Dili, East Timor Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Dili, East Timor

Dili, East Timor 09/26/17

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I have lived at 5 other overseas posts throughout Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

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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?

St. Louis, MO is home. It's frustratingly difficult to get to Dili. Our family's first time flying to post through Dallas, Seoul, and Bali took over 70 hours because of a missed connection in Seoul. If everything goes right while you're traveling, it can still take 30 hours or more to get home. You can only get into Dili through Singapore, Bali, and Darwin (Australia).

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3. How long have you lived here?

One year.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Expat-quality housing in Dili is nice, although on the smaller side of what we have experienced living overseas. There are very few true apartment buildings, but single family homes don't necessarily come with a lot of green space. My family lives in a gated community within walking distance of the Australian Embassy and QSI international school and we're only about a 10 minute drive to the US Embassy in the "heaviest" traffic. Many of my colleagues either live close enough to walk to work or ride their bikes.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are somewhat pricey since most products are imported from either Australia, Singapore, or China. The selections in the markets are improving all the time, which is good; but you can't always count on finding the items you were so excited to see on one trip to the grocery the next time you go there. You can finally find most of what you're looking for these days, although not in the huge variety that you may be used to in the States.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

We had a consumables shipment and used it to stock up on favorite soups, contact lens solutions, bargain sizes of shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, body wash, comfort foods, Dr. Pepper (seriously!), dishwasher tablets (very difficult to find here), and certain cleaning supplies that we like to have. Pet owners also have a hard time finding quality dog and cat foods and kitty litter.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Our only true fast food restaurant is Burger King, but there are plenty of quality restaurants around to eat at or that will deliver. Good Asian and Indian restaurants, seafood houses, Italian fare and even a really decent Mexican joint are all available.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

It's all about the dengue mosquitos in Dili. They are terrible here. Many landlords and housing compounds hire fogging services, but I kind of think all that does is make the mosquitos angrier because they so easily develop a resistance to the insecticides being used.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO or diplomatic pouch.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Easy to find or they will find you if they know you're new in the neighborhood. Cost for a full time nanny or housekeeper is probably $250 to $300 per month. There are labor laws that limit the amount of hours you can hire a non-Timorese worker for so you have to be careful hiring someone freelance. Most people I know have found Timorese helpers through a local agency.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The U.S. embassy has a decent gym and there's a really nice one at the housing compound we live on, but only one or two others in town that I know of.

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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?

We rarely use a credit card here and stick to a cash-only policy while we're eating out or shopping. There are ATMs available and some of the grocery stores will take debit cards, but ones not tied to a local bank don't always work.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There are an abundance of Catholic churches here, but I don't know about English services. For Protestant churches, there's the wonderful Victory Family Centre (the main international church) and another place called The Potter's House which is a local congregation that offers English translation. There is also a Mormon congregation here, but I don't know any details about them.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can easily get by on English alone but Portuguese is useful for reading grocery labels. Tetun is not a difficult language to learn and it's nice to get some basic phrases down for taxis and the outdoor markets.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Possibly. Sidewalks are not the best quality and there aren't many elevators; but there aren't many high-rise buildings either. The worst part for someone with disabilities would probably be the limited access to good medical care. If your disability would be a serious consideration in an emergency situation, I would think hard about that before coming here.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are cheap, although there is only one reputable service provider (Blue Taxi). Plenty of yellow cars are on the roads, but they aren't metered and are known for taking advantage of expats. Microbuses are also available (about 25 cents to get all the way across town), but they are recommended for safety reasons.

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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?

Cars are fine in Dili but you'll want an SUV or sturdy truck of some kind if you plan to drive out into the districts any because of deplorable road conditions throughout the country. In the rainy seasons, already-bad roads become impassable, and this is true from one end of East Timor to the other. Don't bring a sports car or any vehicle that you don't want getting banged up by passing motorcycles. You won't be able to drive fast enough in town to enjoy a high speed car and the roads out of town are too bad to drive them on. I know some people who try to get away with not bringing a car to post, but I really caution against this. Dili may be a small post, but it is not easy to get where you want to go from one side of town to the other on your own. None of the residential areas are really close enough to the good shops and restaurants to walk to, and you will need to be able to get out of town sometimes for a break from Dili's monotony.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

OK, so here's the thing - East Timor is not a good internet post. I had better speeds in Cameroon 7 years ago than we have here now and it can be seriously frustrating to deal with. You just can't let it get to you. Somehow we can still stream Netflix, but huge downloads can literally take a couple of days to finish. It also affects how you're able to use internet-based video game systems such as the XBOX ONE. If you're hoping to be able to kick back and play Call of Duty online with your friends back at home, you're going to have some days where it just isn't possible. Learn to close your laptop, put down the controllers, and grab a book when the internet lets you down. You'll enjoy the post a whole lot more that way.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Local cell service is readily available and inexpensive. Bring an unlocked phone with you if you have to have the latest editions, though. It takes a long time for the new iPhones to make it here.

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Pets:

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?

Our best vet recently closed her practice and moved back to Australia. I think there is one more in Dili, but this is one of those areas where you probably won't find what you are looking for. East Timor requires a quarantine period in Australia before any animal imports (ONLY Australia) and it can be prohibitively expensive to ship your dog or cat here. We chose to leave our Yorkie home in the US with my mom rather than go through this process.

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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?

