September 20, 2005

Concluding Thoughts

Hey, I'm back in the states now, and want to post some very final reflections...

First, though, I want to point out that I got my film developed, and there are now new pictures on the entries that describe getting lost in the medina, traveling into the sahara, the desert oasis, our camel safari, getting caught in the sandstorm, and visiting the planet of Tatooine. I hope eventually also to have pictures from the French restaurant, Le Pirate.

If you've never visited this travelogue before, in addition to the stories mentioned above, the other entries I'd highlight as among the most interesting are my experiences with Arab hospitality, and Tunisian wedding customs (in two parts).

Although in my first month I had a few instances where I felt slightly uncomfortable about being American in Tunis, later I had more positive experiences. In fact, the last month that I was there, I can't think of a single instance where someone acted displeased when they found out I was American, and many were enthusiastic. Ultimately, it seems that popular opinion in Tunisia mirrors that in Latin America and Europe: they love Americans, they just don't care much for our foreign policy or our current president.

All in all, I had a good time in Tunisia. The first month was rough... I didn't speak the language, and I had massive culture shock. In fact, if you're thinking about going to Tunisia on your next vacation, I would really advise you not to, unless you speak French or Arabic pretty well. You can't really get past the culture shock and language gap and appreciate the country for what it is without those linguistic tools. That didn't click for me until the second month. I finally picked up enough Arabic to make friends and deal competently with the everyday challenges, and it was great. Still not a relaxing summer vacation, but definitely an adventure.

Thanks for reading my travelogue!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful descriptions of your travels. Seems the experience was a worthwhile adventure.
We are glad to have you home and to have another American who is versed and a little better understanding of another culture and society.

We are glad to have you home safely.


Granny and Uncle Mark


September 25, 2005  
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October 08, 2005  
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October 23, 2005  
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October 24, 2005  
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October 25, 2005  
Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

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October 29, 2005  
Anonymous Binzart said...

Very interesting blog! I´m Tunisian student and it´s great to read others´ opinions and comments on Tunisia and its Lifestyle! especially when they are foreigners who brought some time living in Tunis and observing the Tunisian culture! Just keep telling us the stories of an American Student in Tunis!

November 01, 2005  
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November 03, 2005  
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November 17, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm an American student who wishes to study in Tunis soon. I stumbled upon your blog via google. Thank you for sharing your perspectives on living in Tunisia. I really appreciate your observations regarding the customs of the area.
Good luck with the rest of your adventures, Jessica

January 07, 2006  
Anonymous Kamilla said...

Hey! I actually came across your blog while I was searching for an Arabic program over the summer and I just wanted to ask you a few questions about the institute. I'm currently pretty much deciding between the University of Damascus and the Bourguiba Institute, since by cost they're pretty much the same. How were the professors and class sizes? Did you learn mostly modern standard or colloquial arabic? Also, how are the dorms there? Would you reccoment it for someone looking to advance their arabic? Thanks in advance!

April 04, 2006  
Blogger BigTuna said...

YOU did a great job exposing a slice of the Tunisian culture
I'm an American Tunisian and I was very impressed with your insight, it normally takes outsiders years to get it

anyway take care
p.s. loved the pictures too

December 02, 2007  

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