Expatriate Community in Syria
Communities of Expatriates
- The Number of Expatriates
- There is no official data on the total number of expatriates in the country. However, its community has very much developed during the last recent years, mainly in Damascus and its surroundings.
- Blogs For Expats
- For Further Information
- Immigration Authority
Ministry of Tourism
- Transportation Companies For Moving/Removals
The International Moving Club
Ranking of Cities
- Cost of Living
In spite of the increase in prices during the last recent years, mainly due to the high wave of immigration Iraqi, Syria remains an inexpensive country. Transportation, in particular is very inexpensive: A ticket costs an average of SYP 10 for a ride in bus or mini-bus between the city and the suburbs. A taxi ride costs between SYP 40 and 100.
The agriculture field is highly subsidized by the state, the pressure on basic food prices is less strong than the inflation trend. Also, the basic fruits and vegetables are of easy access to a large part of the population.
The restaurant field offers a large variety of prices: between SYP 50 for low-budget places and SYP 800 for a high quality restaurant.
The cultural outings (museums, concerts, movies, opera) are also at a very reasonable price: between SYP 50 and 500.
Real estate and education are the most expensive sectors.
- Quality of Life
The main cities in Syria are densely populated and in general, spread out of the territory (for example, it is difficult to distinguish Damascus from its suburbs, Jeremana or Domur).
They are composed of an old town in the center of the city, where the main historical and tourist sights are (souks, historical monuments, cafes and very lively restaurants, mazes of small streets) and the more residential neighborhoods in the rest of the city.
The road traffic is very dense, mostly in the morning and at the end of the day. There are very few green areas in the center of the cities. The main Syrian cities offer a very pleasant environment, with a less stressful life rhythm. Its main cities are gifted with an interesting cultural program thanks to the numerous festivals and also to the French, Danish, Spanish, Italian and Russian cultural centers. The many cafes, bars, restaurants are largely frequented by the Syrians, with their family or with friends and also by foreigners. All the cities profit from a very good security, the police is always around.
- Sanitary Conditions
Due to the heavy traffic, the main cities are very polluted.
The cities are very clean (there is an efficient waste collection system), in spite that the mentalities are not too sensible towards ecological problems (plastic bags are systematically distributed and easily thrown on the streets). This phenomena is visible when one leaves the large cities, along the roads of certain routes.
Renting an Apartment
- Description of Apartments
- The apartments and the houses display a medium range level of comfort. They are equipped with a shower, toilets and a kitchen.
- Normal Lease Term
- Many apartments and rooms are rented without a detailed lease agreement signed by the two parties. When renting contracts are done, in a more formal way, a renting lease is usually signed for a term of two or three years (can be renewable) in Damascus, and for a year in Aleppo.
- Rental Costs
It is possible to rent apartments or houses, mainly in the old city of Damascus. This type of lodging is usually more expensive than a hotel.
- Private apartment: about SYP 20,000 per week;
- House: about SYP 56,000 per week;
- Renting a room in a house located in Damascus: about SYP 1,300 per night.
- Agencies or Private Rentals
It is possible to use the services of real estate agencies. However, the simplest way to search for an apartment or a house locally is by asking the merchants in the old city who know a good number of "informal" real estate agents or local real estate agencies.
The prices vary between the Syrians and the foreigners.
- Rental Agency Websites
Yalla House: Offers apartments and rooms for rent in houses of the old city.
- For Further Information
Online rental ads.
- School Level
Education is a priority for Bashar el Assad. He has put an end to a state's monopoly on this field and since 2000, eight private universities have been created. The most renown private university is "Qalamoun ".
A project of education reform was launched in 2002. The age for mandatory school was extended from 12 to 16 years, learning English is mandatory since the first year in elementary school, French has been integrated to the course of study starting on the seventh year.
However, the public system has a tremendous lack of efficiency and it is not adapted to the population explosion.
In the superior school, the situation is very unequal in relation to the fields of study: Sciences (medicine, pharmacy, information technology, engineering) are at a satisfactory level. However, economic and social sciences, literature and research are at an average level.
The system lacks innovation and personnel. L'INA (National Institute of Administration) has been created to overcome this problem.
- International Schools
- American Institute TESOL. Consult also the list of English language schools in Syria published by the ERIC (Education Resources Information Center).
- Quality of Healthcare
- The health condition in Syria is satisfactory. The quality of doctors, trained abroad, is excellent but the medical infrastructure is under-equipped.
- International Hospitals
The main hospitals in Damascus where English is understood are:
- Chami Hospital (the most modern): tel. 371.89.70/71
- The French Hospital (no links with France): tel. 444.04.60/61
- The Italian Hospital: 332.60.30/31
In the public hospitals, one has to register in the waiting list to have an operation. In private establishments, two days of hospitalization costs about SYP 15,000 (about USD 200).
- Health Insurance
- Health care is free only in public hospitals. In private hospitals, the patient pays.
- Accessibility of the Health Insurance Network to Foreigners
- It is strongly recommended to obtain an insurance that offers repatriation due to health reasons before leaving the country of origin.
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