Education, NGO's, volunteer work. You can probably find something to keep yourself busy, but local pay scales are low. I think telecommuting would be rough given the internet situation.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

If you are a medical professional of any kind, please consider volunteering your time in the outlying districts. There are countless Timorese families who live hours away from any kind of quality medical or dental care.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Too hot for formal wear and not many opportunities to dress up anyway. Our embassy does not have a Marine Security Guard unit, so we don't even have a Marine Ball to attend here. I wear capri pants and sandals to work all the time, although business casual is the norm at the embassy.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Home break-ins are common, even on secure compounds. Also petty crime. I don't feel unsafe here, though.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

This is a forced medical evacuation post. For the U.S. embassy, Singapore is our medevac point, and you will most likely end up going there at least once or twice during your tour. There's a small medical center that can handle some needs, but anything that needs serious treatment or diagnosis will need to be treated out of the country. Eye doctors are scarce and there are very few reliable dentists are here, so even something like a broken tooth will require a medevac. My husband has had this happen twice already, and I was recently sent to the hospital in Singapore because of an issue with a racing heartbeat. The only way to properly diagnose me was to see an outside cardiologist.

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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?

Air quality isn't bad here at all. There's not much industry, so pollution mainly comes from burning trash and the like.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Gluten-free foods and mixes are available but you may have difficulty explaining food allergies in restaurants.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

It can be difficult dealing with the isolation of East Timor and feeling cut off from communicating with family and friends when the internet is down. I don't think there are many mental health workers available locally, so if you feel like you need to talk to a professional, you will need to consider finding someone who can talk to you via Skype or Facetime. The U.S. embassy has a regional psychologist visit post a couple of times a year from Jakarta, and she offers videoconference consultations.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Warm, tropical, and summery all year long with rainy and dry seasons. In the rainy season, heavy showers are mostly confined to late afternoons and at night, leaving hot, humid days. It can be cooler up in the mountains, so do leave all your sweaters and jackets behind.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There's QSI Dili for those who want an American curriculum and schedule, or Dili International School for those who are looking for the IB curriculum and a southern hemisphere calendar. My two children attend QSI (grade 5 and grade 10 this year). It's a very small school (less than 100 students from pre-K to upper school) with basic facilities but a good heart. QSI schools use a subject masteries program, which has been fine for my son and daughter, but they just cannot compete with international schools at other posts when it comes to facilities and opportunities to compete in sports or academic programs. The high school has fewer than 10 students currently, so it's impossible to sustain sports teams of any kind.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There's no true special needs program at QSI, but the classes are small enough to where the students get plenty of one-on-one attention and help when they need it.

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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?

QSI, Dili International School, and Ba Futura offer preschool classes on a half-day basis. I don't know the costs but I think they are reasonable.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Very few organized classes. Snorkeling, paddle-boarding, and kayaking are fun activities that are easy to find, though.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The American community is pretty small, but you'll love the Aussies, Kiwis, and expats from all over Asia that you'll meet. There's also a good-sized Portuguese population. Morale is actually really good. This is laid-back island life at its best.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Happy hours at the U.S. and Australian Embassies are very popular and happen several times per year. We like to hang out at some of the beachside restaurants where the tables are right on the sand and you can play in the water while you're there. Movies, spa days, game nights, and cook-outs with friends are fun. Rotary Club has a group here that is active and there's also a hash group.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

This is a good post for anyone who doesn't need to be constantly entertained to be happy. It is relaxing, for sure, but you have to find your own fun.

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4. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There are some great places to hike or ride your bike here in Dili. At one end of town, there's a giant statue of Jesus overlooking the waters around Timor that you can climb the stairs to and the beaches behind the statue are gorgeous. Snorkeling and diving here are great, especially if you go out to Atauro Island. There are several places that offer diving certification classes. Trips to Bali are common since there's a short, direct flight. It's also easy to get anywhere in Australia through Darwin, which is also only an hour away by air.



East Timor is truly a beautiful, untouched country with gorgeous mountains and hundreds of miles of un-touristed beaches. If you're looking for 5-star resorts, go to Bali; but untouched Timor can be breathtaking. If you're into serious cycling, the annual Tour de Timor bike race runs in September. It is grueling but worth looking into. The Timor Plaza shopping center has a movie theater that usually shows 4 films per week on its two screens. New movies are almost always released here at the same time as in the US, so we get a lot of the biggest blockbusters.

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5. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

No, definitely not a shopping post. There's one small shopping mall in Dili and a handicrafts market on weekends where you can buy local tapestries, jewelry and wooden carvings. Unfortunately, there are no places to buy any kind of good local art. The one artist shop I visited left me aching inside because I had been so spoiled at previous posts by the availability of quality street paintings and there was virtually nothing here. People looking for nice paintings for their homes buy the in Bali.

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6. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

You learn how to disconnect and how to live with less while enjoying the raw natural beauty of East Timor. The people here are very friendly and full of joy.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I wish I had done more research on the history of East Timor. It's a very young country with a volatile past that is worth exploring.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, for sure. It's a definite hardship post, but very livable if you learn to embrace the positives. You will get to know your neighbors and enjoy quality time with your family and new friends.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

High-speed internet addictions and big city expectations.

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4. But don't forget your:

Snorkeling gear, a paddle board, lots of sunscreen and bug spray, and a good umbrella. You also shouldn't leave behind at least some of your cold-weather clothing in case you happen to travel into Australia during the winter months (opposite to the US seasons) or need to travel back home in the cold.

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5. Do you have any other comments?

I tried to be as realistic as possible about the reality of life in Dili, but I don't want you to think that this is a bad post. It's honestly not bad here at all but there are some definite hardships to life in East Timor. I love this beautiful country and will be sad to leave next year, but two years will probably have been enough.

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Dili, East Timor 05/30/17

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, we have been posted to Zambia, Egypt, Estonia, Cameroon, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

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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?

