Moving to.. Tanzania??

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
5295 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Idunn:  I have never been there but my husband was born there. He came to Canada when he was 5 so he barely remembers much about it. It has changed alot since he came over 20 years ago though. We want to go and visii there one day because we heard it is beautiful but I’m not sure about living there. I think it would be a huge shock compared to where you are living now. The cultural gap is huge as well as they probably arent as “westernized” as we are used to so it would take alot of getting used too.

Post # 4
Member
6407 posts
Bee Keeper

What an adventure that would be!

Sorry, I don’t have any advice, just excitement for you. Like you my moves so far have not involved that extent of cultural difference.

Post # 5
Member
2840 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I have a friend who travels there often for work. I don’t have any concrete advice, but I know that she enjoys it! 

Post # 6
Member
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@Idunn:  I haven’t lived or worked in TZ (though I’ve travelled there) but I’ve lived and worked in East Africa.

Do the postings note which area of the country? TZ is still fairly rural, though Dar is fairly nice. Cost of living is quite low. In urban areas, levels of English speaking is typically high but not always in other areas. Do these programs cover language training costs? KiSwahili is not very difficult to learn if you put in the effort.

Post # 8
Member
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Idunn:  I’m from Tanzania!

Left when I was 5, but visit there often. I was actually just there this summer, came back in September. 

Depending on which area you live, you may be surprised on how “western” it is. Areas like oyster bay in dar (for example) are very suburban. Dar, parts of Arusha, and Dodoma are more “city centres”  There are also many rural areas where Swahili skills are more necessary.

What part of tz will you be moving too, and what will you be doing there? 

 

Post # 13
Member
2381 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

My advice is kind of biased because my sisters best friend was just murdered there last year, but be very careful who you trust!    She practically lived there for the last 7 years before her death, she only came home once in awhile to visit family and raise money for the children and woman over there,  and was murdered by someone she was very close with.   It’s very corrupt and you really need to be careful In certain parts

 

 

 

Post # 14
Member
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@Idunn:  No McD’s in TZ (or anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa except South Africa, if I remember right!). Plenty of ‘fast food’ though.

As I said, I’ve lived in surrounding countries and have only travelled around TZ for a few weeks on a holiday. East Africa as a whole is very wired these days – mobile phones everywhere, plenty of access to the internet – you might find you’d be paying comparable rates to what you’d pay at home for internet access in your home, though (this was the case for me in other countries); internet speed varies a lot as does quality of service. In-door plumbing is a yes, unless you’re in very, very rural areas. If it’s working for a British company with international wages, I’m certain you’ll have access to living accommodations more in like with what you are used to. In cities, there are often serviced apartments available.

TZ is a bit different from where I’ve lived as there’s a larger Muslim population, and that can impact how you’re perceived as a woman, especially alone. I’ve always been treated very well in countries I’ve lived but there are certainly segments of the population who have more negative views of white foreigners (or who hold certain perceptions of your wealth, morality, etc) – but that’s the same anywhere you go, really. Obviously respect is often given when it’s received, if you know what I mean.

Working culture is different in East Africa than what you might be used to – things tend to move more slowly, with different expectations about time and scheduling and who should do what. I hate making blanket statements about such things because this of course varies from business to business and from country to country, but this is something I’ve experienced in countries I’ve worked in and hear as a number one complaint from expats. Cultural differences take some getting used to.

PM me if you have other questions 🙂

Post # 15
Member
1332 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I don’t have any Tanzanian specific experience, but from observing expat communities, I think that someone in your position (higher paid, foreign company) would be able to maintain the same general standard of living. The expats I known (those who have “real” jobs, not volunteers or student researchers) tended to live in large houses with all Western amenities, had personal vehicles, frequented expat/Western establishments and had a mix of expat and wealthier local friends. That kind of a lifestyle has it’s advantages and disadvantages-you can easily tuck away into your Westernized cocoon whenever you want, but you also have to make some effort in making sure you take advantage of the cross-cultural opportunities.

Even though you will probably have access to all modern comforts they won’t work as well. Slower internet, gas shortages, less selection at the supermarket, fussy plumbing. Oh and of course there’s “African time.” Don’t schedule for a repairman to come by at 9 if you have a work meeting at 10. 

