Most students from Tunisia are Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program scholarship winners. Click here to learn more about the YES Program.
Extending from the luxuriant Mediterranean seacoast to the arid Sahara, Tunisia is a North African Muslim nation that has strong ties to the Middle East. While family life can be quite traditional, and social rituals are deeply rooted in Arabic culture, Tunisia is one of the most Westernized Arab countries. Greek, Phoenician, Egyptian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European cultures all contribute to the multi-ethnic population, rich cuisine, and variety of traditions. Tunisian culture is an interesting and charming example of Arab Islamic culture blended with Mediterranean, European and Western influences. It is the result of 3,000 years as a melting pot of Mediterranean cultures combined with a genuine openness to and acceptance of others
Lifestyle and Family
Tunisia has such a rich and diverse culture; your AFS student will offer an even more extensive intercultural experience. Tolerance and peace are some of the nation’s strongest personality features. Daily life and fashion mirror that of Europe but family life is more conservative with patriarchal dominant families. Tunisia is one of most Westernized Arab countries. Education, tourism and the media have been strong factors in this, along with the modernist inclination of Tunisia’s leaders. The degree of Western liberality, of course, varies from urban to rural sectors and from one region to another: Tunisia is a land of diversity.
Tunisian families are quite close-knit. Family members enjoy being together for special occasions such as religious celebrations, weddings, circumcisions and other family events during which the extended family along with friends and neighbors gather to celebrate. Weddings are sometimes attended by several hundred people.
Teen Life and Sports
A typical day is dominated by school, homework and extra tutor-run classes after school. Most teens participate in extra-curricular sports and arts, as well as go to cafes restaurant and night clubs with friends. Dating is common.
Tunisian cuisine is tasty and diverse. Tunisians eat a lot of meat, chicken, fish and turkey, along with cereals and all kinds of vegetables. Bread is very good and is a key component of Tunisian cuisine, especially since several dishes include a sauce (with meat or chicken and potatoes or vegetable), which you eat by dipping the bread in the sauce. Some people use forks and knives, others basically use their fingers (hands are always washed before and after each meal). The national dish is couscous. Pizza is an import that is also very common.
Language and Religion
Arabic and French are the two most common languages in Tunisia, followed by English. 98% of the country is Muslim.