St. Louis, Missouri. This presents a challenges. It typically takes around 35 hours plus but with just one delay that can go up substantially, expect an overnight somewhere. Last summer our trip to St. Louis took 48 hours and 72 hours coming back with two overnight layovers. You really have to be patient and with the changes on government travel it can really try your patience. For those government travelers definitely get your Government Travel Card.

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3. How long have you lived here?

14 months.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is typically either townhouses or single-family houses. Size is usually very good but some houses have strange layouts. With a little time and creativity you should be quite happy. We live right next to the Quality Schools International school which is awesome and have a compound with lots of kids, a nice restaurant, pool, gaming area and such. I have to say it is one of our favorite compounds as kids just get out and play within the safety of the compound. It isn't uncommon to have 20 kids out playing games outside. There are a majority of Australians on the compound who have been the best neighbors we have had of any post. When we moved in, the Australian ladies took my wife out shopping and showed her the hair salons and such. We love this part of living here. Commutes are almost all within about 10-15 minutes and offer the chance to bike or walk as well.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

It has improved greatly over the past year in terms of selection but prices are high. Pork and fish are good here but beef is definitely tough most of the time. Most produce is pretty seasonal and things like watermelon and bananas are average at best. Things like carrots, green beans, pumpkin, lettuce, avocados, onions, apples, grapes, cucumbers are generally available and very good. Other grocery items are becoming more available and we can usually find what we are looking for. We mainly buy things like flour, contact lens solution, cereal, some nuts and other baking items online. Long life milk is readily available now where it was not when I first arrived. There is a decent selection of cleaning products at most stores. There are some decent office stores but quality isn't what you would normally want. We tend to bring an extra suitcase on our trips and fill it up with bagels, cheese and other items we like. Cheese is available here but a little pricey.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

We used our consumables allowance well. Things like hand sanitizer, a good vacuum, good broom and mop.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is a decent and growing restaurant selection in Dili. Choices range from good Mexican, Italian, local fare, Burger King, Indian are available. Some of the restaurants do deliver which is nice for Wednesday night pizza nights. The prices can be a bit high. The cost of living allowance for Timor really doesn't match what the actual cost is.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Watch out for the mosquitoes. We have not had any problems with rodents but do see a rat from time to time outside. There are some snakes in the city but not too many.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Pouch/DPO through the Embassy. Delivery times range from a week to two months and expect the package to be beaten up some. Very thankful though for the service. There are no good local postal facilities. DHL is available.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

About 6 dollars per hour for help. There is a good selection of help available.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are some gyms in town. We use the Embassy gym and the one at our housing compound. Our pool/playground/tennis courts/gym at the Embassy are a blessing. The facilities at our housing compound are great too.

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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?

I wouldn't recommend using the ATMs unless you are in a bind. There are a few that look safe in Timor Plaza. We use the cashier at the Embassy. USD is the currency in Timor-Leste.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

We have a great international church that is our home away from home. We love it. There are Catholic services but I am not sure if they are in English.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can get by with just English but best to learn some of the local language. There are schools in the area.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Very difficult.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Stay away from the yellow taxis and buses. The blue taxis are good though and are metered.

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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?

It depends on how adventurous you are. If you want to seriously go into the mountains then get or buy locally a good SUV. If you are just going to do light traveling then a light SUV, car or van will be fine. This is a right-hand drive country. There are usually a good selection of vehicles available. I bought my Nissan X-Trail from a Japanese website called Cardeal and have been very pleased. You may want to bring an extra set of tires and parts. There are some decent mechanics but parts can be hard to come by.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

There is no high speed internet in Dili. Service doesn't take long to procure but it is at 3G speeds and expensive. Expect to pay about 150 USD monthly for 25GB of data which goes very quickly if you stream movies/TV or have an XBOX. Hopefully service will continue to improve though.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Definitely bring an unlocked phone. You can buy a phone here but it will cost a bit more. The cell plan isn't bad. We pay about 3 dollars a month for the phone and 10 dollars every 15 days for 2.5GB of data.

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Pets:

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?

There are a few good vets I believe but do not have any experience. Bringing a pet in does require quarantine in Australia and will be quite costly.

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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?

Most either teach at the QSI school, an NGO, work at the Embassy or USAID. The Embassy is very support of EFMs.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There is a good selection of opportunities to volunteer at school, teaching English or other areas.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Fairly laid back This is an island. Very rarely will you need formal dress. I really enjoy the tropical shirt Fridays.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Females should use good security practices by not walking alone at night and following good common sense security practices. It is a good idea to keep doors locked at home as well. You should be fine just doing the things you should do anywhere.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Dengue is a problem still in Dili but not a horrible one and Malaria can be found in areas outside Dili. You will probably be hit with tummy and other bugs more here than most places. I would recommend bringing a good supply of Dayquil, Nyquil, Motrin, Tylenol and vitamin C. A few people have had persistent coughs here as well.

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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?

Not bad but definitely worse in the dry season.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

It is hard to find gluten-free products here.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

It can be tough living on an island and taking regular breaks is a necessity.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It is about 88-95 Fahrenheit every day. Temps don't change much but there is a definite rainy season.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There is a good Quality Schools International that runs on the Masteries program. It is a very small school but the staff has been really great. It can be challenging for older kids as the amount of kids their age is quite small. The student to teacher ratio is great. Our 9th grader has done well but has struggled some with the amount of kids and things to do. He really misses having organized sports which is one reason we won't extend. Overall we are happy with the school though.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

The school can accommodate mild needs but you should consult with the school first. They will make every effort they can to help though.

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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?

