live here?
2019 to present.
4. How long have you lived here?
Approximately 18 months.
5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Substandard in my opinion. Housing is often times surrounded by construction sites. Apartments in the housing pool seem old and dated, and are in noisy neighborhoods located on busy streets with lots of vehicular noise. Furnishings and appliances are old and dated. Commute times vary but it could take up to 30 stress-filled minutes to drive the two miles to the office. Driving seems to be Kamikaze-style here, with drivers swerving from one lane to the next and not looking when they do it. It seems to be a free for all with no real road rules in place or traffic lights. This may explain why most every vehicle you see is dented and scratched up.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Availability sparse, cost high, household supplies available but over priced for foreigners. Basic foods are available.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
I came prepared but would ship more wine and beer.
4. 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?
2. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Nothing convenient or up to snuff that I am aware of. There is a small, dingy gym at the office.
3. 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. There do exist a few unreliable ATMs at hotels and even the French banks which may or may not work or could be out of money. There are two working ATMs located at the office but they only work with locally issued cards so only the local staff can benefit.
4. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
A translator app works well. Post language classes in French and Arabic are available.
5. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Local transportation is substandard and not recommended.
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?
Very small car is recommended. SUVs, trucks, etc. are going to be problematic in terms of parking and driving as the streets are narrow.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
There are a variety of speeds available depending on what you can afford. I have mostly reliable internet and pay the lowest price which is approximately US $10 month.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
I use what is provided by the office and that is adequate.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Business casual when in the office.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Walking is hazardous. There are very few sidewalks and breathing exhaust from all the traffic can be bad.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Medevac is used for anything serious that cannot be treated/resolved in the health unit.
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?
Moderate to bad due to vehicular pollution.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Overall climate is moderate and there seems to be a breeze much of the time. Most of the year is pleasant with extreme heat for a couple of months around the end of July to August.
1. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
There seems to be a lot of socializing in the office during the work day.
2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
More suited for couples and families, but not for singles.
3. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
Language barriers unless you are a French or Arabic speaker.
4. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Weather is very nice. Desert trip in-country worthwile otherwise frequent, short jaunts to Europe are a necessity.
5. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
No. Other than overpriced, mediocre carpets, not a shopping post.
6. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Proximity to Europe is a plus.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
High heels and bicycles.