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Expat Advice: Dream vs. Reality of Expat Life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Submitted by tomsyre

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Addis Ababa

Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.

Ethiopia is a fascinating country in many ways- the geography, culture, wildlife, the national food, the music, dance, and a very laid back way of life. I have lived in Ethiopia most recently for three years and I've watched it change. Dream: (1) beautiful weather year round (unbelievable), (2) very friendly people, (3) interesting way of life, (4) employment opportunities for expats, and (5) a good exchange rate with the USD.

How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

While I have really enjoyed life here for years, it's time for me to move on. Who would have thought that it's crazy expensive now to live in Addis Ababa? So, for those with a high income or lots of retirement money, go for it. For the rest of us, better think twice about Ethiopia.

How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

Reality: While I have been here, I've seen a big change. Inflation has hit the capital city of Addis Ababa and the rest of the country hard. Everything has become more expensive over the past few years. Food (meat, vegetables, cooking oil), petrol, clothing, taxis, and especially housing. Ironically, I can now get a nicer apartment cheaper in the New York suburbs than I can in Addis Ababa. This does not make sense to me. The other reality is facing the fact of the lack of available competent medical care. As I get older, I get more concerned about this. There is no medical "safety net" here. Honestly, if you get seriously ill, you probably die. Examples: 2 MRIs in the country and only one works half the time. Only a handful of cardiologists in the country. No "real" dentists or dental surgeons to my knowledge even in Addis. The federal government can be applauded for some progress in health care delivery, but the reality is that Ethiopia is a third world developing country with some of the worst health statistics in the world. Inflation-Medical Care. Those two realities are souring my stay.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Feb 20, 2012 23:39

Good article; I have enjoyed Ethiopia for a long time as well and see the costs going up every time I go back. What is minimum now for retirement income to live there?

guest
Mar 3, 2012 18:47

Thanks for the reality update!

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