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Living in Rwanda
A practical guide to the way of life in Rwanda
Rwanda appears as an earth paradise. If you look it up on a map, you will find that the country is shaped like a heart, the beating heart of Africa. Today Rwanda is not only the land of a thousand hills, but also the land of a million smiles from the friendliest people in all Africa.
Life in Rwanda
Healthcare in Rwanda
Expatriates living in Rwanda should be aware that the healthcare system is not of the same standard as in most other developed nations. Whilst hospitals do have basic equipment and are for the most part clean and reliable, many expats that live in Rwanda prefer to travel to nearby South Africa for more complicated or delicate procedures, as the standard of healthcare is far higher there.
Healthcare is Rwanda is funded by public health insurance, which is mandatory for all citizens and is managed and operated by the Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme. As an expatriate working and living in Rwanda, you need to take out private health insurance, though. As malaria presents a major health risk in Rwanda, you should also ensure to inform yourself about possible prevention measures and medication before you begin your life in Rwanda.
Education in Rwanda
Those living in Rwanda are guaranteed nine years of free education provided by the government; six years in primary school followed by three years of secondary school. Schools do offer another three years of secondary education, but this is subject to fees.
Although Rwanda’s literary levels are better than in many other African nations at around 75%, a large number of native children do not complete the mandatory schooling required by the government, and spend on average only 3.3 years in school.
As Rwandans speak a number of different languages, this is reflected in the education system. For the first three years of schooling, children are taught in Kinyarwanda, switching to French and English for the final three years of primary school. This is then continued into secondary education.
Private schools are often also of interest to expats. Rwanda has many international schools including the International School of Kigali, Hagos International School Campus Rwanda, Hope Academy Rwanda, Riviera High School, and The Earth School Rwanda.
In terms of higher education, there are a number of universities in the country, including the National University of Rwanda (NUR) and the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.
Transportation in Rwanda
The transportation system in Rwanda relies on its 12,000 km road network, 1,000 km of which is paved while the rest is dirt tracks in varying qualities. The main cities and towns have paved roads; however, if you are traveling to more rural or isolated areas then a 4×4 will be necessary.
As an expatriate living in Rwanda, you can drive legally on the roads for up to three months with a valid foreign license. However, if you want to continue to do so after this period, you will need to exchange your license for the Rwandan equivalent or obtain a separate Rwandan license from the Rwanda National Police Traffic Unit.
There are currently no passenger train services in the country. In many of the cities, however, there are semi-established bus networks operating, and you will be able to find taxis, which are then often shared between travelers to lower the cost.
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