This is the 3rd newsletter compiled by the ACS Welcoming Committee. We hope that you are getting excited about moving to Beirut to join us at ACS. If you have any questions, you can ask any member of the Welcoming Committee, or you can email Jocelyne.
Nice to meet you: Tsharrafna
Good bye: Mah es salameh
Thank you: Shukran
How are you?: Kifak (m), Kifik (fem)
How much is this?: Adday heyda
I want: Baddeh
I don't want: Ma Baddeh
I live in Hamra: Beity bil Hamra
I love Beirut: Bheb Beirut
I work at ACS: Ana beshteghel bil ACS
Hurry / let's go: Yalla
A little bit: Shway
Although some people may still associate Beirut with the civil war, the following articles offer a fresh perspective. The New York Times highlights the thriving arts scene in The Eternal Magic of Beirut. For food lovers, Beirut was recently named the number 2 food destination by Travel and Leisure. Additionally, Anthony Bourdain filmed two episodes of No Reservations here. Many agree that Beirut is the hip Mediterranean capital you should visit now and that, in general, Beirut is Back.
All overseas hires will reside within walking distance of the school. Ras Beirut is the area of the city where our school housing is located and is on campus. The area is a high-end residential area. Hamra, which is a short 15-minute walk from the school, has shops, grocery stores, and restaurants nearby. Both areas, Ras Beirut and Hamra, are highly pedestrian and are considered safe for pedestrian traffic both day and night. When going out late at night, it is recommended that you go out in pairs, which is prudent advice in any major city.
For Campus Map, please click here.
Because of the fluid political climate in the region, you may want to register with your local embassy upon arrival, so you can receive warden messages and updates from your Department of State. Depending on where you are coming from, the police and military presence in Beirut and throughout the country may take you by surprise. Armored military vehicles, soldier transports and armed policemen are common and should not alarm you. It is part of everyday life and does not represent a threat.
Safety in Beirut as a Family
"As I tell anyone who wants to know what life is like in Beirut, my family and I feel lucky to be here. Beirut is a wonderful city full of charm and charisma. We enjoy walking the streets, shopping at local shops, and eating from all the different restaurants and stalls we find on our journeys. The key to being safe while working and living in Beirut is to be smart and ask about destinations before venturing out."
- Former ACS teacher with children
Safety in Beirut as a Single Female
"I have lived in more than a dozen countries, and can genuinely say that I feel very safe in Beirut, more so than the American cities I've lived in, such as Brooklyn and Philadelphia. There is very little crime here, largely due to the closely-knit neighborhoods. However, it is still a city and, of course, precautions should be followed, especially late at night. All in all, I continue to live my very independent life as a woman here in Beirut."
– Former ACS single female teacher
There is a wide variety of local shops within walking distance of your apartment and the school and teachers generally do not purchase cars. Taxis are readily available both day and night and are easily identified by their red license plates. Company taxis, such as Allo Taxi, and Uber are considered the safest and most reliable. They can be booked either by calling the company or through an app. Some teachers find a taxi driver that they like and will use one driver for all their transportation needs.
Drivers will pass you their business card upon request. You'll find that a standard taxi ride anywhere in Beirut will cost you 100,000 Lebanese Lira, which is about $4. It is recommended that you agree on the price before riding in the car. You can also take a service taxi which is a taxi that is shared with other passengers going the same way that you are. These are very cheap and cost around 40,000 lira ($1.5), depending on traffic and area of destination.
Buses are also available for 20,000 lira and run daily in Beirut, though some routes change on weekends. There are no specific bus stops (you just wave them down) and the routes can change at the discretion of the driver. This is by far the cheapest form of transportation around Beirut.
You can find a tentative bus route map and a great interactive map if you download the app Zawarib. You can find quarterly-updated, free paper copies in shops around Beirut.These prices are subject to change. Payments are made in cash.
Exploring Beirut and Lebanon
Lebanon has so much to offer from skiing and hiking, to thousands of years of history to uncover in ruins that are located throughout the country. While touring and experiencing the country is an exciting way to spend your free time, it is imperative that you are aware of the current political situations happening in the region when you are planning your outings.
ACS has two infirmaries, which are run by two full time RNs and are fully equipped with OTC medications, first aid supplies and emergency equipment if the need arises. All ACS employees are insured with a private insurance company. The school health insurance company provides ACS with one Family Medicine Physician from the American University of Beirut – Medical Center who serves us daily according to a pre-planned schedule. This doctor can provide you with medical treatment on campus, requests for lab tests, and referrals to a specialist if needed.
Please bring with you your COVID-19 vaccination card if you have received it.
If you are on chronic medications (as for diabetes, hypertension, etc.):
- You need to have a recent and detailed medical report from your physician stating your condition and generic names of the medications used for treatment.
- You need to get enough medication from your country before you arrive in Beirut to last for at least 6 months in case the medication is not available at the beginning or until we find a replacement for the generic medicine.
- Prescription medicines bought here are covered by your insurance.
You may forward your mail to either of the following addresses, as it is not advisable to have it delivered to your apartment. The school is not responsible for lost mail. Please note: bulk mail, parcels, catalogs, pamphlets, will not be forwarded.
Mobile Phone Service
If you are planning to bring a phone with you, please make sure to get a factory unlocked phone.
Lebanon has two main mobile telephone operators: Alfa and Touch. Mobile phone lines are either prepaid or postpaid. Prepaid lines are more practical because they are easier to operate. When you buy a new prepaid line, you need to have your passport or other identification. The cost of a new line is 1,000,000 LL with a credit value of 45,000 LL (around 25 minutes talk time).
Phone lines, as well as recharge cards, can be purchased at any mobile phone store. Such stores are on every street in town. Postpaid lines can be purchased from the mobile operators or their appointed resellers. You will need a valid passport or other identification, a deposit of $100 in cash dollars (reimbursed if you choose to terminate the contract), and a contract to be completed and signed. There's a monthly flat fee of $22 for postpaid lines, along with other fees for optional services. For more details please check the Alfa and Touch websites. Please note the above mentioned prices are the new pricing scheme that will be effective July 1, 2022. Postpaid lines final pricing per minute talk time has not been released yet, though it is expected to be 3 times more expensive that current tariffs.
Empowering students to solve problems with creativity and integrity, to lead well-balanced lives, and to serve Lebanon and the world community with understanding and compassion.
American Community School Beirut
Beirut | 67 Nigeria Street, Jal El-Bahr
+961 (1) 374370