I don't have any experience but there are some available and the parents seem satisfied.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

This is the tough part. There aren't many organized sporting opportunities but the school does its best. You can find someone to teach swimming though. For the older kids they can also get dive certified.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Pretty good size for the island. I love the expats here who are mainly Australian, New Zealanders (Kiwis), Asian and some Europeans. They all seem to make the best of being here and are a joy to be around.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Going to a restaurant like Cazbar on the beach, Friday Happy Hours at Timor Plaza, going to Black Rock for the night, or just going to the nice movie theater at Timor Plaza. Sometimes just hanging out by the pool at the Embassy or housing compound. We have some pretty nice happy hours at the Embassy.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Timor is what you make of it. It is an island post with poor internet, isolated and not a lot of indoor activities but it does have a very laid back lifestyle, quiet evenings enjoying the breeze, weekends diving, snorkeling or boating, easy excursions to Bali, Australia, Singapore or New Zealand and a pretty easy outdoor life. It can be hard for singles who don't get out much and can be really hard for teenagers with the lack of things to do. Families with small kids tend to do very well.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I know of although it is still a pretty male-dominated society. This is mainly a Catholic country and I have not heard of many religious prejudices.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Snorkeling, biking and running in the mountains, getting away to Australia, and just sitting in the hammock or hot tub at night on the roof with a gentle breeze and a nice book to read.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Definitely biking, running, diving and snorkeling. We really enjoy sitting at a restaurant on the beach and eating while watching the water. You can also hike up the mountain here, visit some coffee plantations or other things in the area.



Visiting Atauro island is a must as well. You are likely to see dolphins and maybe whales.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not really. There are some pretty nice local items.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Just enjoying the quiet and laid back lifestyle.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How tough it would be for our teenager.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes I believe so. Taking advantage of what each post offers is key in enjoying your time there and I have enjoyed the quiet and laid back life.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Dream of fast internet, easy trips to and from post, fear of enjoying the great outdoors.

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4. But don't forget your:

Snorkel/dive gear, nice bike, other water gear such as a paddle board, great attitude, mosquito repellent and sun screen.

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5. Do you have any other comments?

I also love the locals here as well. They are very friendly and a joy to be with. I have always wanted to live on an tropical island.

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Dili, East Timor 09/30/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Many from Asia to Latin America to Europe.

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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?

Home is difficult to define. Traveling to and from Timor-Leste is very difficult. The only readily accessible locations are Bali, Indonesia and Darwin, Australia, which are each within 2 hours. Three times a week there is a flight to Singapore, but most people transit via Bail given the regular flights and lower costs.

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3. How long have you lived here?

A little over a year.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic assignment.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

I live in an eclectic house about 2 minute walk to the U.S. Embassy, a cafe/restaurant and the beach (although not the nicest one). Most expats live in houses, some on residential compounds, while some are stand alone. Almost all are gated. There are not very many apartments available, although some new buildings are being built. Dili is for the most part, a low-lying city.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

There are a number of supermarkets spread around town, with the best being Kmanek, Lita and Leader, offering a range of mainly imported goods (from all over), some fresh fruit and vegetables and some local products. Timor Plaza, the largest shopping center in the country, has just about everything you need. Sometimes you will be surprised by what you can find, sometimes you will be surprised by the price on offer (much more than you would expect) and sometimes you need to be careful with expiration dates, but overall most things are available.



There is at least one supermarket which will get you whatever you want from Singapore for a price. There are also several bakeries around town offering fresh bread, some specialty supermarkets that stock just about everything, like Pateo which imports almost all their goods from Portugal or a new store Qilina (spelling?) that offers organic products as well, at a price. Some more specialty items you can sometimes find at certain cafes or restaurants that sell them on the side, such as granola, fresh yogurt, hummus, etc.



There are also some OK butchers in town, but you will mostly find beef and pork there -- most of the chicken, mutton, lamb, goat and fish on offer in supermarkets is frozen, even though you will find chicken, fish and goat all over the country!



While there are scores of small fruit and vegetable markets around town, I shop at the big one, Taibesse, which is an adventure in itself, but offers lots of smiling faces, curious Timorese and great quality seasonal fruits and vegetables at cheap prices. The adventurous with a bit of Tetum can even find things like pomegranates and local almonds.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

I actually planned ahead, but here were things I'm glad I did because of higher prices here: granola, nuts (besides peanuts), specialty ingredients, and organic cleaning & laundry products. As noted, you can find just about everything here (except a lot of variety in cosmetics, household goods & cleaning products), but it all comes at a higher price.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Australian, Brazilian, and Portuguese restaurants throughout town, as well as Burger King, Gloria Jeans and a lot of small cafes and one taco bar. Finding a Timorese restaurant is a lot more difficult! Several places offer takeaway, with two of the most popular takeout options being Curry Box (Indian) and Osteria (Italian).

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Ants. You will not be able to stop them, so just keep the house clean, keep the food stored away and live with them. Try to keep mosquitos under control through best practices. Some people use mosquito nets. Timor-Leste has been very good about reducing malaria, although dengue fever still exists as problem, particularly during rainy season.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Receiving is difficult as until recently there were no postal addresses (houses, buildings were not numbered), but that is changing. I have sent one letter to two different countries and they were received. Word is mail only takes a bit over a week to get to Portugal, but haven't tested that yet. Most people receive mail in country via DHL.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Available. I pay $20 a week for someone to come 1x week to clean house, wash my clothes and iron. Daily household help is available. You can hire someone to do just about anything. I also have a driver and gardener. Driver costs $3 hour, gardener just over a $1 hour. Some people use employment services such as Entrega Ba, which is quite reliable and handles work contracts.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The beach, the sea and the hills are my gym, like it is for many Timorese, but if you prefer going to a gym there are several well-stocked gyms around town, some of which are in hotels and include pools. I'm not aware of the prices though.

