Whether you are moving to Lebanon to study or to work, or whether you are a diplomat assigned to a post in our country and are bringing your family along, there are important matters to consider before you take that big jump across the ocean. Finding common ground with the locals and interacting with the culture are just some of them.
Let’s talk first of all about the job market since this would be your breadwinning source, hence the most important one, especially if you have a family to take care of. We know the common belief that there are no jobs in Lebanon, however, as per Trading Economics, our unemployment rate has decreased to 6.20% in 2018 from 6.30% in 2017.
As per the same source (2019), various European countries are even at a higher rate of unemployment, like France that is at 8.5%, Italy at 9.90%, Spain at 14.2%, Turkey at 13%, South Africa 29%. Go figure it out!
All Lebanese residents will tell you that Lebanon’s daily life has its challenges and frustrations. Not all entirely though since it does have also several advantages that we can’t possibly disregard as insignificant; our all-year-round moderate weather and our lifestyle are just some of them.
If you live abroad and have been offered a well-paying and growth-worthy job, take your time to consider if you are up to take the whole Lebanon-package as it is, with its ups and downs, its cons and pros, so you can come to live the Lebanese experience fully. You won’t be the first foreigner to have done so. Actually, you will be one among many.
Many expats who have tried it would tell you that living in Lebanon could be thrilling with its ups and downs, and even exciting and exotic -imagine, the Land of the Cedar and ancient sites! Sure, that’s really up to them if they have enjoyed the Lebanese friendliness and joie de vivre, all while getting to know the Lebanese market and the dynamic structure of Lebanon. It has appealed to many expatriates, some have even lengthened their stay.
As per their feedback, it could be rewarding at various levels, acquiring that newness of growth of both their expertise and characters. For foreign students, it has been even enriching and fun while they have set to acquire serious education in our not-so-little-demanding universities.
Besides, people putting Lebanon on their bucket lists of countries to visit is because of all the great vacation stories they hear from their friends and acquaintances. This isn’t surprising at all. Lebanon has been a favorite vacation destination for visitors around the world, and not only during summer.
All four seasons in Lebanon have their lifestyle charm and upbeat activities. Working or studying all year round in an unboring country like ours, while getting to know the culture and interact with the locals, is quite a rewarding experience.
Imagine experiencing Lebanon both living and working or studying; all seasons through, not just summer. It could distract you out of your boredom or from your seriousness towards life, just because it is a country rich in fascinating varieties and there are always activities to do after work or after class, and on weekends.
The number of ideas that your Lebanese colleagues or classmates will come up with would be uncountable. One thing for sure, it’s kind of impossible to get bored in Lebanon. Even our local issues keep the adrenaline going.
There is another important factor to take into serious consideration before you decide to make the move, and it’s that living in Lebanon means living socially active, and you wouldn’t be able to avoid that.
You will be dragged to events and a variety of activities, invited to homes for family meals, treated like an old friend or a family member, and even be surrounded at all time by locals eager to help and make you feel special.
Don’t come live in Lebanon if you are a loner who is strict about being by your own and living secluded, or if don’t like your neighbors knocking on your door when you haven’t gone out of the house for three days in a row, or your peers calling on you if you haven’t shown up at work or in class one day, or if you dislike being greeted all the time everywhere you go with “Marhaba” and “Hey, how are you?” and “Come, come, have a coffee!”
Basically, count that factor in your list of pros and cons when deciding, because a socialite you will become, and many caring friends you will have, and many invitations you will get that you can’t even fit in your calendar. My point: Once living in Lebanon, you will never get to pass by unseen, or be again a stranger in a crowd, or spend a weekend alone.
And there is more! That Lebanese culture of ours, which some find eccentric and some find exotic, with its multi-facets, multi-ideologies, multilinguistic exchanges, and various subcultures could be overwhelming to newcomers yes but also enriching.
It’s kind of unique as wealth and even fascinating. It is an important factor to consider if you are not the type of person who could possibly enjoy such cultural experience on a daily basis.
And within that cultural variety comes our cuisine, delicious, healthy and generous ….and also the overwhelming varieties of restaurants of all world cuisines and coffee shops of all types and styles everwhere. Wherever you are from, we bet you won’t miss your country’s cuisine, for we might probably have it in Lebanon.
That said, you never know when an opportunity to come to Lebanon for work or study will be knocking on your door. You might find yourself considering stepping out of your comfort zone and routine to embark on a new life in that small country called Lebanon, where all historical sites and exotic places are within an hour or two road trip.