Spend your time exploring the cosmopolitan capital city of Tunis, the ancient ruins of Carthage, the Muslim and Jewish quarters of Jerba, and coastal resorts outside of Monastir. Tunisia is known for its golden beaches, sunny weather and affordable luxuries and brings a unique blend of Arab and Berber cultures and influence. Tunisians enjoy celebrating hundreds of international film, theatre and music festivals, nationally, regionally and locally. The country is famous for beautiful pottery, ironwork and mosaics, and you should keep an eye out for the interesting traditional dress, jebba, which is nowadays mostly reserved for weddings and other national or native ceremonies.

During the school year, studies occupy the largest part of a teenager’s life. Many students take extra lessons to improve their grades. Teenagers practice or watch sports events as a group in cafés—soccer, volleyball and handball are most popular. Tunisia has a thriving civil society and some young people are active in a variety of social clubs.

People & Community

You will probably live in the suburbs of a major city. Family plays an important role in all social relations. Tunisia is a pioneer in women’s and children’s rights, with a strong presence of women at all institutional levels and in all economic sectors. However, Tunisian families tend to be patriarchal and traditional, and you should always consult your host parents when making decisions. Tunisians are very sociable and tend to ask how your family is faring.

A photo posted by Eya Kharbech (@kharbech_eya) on

A photo posted by Eya Kharbech (@kharbech_eya) on

School

You will attend a secondary education public school, where you can specialize in math, science, technology, economics, or the arts. Each track offers specialized and general subjects. Even though French is not the official language in Tunisia, many subjects are taught in this language. School discipline is quite strict and attendance is mandatory and controlled. Besides studies, some schools offer extracurricular activities in the form of clubs, but this varies tremendously from school to school.

Language

Arabic is the official language, and Tunisian Arabic, known as Tounsi or Derja, is the national variety of Arabic and is used by the public. French also widely used in education, the press, and in business, despite having no official status. Having a basic knowledge of English or French will be an asset in the beginning and will help you learn the local language. Students can pay a fee to have extra arabic classes after school or as an alternative to school, while AFS will provide a free standard language course for self-study.

A photo posted by Eya Kharbech (@kharbech_eya) on

Food

Tunisian cuisine is influenced by the Mediterranean cuisine. The most popular dish in Tunisia is couscous, made of specially prepared semolina grains steamed and served with meat and vegetables. Tunisian diet includes a healthy dose of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits, freshly baked bread, dairy products, olive oil, seafood (a wide range of fish) and meat (usually poultry), and can be quite spicy.