Gender roles? You’ll hear and see some stuff that absolutely astounds you, as in “there are people in this day and age who still think this way?!” Then again, there’s some pretty gross attitudes towards women that still exist in the Western world too. Living in the type of community I suspect you’ll be living in, you probably won’t stick out like a sore thumb, but you might get significantly more male attention. Personally, all the attention I got was harmless, if annoying-such declarations of love from strangers. Some people did have horror stories, but hey that’s true everywhere.

You’ll probably meet people who don’t even blink when they find you’re a foreigner, people who are fascinated by it and people who ask hilarious questions-like asking if you know Obama even though you’re not American. You’ll probably be asked for financial assistance but on the other hand, I’ve found that Africans across the board are very hospitable in that they will open up their homes to you, serve you lots of food (and be very concerned if you don’t eat it all) and generally treat you like a member of the family.

Post # 16
Member
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Idunn:

That’s right! I guess I should have worded the question a bit differently! Lol

Generally speaking, I think Tanzanians are quite welcoming in nature.  There are a large number of different ethnic groups who have immigrated to Tanzania over the years.  The largest of these are East Indians, Arabs, and more recently Chinese. There are also many Expats from all other parts of Africa, Europe, North America, and the rest of the World.  The Caucasian population is also quite high. (For example on my flight to TZ this July, the majority of the people on the plane were European—safaris/and mt Kilimanjaro climbers I would guess, based on their gear and clothing. My DH, who was visiting TZ for the first time thought we were on the wrong plane, lol).The tourism industry is huge in TZ so generally people are accustomed to seeing travellers and immigrants from different parts of the world.

My favorite part about my country is that despite our diversity and differences (immigrant population, plus more than 120 tribal groups) we have been able to maintain peace.  We have had no civil uprisings or war due to ethnic differences that are sometimes common in other countries .  I believe our culture is very open and welcoming. We are collectivistic by nature, and so sometimes visitors and immigrants who come from a more individualistic society are sometimes surprised at the level of hospitality of some groups in TZ.  Of course that varies between regions, people, and groups, and so like a PP mentioned, be careful not to readily trust everyone you meet. (But really, this is the same all over the world)

My least favorite thing would have to be the effects of having huge disparity gaps.  The gap between the rich/affluent and the poor is HUUUGE. So security can be a huge concern. This creates more crime, and therefore more measures to prevent crime rather then addressing the issue of poverty. Visiting TZ and staying in the more affluent areas is quite restrictive. There are huge electric fences outside every private and public residence. Bars on all the doors and windows of every private residence and public residence.. etc.. Corruption is still a huge concern, but again all of this is the same in all countries and continents where such a disparity gap exists. (India, Jamaica, Brazil, etc.)

 If the location of the job will be in Lindi, it is a coastal town about 5-6 hours from Dar. I believe Islam is the dominant religion of that area, if I remember correctly.  There is a large number of Arab and east indian population in that area, so I can’t speak to the culture of that area because that is not the culture I am from.

However, with that said, if the company is a big UK corporation, typically they will connect you with an expat community, and provide housing and services that is similar to what you are accustomed to. In terms of internet, and indoor plumbing I would imagine they would set you up with reliable providers, and provide accommodation that fits your needs.  Sometimes water and electricity can be inconsistent in TZ, but many people have their own back up generators and huge storage units of water where they store backup supplies, so you should be okay in this area if they provide backup resources. All of the times I’ve visited, I’ve never been without running water, electricity, or plumbing in the cities.  Only when we visited rural villages– but even in some places in the villages there was access to running water, electricity, and plumbing. (Just don’t drink the water straight from the tap anywhere in TZ)

In terms of the general view of females, I am not sure about how that would look like in Lindi, however if it is anything like Dar (for example) women have come a long way, especially in the workforce.  It is not uncommon to see female directors of large companies, females in government positions, etc.  But like all other places in the world, you always need to be aware of which areas to avoid, and which areas are safer. 

No McDonalds in TZ, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find a good burger 😉 There are many other fast food places in TZ that go by various names. I’d also encourage you to try local cuisine. Our food is so flavorful and aromatic—but of course I may just be biased.

Feel free to message me if you have any other questions!

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