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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?

You can credit cards in some places, but there is usually fee to use. Forget using one outside of Dili. In about a month you will know where almost all the ATMs are. Outside of Dili, access to ATMs is usually only available in district capitals, if that. Best is to have both a Visa and a Mastercard, as few ATMs accept both.



Local currency is U.S. dollar and cash is for the most part used for most transactions.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Knowing Tetum, which is relatively easy to learn helps a huge amount. If you can't speak Tetum, but know Indonesian, you can get by in most parts of the country. Portuguese is often understood by older Timorese, given the country's history and they will eagerly practice with you. One can get by in Portuguese, if you speak very slowly. English is hit or miss, with the greatest concentration of English speakers in Dili, but don't be surprised if you hear kids or youth calling out to you as Mister (regardless of your gender).

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

For the most part, yes, most facilities are not built for those with disabilities.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Local taxis come in two varieties, the yellow taxis, where fares have to be negotiated every time and the drivers are hit or miss. Newer on-demand taxis are a bit more expensive and harder to find, but safer, offer better customer service and have a/c. Getting taxis after dark becomes very difficult unless you are in a well-trafficked tourist area. No trains. Bus service is offered between main cities at a reasonable fare, but given Timorese roads, the quality of bus drivers and the number of passengers would not be the option I take. Inside Dili, microlets, or minibuses run set routes, cost under a $1 and while crowded and not always safe, are an easy way to get around. Once again, after dark, hard to find.

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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?

If you want to get out of Dili, would recommend a 4WD or at least front wheel. Most people have Toyotas, given ease of repairs, spare parts, etc.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Nothing is high-speed in Timor. I use pre-paid service, which charges you per gigabyte, with an expiration date.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

There are three major providers -- Timor Telecom (Timorese/Multinational-owned), Telekomsel (Indonesian) and Telemor (Vietnamese). While there is competition among them, prices are fairly similar -- high. While Timor Telecom has the best network across the country, there are many places where the two competitors networks are better and more reliable. A lot of people own more than one sim cards, or change from one provider to another and don't keep the same number ...

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Pets:

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?

Don't know about qualified, but there are at least two veterinarian clinics in town. Getting pets into and out of the country is difficult, given Australia's stringent quarantine controls and the lack of direct flights into the country.

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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 those seeking enumerated employment, there are several international schools in town, as well as employment with foreign missions and NGOs, as well as aid organizations and their local partners. Some expats also work at one of the local English language schools, LELI.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Volunteer opportunities abound. Given Timor-Leste's history, it's transition to independence under UN rule and its openness to NGOs, there are plentiful opportunities.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business casual, sometimes even more casual. Timorese get dressed up for weddings, for formal government meetings, diplomatic receptions and every Sunday for church.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Given Timor's brutal history of occupation, conflict and divide & conquer, particularly in the last century, there is a lot of unresolved PTSD in society, leading to high levels of gender-based violence, domestic violence and youth conflict. Of particular concern are martial arts groups (which were set up by the Indonesians), which though illegal, continue to wage turf battles that sometimes result in deaths. A couple of months ago, there was a series of attacks using a traditional weapon during the night that left several youth dead.



In Timor, conflict can easily erupt into violence, so expats are recommended caution whenever a confrontation is taking place. The wounds of 1999 and 2006 are still fresh in the minds of many. Violence rarely targets 'malai' (foreigners). My recommendation would be to avoid walking around after dark, especially in areas you are not familiar with, especially if you are a woman.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

While there are several private clinics, access to quality health care and all kinds of medicine is limited. Most expats go to Australia or Singapore for medical treatment. Locals often go to Bali themselves. Some of the Embassies medically evacuate for almost any condition.

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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, very good. Expect gorgeous blue skies on most days. Rarely, it is just good (because of dust during dry season), but get a little outside Dili by the sea or up in the mountains and it's gorgeous again. There is almost no local industry to speak of.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Some people get sick from food, including at some of the restaurants. I guess it depends on your immunities. Not sure about allergies.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Not really. We have sunshine year round. During dry season, the locals welcome the rain by running around during the rain showers in a good mood. Some expats feel very isolated given the distance, but my cure is just to get out of Dili into the hills -- the locals are welcoming and delightful.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

This is a sub-tropical country with a very defined rainy and dry season. Given its geography however, apart from the rainy season, it's a lot more arid than other countries in the region and given the proximity to the sea, the breezes offer respite during the dry season (which can actually be a little cool at night). Weather changes dramatically as you go into the highlands.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are several international schools. The largest is the Portuguese school, which is a Portuguese-medium school with nearly 800 students, most of them Timorese, but also with Portuguese-speaking expats. There are three English-medium international schools, one based on a Filipino curriculum, one based on Australian curriculum (DIS) and one based on an American curriculum (QSI). Among the English-medium international schools, the biggest is the DIS, which runs from primary to secondary.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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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?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Some are on offer, within the schools themselves, sometimes organized in the expat community. Dili Sport Benfica has some sports camps for kids at certain times of year.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

In Dili, large. Particularly Portuguese, Indonesians, Chinese and Australians. Morale is generally good.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Some bars and restaurants in Dili have a definitive expat feel. Some are more frequented by particular groups of expats, while some have a more mixed crowd, including Timorese. There is a hash house harriers group in town, as well as other sporting clubs, particularly diving. Given the excellent Timorese coffee on order, cafes are also local hangouts, as is the main shopping center in town, Timor Plaza.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

In my opinion, it's a good city for just about everybody.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

There is a small LGBT community and Timor has surprised me in its acceptance of the community. I imagine there is still some discrimination and violence that targets the community, but the situation is much, much, much better than in Indonesia.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

The Timorese themselves, the sea, the countryside, the mountains, Timorese coffee

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6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Timor is in the coral triangle. One of the world's most biodiverse reef areas is just off the coast of Dili, about an hour long boat ride away, the island of Atauro, which is delightful for a weekend getaway. Further away, there is also another diving hotspot, near the island of Jaco.



