Expat Guide to Ethiopia Living in Africas Oldest Civilization

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Welcome to The Expatriate’s Guide to Relocating to Ethiopia: Living in Africa’s Oldest Civilization

Where is Ethiopia?

First, let’s clarify where Ethiopia is located. Contrary to popular belief, it is not part of Egypt but rather an independent country in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, and Sudan and South Sudan to the west.

Historic Culture

Ethiopia is known for its rich and ancient culture. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, a Christian denomination established in the 4th century, remains influential in Ethiopian society. Moreover, Ethiopians take immense pride in their history, showcased through its numerous historical sites like Lalibela, Axum, and Aksumite Empire ruins.

Moving to Ethiopia: Safety

Safety is a common concern for expats moving to Ethiopia. Despite some instability in certain regions, the overall crime rate is relatively low. It’s essential to be aware of local customs and potential scams targeting tourists, as well as adhere to travel advisories from your Embassy.

Cost of Living

Comparatively, Ethiopia boasts an affordable cost of living. While access to basic necessities might be less readily available than in developed countries, the cost is significantly reduced. Basic utilities, accommodation, and supermarket trips can amount to less than $600 per month in major cities like Addis Ababa.

Work and Education

Employment opportunities exist in various sectors, including diplomacy, healthcare, and education. For expats with children, Ethiopia offers multiple educational options, such as international schools and local NGO-supported programs. Regarding Ethiopian schools, they offer competitive standardized test results, especially in math and science.


Though English is often used in business and diplomatic circles, learning Amharic, the most widely-spoken language in Ethiopia, would be advantageous for social interactions and engagement with local communities.

Living in Ethiopia: Conclusion

Moving to Ethiopia may be an adventure filled with challenges, but it also promises a lifetime of unique experiences. The cultural, historical, and social aspects of Ethiopia are second to none, making it a sought-after destination for expats seeking a new adventure. By understanding this diverse landscape and being observant, compassionate, and resourceful, the transition can be both smooth and rewarding. As always, be sure to seek guidance from your Embassy to ensure a successful relocation.