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Living in Lebanon
A practical guide to the way of life in Lebanon
Lebanon combines a vibrant economic climate with unparalleled opportunities for leisure (both in Beirut and in the touristic South of the country). Find out what living in Lebanon entails by learning about the country's healthcare, transportation, education and more!
Life in Lebanon
Healthcare in Lebanon
Lebanon has a mainly private healthcare system, which is run by highly skilled professionals who provide a very high level of care. It is estimated that 90% of Lebanese healthcare is private, meaning that it is difficult to find a public doctor or hospital to treat any ailments for free. The overall cost of healthcare in Lebanon per person is estimated at 499 USD per year. For this reason it is crucial that any visitor or foreign national have health insurance to cover them for the entirety of their stay in the country. If you don’t have insurance, healthcare is very expensive, and a cash payment will be expected in advance of any treatment.
On the plus side, Lebanon has the highest rate of physicians per capita of any of the Middle Eastern countries. Physicians are well trained and highly skilled, and there is treatment available in every specialty across the country. Most of the hospitals are situated in Beirut but there are plenty of doctors and hospitals available for those living in the country.
Transportation in Lebanon
Lebanon is not an easy country to navigate in general. Roads are in very poor condition and there is a high accident rate across the country, whilst drivers are known for being reckless and dangerous. For foreign drivers used to the more relaxed driving and high quality roads, Lebanon’s road system can be a shock and can take some getting used to. Main roads in particular can be very dangerous as there are no street names and a high concentration of drivers, particularly in Beirut and Tripoli. Drivers should also exercise caution on mountain roads, which are generally one car roads on a two way street. Fuel prices are also quite high.
If you do want to drive while living in Lebanon, you need to have an International Driving Permit, which will need to have been certified by Lebanese officials on your arrival in the country. You should also be prepared to stop at checkpoints along the road to show your papers without question.
If you choose not to drive in Lebanon there are plenty of other options. Buses are fairly regular and are cheap, and are thus a popular option with locals and expats alike. Note, however, that there aren’t always set schedules and stations can easily be missed.
In cities, taxis are another very popular way of getting around and service taxis run like buses in that they take groups of passengers on specific routes, rather than being booked in advance, and cost the same fare every time. You can also book a taxi of your own so that you don’t share with other passengers, but this will be more expensive.
Education in Lebanon
Education in Lebanon is mandatory for children between 3 and 14, and is set out in three stages; pre-school, basic education, and secondary education. Children begin pre-school at 3 or 4 and finish secondary education at 18. Next to Arabic, English or French are taught at a very young age, and once children move out of primary education, English or French are the standard medium for teaching mathematics and science.
Tertiary education is available in the form of universities, technical or vocational institutes, and 52% of young people in Lebanon attend university or another form of higher education.
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