You can dive, free dive or snorkel within the vicinity of Dili, or find great spots about an hour away in each direction. Walks along the beach, hiking in the hills and mountains, exploring the countryside, whale watching near the end of dry season, visiting weekend markets, taking in a cockfight or football match on the weekend.



If you don't mind a more rustic holiday, Timor is for you. If you are looking for high-thrills, urban life or nightlife, this is not the place.

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7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Local handicrafts include basket work and other items made from palm fronds, rustic bamboo furniture, local jewelry and traditional textiles 'Tais' which have an important role in local culture.

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8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Easy commute, warm weather year round, delightful people, fascinating history, great coffee.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How good the diving is.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Of course.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothing, apart from a few pieces to venture into the highlands or up Mt. Ramelau, you won't need much of this.

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4. But don't forget your:

Diving gear, good books, suits & ties (you won't need to many of them).

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

There are a lot, both in English & Portuguese. onely Planet guide is woefully outdated, although they publish a good Tetum phrasebook.

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Dili, East Timor 11/21/13

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Too many to list!

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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?

DC - this is probably the most remote location ever from DC. Travel could be 26 to 36 hours depending on routes. Most folks relax in Bali on route!

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

NGO and US Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Nice houses, my commute was 5 minutes by bike, hubby took 15 minutes by car.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Varies. Local products are cheaper.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Mexican food products?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Fair range; cost can be high though due to UN inflationary impact.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes carrying Malaria, Dengue and Chikengunya. My husband found a scorpion on his bathing suit one morning!

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

U.S. embassy mail - 2-6 weeks.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Depends, help ranges from $300PM to $800PM.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

At the U.S. Embassy and a few along the sea road too.

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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?

Ha ha!

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Language policy is controversial. Portuguese is only spoken by about 20%, Bahasa is useful. Tetum is best.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes - lots.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

I used to use them but apparently now they are not so safe anymore..?

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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?

SUV.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Variable and slow!

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

High costs and slow connection?

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Pets:

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.

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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?

Yes, NGOs.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Yes!

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Informal.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Not whilst we were there.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Malaria, Dengue and Chikengunya. Health services are poor. Medical evac is common.

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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.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and rainy seasons.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

QSI, very small and personal, fine for elementary level. Some wonderful teachers!

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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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?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Ad hoc when parents coach them.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Was good and fun.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Dinner and beach parties.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

YES!

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Very catholic (97%) so I would say, low profile?

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

How long to you have?! Some issue for me was gender inequality and gender-based violence.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Scuba diving and snorkeling, trips to Bali, Sydney and New Zealand.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Ataruo Island, Jaco Island, Bali (not so hidden!).

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Tips to Bali.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Lovely people, good food, amazing beaches and scenery, great hill walks, scuba diving and snorkeling is incredible. Some people went diving before work!

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10. Can you save money?

We did.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How hot is was!

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

In a heart beat.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Leave your high heels behind (men and women!)

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4. But don't forget your:

Scuba kit.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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7. Do you have any other comments?

GO!

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Dili, East Timor 04/25/13

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Barcelona, Mexico City, Khartoum, Caracas.

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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?

Washington DC. About 24 hours flying time. Connections are through Bali, Singapore or Darwin, Australia. There are not daily flights into/out of Dili.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Going on 9 months of a two year tour.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. Embassy Employee.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

All embassy housing that I am aware of is single-family homes. Most are near the embassy and beach with the longest commute approximately 10 min/15 with heavy traffic.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Fairly good and improving. Almost all food (except coffee and a few local fruits and veggies) here is imported from Australia, Portugal, China or Singapore. A few US imports are available. Food is expensive. Availability is generally good, but there are sporadic shortages of fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products. An extra freezer is helpful for buying in bulk when items are available. Most fruits and veggies are available on a seasonable basis. There is a very limited amount of frozen and/or prepared foods. Health and beauty products, cleaning products, paper products and other household items are generally easily available.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Full use of any consumables shipment is recommended. More bug spray, bathing suits, toys and children's books. All are hard to come by, of poor quality and expensive here.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are no fast food restaurants in East Timor. Local restaurants are plentiful and not too expensive. The most expensive place in town offers main course meals for approx $18-25. Expensive by local standards but not too bad, especially if you are coming from a major US city. Typically, restaurants offer Western, Indian, Indonesian, Balinese, and other Asian-style cuisines.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

It's tropical, so the normal tropical bugs are here: mosquitoes, roaches and ants. Lots of geckos too, but since they eat the mosquitoes we leave them alone.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Pouch and DPO. Local mail service is mostly non-existent. DHL and FEDEX have an office here but prices are exorbitant.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Plentiful and inexpensive. All help is live-out. A full-time English-speaking Filipino nanny (5 days week) is about $400/month. A full-time Timorese housekeeper is approximately $200/month. A part-time Timorese gardener: $100/month. Most folks drive themselves, but a few also employ drivers.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The embassy has a pretty good gym. A new public gym is set to open this fall. Rates unknown.

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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?

