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Beirut-Lebanon Guide For Expats •

Welcome and Ahlan w Sahlan!
“Let your home be your mast, and not your anchor.” – Gibran Khalil Gibran

So you’re new in Lebanon, or you’re considering making the move to this extraordinary country, and you want to know the ins and outs of how to make the most out of life here. Or, perhaps you’re looking to gain an understanding of how the systems that are in place here work. Either way, let Eastwood International School's Expat Guide help you start off on the right foot.

The following information will give you a general overview of Lebanon’s history, language and culture, as well as its famous sites and transportation systems. In addition, this guide will offer some insights that you won’t find anywhere else in terms of what to expect when obtaining residence permits, finding housing and mingling with the locals. Let's start off with a bit of history!

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HISTORY

When living in any new country, it’s important to understand the interworking of the country based on the context in which it exists. The earliest evidence of civilization in the territory that is now Lebanon comes from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods (otherwise known as the “New Stone Age”).
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CULTURE
AND BASIC ETIQUETTE

As is customary in Mediterranean countries, Lebanese communities place a great deal of importance on family, hospitality, and deep cultural ties to the local food and language. It is not uncommon to be invited to someone’s home or shown a level of generosity that an outsider may not be accustomed to.
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LANGUAGE

The offical language of Lebanon is Arabic. One thing that most Arabic-learners find when coming to Lebanon, is that the formal Arabic that is taught in schools does not resemble the day-to-day variety of Arabic that is spoken by everyone.
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RESIDENCE
PERMITS

An ideal situation for obtaining a residence permit is through sponsorship. This way, you won’t need to provide much more than a passport, four to six passport-size photos, and a medical report to your organization or employer.
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HOUSING

Finding housing can be a difficult task, however a good place to begin is the Facebook Group called Apartments in Beirut. There are some listings that fall outside of Beirut in the Metn region, however most are in and around the city.
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GETTING
AROUND

There are many ways to get around in Lebanon using public transportation. The most common ways to get around are by taxi, Uber, Careem (the local system similar to Uber), and service (pronounced servees).
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HISTORICAL
SITES

There are a number of incredible historical sites in Lebanon, many of which date back to the Iron Age during the height of Phoenician civilization. In addition, there are numerous sites that were established or revamped during the time in which the Roman Empire was at its height.
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NATURE
AND HIKING

In Lebanon, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to observe and nature hikes to take part in. Of of the most noteworthy nature excursions to participate it are the Cedars of Lebanon. The two main locations to visit the cedars are in the north near Bsharri, or in the Chouf in Barouk. Both can be reached by car or by tour bus.
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RESTAURANTS

Oh the food! One of the highlights of living in Lebanon is most certainly the gastronomical variety that is so deeply embedded in the culture. There are innumerable places to try all the flavors that this country has to offer.
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WINERIES
AND BREWERIES

The Mediterranean climate and rich soil of Lebanon make for an idea environment for all sorts of horticulture. If you are a wine connoisseur, or simply enjoy a glass of vino from to time, then you'll have to check out the array of wineries that this country has to offer.
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MONEY
AND EASY CONVERSION

Most stores, supermarkets and restaurants accept payment in debit card or credit card. They will always ask you if you prefer the amount to be take out in “dollars or Lebanese” (“dolar aw lebnene” in Arabic).
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SUPERMARKETS,
MINI-MARKETS AND DELIVERY

Major supermarkets are available in Lebanon, and you’ll be able to find just about everything you might need. Some of the bigger chains are Spinney’s and Carrefour. For specialty items, look for a Spinney’s signature story (there is one Downtown Beirut).
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Further Questions?
We hope that our expat guide has given you some helpful information and insights for living in Lebanon, and that it helps you make the most out of your sojourn. For further insights, you can check out the Expats in Lebanon Facebook group that was created in 2012. It is a forum that is used by many expats for advice and other helpful tips for easy living. Now all that’s left is to board the ship and set sail—we wish you safe journey and a pleasant stay!
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