You can safely access a few ATMs here in Dili, but it's a strictly cash-only society here. They use the US dollar. Credit cards are only used for online shopping and travel.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There is one English-language Catholic church service.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Cable is available here with many English-l,anguage news and entertainment channels. The top cable package runs about $100/month.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

English is widely spoken among the educated Timorese and expat community. Some knowledge of Portugese would be helpful for shopping, as many products are imported from Portugal. Some knowledge of Bahasa is also helpful, as many of the locals speak this and Tetun.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

It would be quite difficult to get around here for someone with physical disabilities. There are no special accommodations for handicapped individuals anywhere.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are affordable and generally safe. Most fares are $1-2 each way. All other public transport is not safe and not recommended for use.

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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?

You definitely need a 4-wheel-drive with good clearance as there are not too many paved roads, and even those are usually in questionable shape. Driving anywhere outside of Dili requires patience and a sturdy vehicle with good clearance. Bring extra tires-you will need them. There is usually a good supply of used vehicles for sale here from departing expats.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Not really by US standards,' but its getting better with each passing month. Most internet service is still dial-up, but there are some free WiFi spot,s and 3G is now available but quite expensive. With the recent arrival of some new telecommunications companies the hope is that service will expand and prices will come down.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Bring one with you or get one when you arrive. They are plentiful and cheap here. They have recently added an additional cell phone provider, so rates should start to be a bit more competitive than in the past.

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Pets:

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?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Pet food is available at grocery stores. I am unaware of vet services.

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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?

There are plenty of job opportunities here for those who are interested. There are EFM jobs at the embassy, teaching positions at the school, and lots of NGOs and other private companies here looking for help. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities as well.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Very casual to business casual. Leave your ball gowns and tuxedos at home.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Not really. Generally it is very safe during the day and night.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health care here is below US standards. The US Embassy has a US-trained doctor and a good clinic. There is a good private clinic for small/minor injuries that is expanding. Anything beyond a sprain requires a medevac. Malaria pills are recommended, and Dengue is always a concern. Good mosquito control is necessary. There is a fairly good dentist now available who can provide basic care (cleanings/fillings) at reasonable costs.

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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?

Very good.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The rainy season is approx Nov-April and dry season May-Oct. During the rainy season we get a good downpour once a day for a short bit then sunny again.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are 2 schools here.
QSI Dili follows the American calendar and curriculum and offers grades K-8. As of fall 2013 they will only offer grades 9-12 via a virtual high school program. Our 2 children attend QSI and we are very happy with its small class sizes and very dedicated staff. It's a small school with approx 75 students this year (2012-2013). They offer limited after-school activities and no formal sports activities.
The second school is DIS and follows the Australian calendar and curriculum. They offer K-8 with a virtual high school program as well. I have only limited knowledge of this school. It has a larger student body and larger class sizes but is able to offer more diverse after school activities.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Very few accommodations can be made here due to the limited resources available. This is not a good location for students with mobility challenges.

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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?

There is a private English-speaking preschool for 2-year-olds called Dili Sprouts. It is run out of the QSI Dili campus. QSI offers half-day preschool for 3- and 4-year olds. DIS also offers preschool.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

No organized team sports, however lessons for all kinds of activities are offered, such as ballet, scuba, karate, swimming, piano, yoga, theater, etc.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Larger than you would expect for a country/city of this size. Now that the UN has pulled out, the expat community is much smaller, but there is still quite a large presence of Australians and other expats.

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2. Morale among expats:

Quite good!

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3. 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 is lots to do here. Most entertaining is done in peoples' homes. Due to the large size of the expat community, there is always something going on somewhere. There are a lot of charity events here, and the various NGOs and embassies host events as well.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

This is a great post for families with young children! Singles and couples that we know here do quite well, too. The place has a pretty active social calendar.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not really. There have been a few instances of expat females being harassed while jogging or cycling, but nothing major.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Vacations to nearby Bali, Indonesia! It's close, cheap and super family-(kid)-friendly. Singapore is great, too, but a bit more expensive to travel and stay.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Going to the beach/pool is the major pass-time. There is world-class snorkeling and scuba here as well.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Coffee and some local craft items.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The weather is wonderful. Sunny and warm year 'round. You can definitely save money here, as there isnt much to spend it on in country.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes! There is only one small mall in Dili, and the first-ever movie theater recently opened. Movies are currently $3. A gym is set to open in the fall. Eating out is a common pass-time and not overly expensive. Travel to/from Dili is expensive, however, as there are limited flights.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. We have two small children and we love it here. The school is good and it's safe and friendly. The pace of life is slower here and takes some getting used to after being in DC, but the beach and small town atmosphere of Dili are great.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Cold-weather clothing and big-city fast paced lifestyle. Here it is slow and easy, tropical style.

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3. But don't forget your:

Swimsuit, scuba gear, sunscreen, and bug spray.

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Dili, East Timor 03/12/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

A first expat experience.

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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?

Washington DC, and it is around 24 hours of flying time.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 months.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

The contributor is with the U.S. Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

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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?

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Having wonderful help five days a week. Becoming close friends with other expats. Traveling to surrounding countries. Spending time on beautiful beaches

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The warm weather year round is great if you have kids. You can be playing outside year round. You are 45 mins away from a pristine incredible beach and one that is pretty to look at and walk on will be out your front door.

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11. Can you save money?

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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3. But don't forget your:

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Dili, East Timor 03/12/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

a first expat experience.

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2. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

a first expat experience.

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3. 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?

Washington DC and it is around 24 hours of flying time.

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4. 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?

Washington DC and it is around 24 hours of flying time.

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5. How long have you lived here?

2 months.

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6. How long have you lived here?

2 months.

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7. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

The contributor is with the U.S. Embassy.

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8. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

The contributor is with the U.S. Embassy.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

View All Answers


2. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

View All Answers


3. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

View All Answers


4. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

View All Answers


5. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

View All Answers


6. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

View All Answers


7. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

View All Answers


8. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

View All Answers


9. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

View All Answers


10. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

View All Answers


2. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

View All Answers


3. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

View All Answers


4. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

View All Answers


5. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

View All Answers


6. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

View All Answers


7. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

View All Answers


8. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

View All Answers


9. What English-language religious services are available locally?

View All Answers


10. What English-language religious services are available locally?

View All Answers


11. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

View All Answers


12. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

View All Answers


13. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

View All Answers


14. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

View All Answers


15. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

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16. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

View All Answers


2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

View All Answers


3. 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?

View All Answers


4. 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?

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

View All Answers


2. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

View All Answers


3. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

View All Answers


4. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

View All Answers


Pets:

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?

View All Answers


2. 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?

View All Answers


3. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

View All Answers


4. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

View All Answers


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?

View All Answers


2. 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?

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

View All Answers


4. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

View All Answers


2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

View All Answers


3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

View All Answers


4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

View All Answers


5. 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?

View All Answers


6. 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?

View All Answers


7. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

View All Answers


8. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

View All Answers


2. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

View All Answers


3. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


4. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


5. 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?

View All Answers


6. 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?

View All Answers


7. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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8. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

View All Answers


2. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

View All Answers


3. Morale among expats:

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4. Morale among expats:

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5. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

View All Answers


6. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

View All Answers


7. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

View All Answers


8. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

View All Answers


9. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

View All Answers


10. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

View All Answers


11. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

View All Answers


12. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

View All Answers


13. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

View All Answers


14. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

View All Answers


15. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

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16. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

View All Answers


17. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

View All Answers


18. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

View All Answers


19. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

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20. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

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21. Can you save money?

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22. Can you save money?

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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4. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

View All Answers


5. But don't forget your:

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6. But don't forget your:

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7. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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8. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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9. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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10. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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11. Do you have any other comments?

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12. Do you have any other comments?

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Dili, East Timor 02/23/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I have lived in Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines.

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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?

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3. How long have you lived here?

We got here in June of 2009.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

military/government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Because of our job, our housing is very nice and secure. I have see some other home not quite as nice and the kitchens are not really kitchens but more like a hot plate with a frig. I would say if you are willing to pay the rent you can find nice houseing.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

There are several grociery stores in Dili and you can get anything you really NEED if you want to pay the price. Most goods are from Indonesia or Australia. Very few American brands.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is no fast food in Dili but we do have lots of restaurants in town. There is Thai, Indian, Italian, Pizza, Western, Vietnamess, Lebanese just to name a few. $4.00 to $20 a dish

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

There are lots of insects and malaria and dengue fever are a problem.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Mail in Dili is not reliable.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Domestic help is used and afordable. If you hire local help the cost is around $100 a month Other domestic help is much more expensive. About $300 to $400 a month.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are no real gyms or fitness facilities in Dili.

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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?

This is a cash only country. No credit cards are used here. There are about 3 ATM's around town.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

As far as I know there are no services in English. Catholic.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Indo Vision. About $50.00 a month.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Most people in Dili do not speak English so it is helpful to know some Indonesian or Tetun.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

This is not a place for people with disabilities. There is very little infrastructure and the city is not disabled friendly.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Local transportation is not recomended.

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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?

4x4 is a must here!! We have one Toyota dealer ship/repair shop here in Dili and a few small repair shops around town. Parts are hard to get and very expensive.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is not reliable here in Dili and very expensive.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Buy one when you get here. They are cheap.

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Pets:

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?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There is one Vet in Dili. He was trained in Australia.

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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?

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Conservitive.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

At this time security is not an issue. Things are pretty peacful.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care in not very good here in Dili. Most cases are medivacted to Singaporeor Darwin.

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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?

The quality of air is pretty good right now but car, trucks and motorbikes are not up to standard and put off a lot of fumes and at times black smoke......

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

There are two seasons here in Dili. The rainy season (6 months) and the dry season (6 months)It is a tropical climate and warm to hot year round.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are two international schools here in Dili. QSI (preschool through high school) and DIS (preschool through middle school homestudy high school)Both schools are adequate but very expensive for what you get. Both schools are expanding their classrooms. QSI is also upgrading it's playground.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There are no accommodations for special-needs children.

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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?

Both schools offer preschool for 3 and 4 year olds. There is no daycare in Dili. Most people hire a nanny if daycare is needed.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

No sports programs for kids. We do have a swimming teacher in town for now but you never know when people will transfer out.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large.

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2. Morale among expats:

Very high.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

We have all three in our communtiy and most seem to be very happy. There is really nothing to do in Dili outside of making your own fun. There is no movie theater, mall, shopping, bowling ect. We go to the beach, diving, swimming at the pools, each others homes ect.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I would not say this is a great city for gays as Timor-Leste is a conservative catholic country. However, I have not noticed any outward feelings one way or the other by locals living here.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I think due to the large international community, UN, UNMITT, and other NGO's, this is a very mixed communtiy and I have not seen or heard of any issues.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Making good friends with lots of people from other countries.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Diving, hiking, going to the beach

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Dili is small town and everyone knows everyone. There is not much to do in town so we spend a lot of time making our own fun by having get togethers, sports at the embassy, swimming and BBQ's at the pool,Movie nights at each others homes, ect. The diving here is also very good.

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11. Can you save money?

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, my family is very happy here in Dili.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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3. But don't forget your:

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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