One of our ESL instructors that we have recruited this year has sent us this overview of his life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
So, what’s it like living and working in Saudi?
Life in Saudi Arabia as an instructor may be very different than you may perceive. There are a lot of advantages to making the commitment to come to the Kingdom for a year or more. I am currently located 3 hours North of the capital of Riyadh. The pace is moderate, the people are very kind and it is very comfortable.
Our students are true beginners and we start with the basics, handwriting, introductions, talking about food, and members of the family. Just don’t ask about any female members of the family, which is frowned upon. Having patience, a sense of humor, being open to accepting a new culture, and being flexible with a smile goes a long way here.
Time has different meanings and implications as we travel around the globe. Would you be concerned if you were to be late to meet a friend in your homeland? Would you text to let them now if you were going to be 5 or 10 minutes late? Here in Saudi Arabia, time is more relaxed. As there is a window of time when it is acceptable to go to the mosque for the locals, getting students used to Western concepts of time is one of our interesting concepts to instill in our students as we get them ready for adulthood working with Western partner companies. It is all in how you communicate with your students. As with everywhere, building confident relationships built on trust will take you far.
After work is done and I have enjoyed the scenic date farms which dot the landscape during the ride home, one may enjoy the rest of the day on the compound. Whether you wish to relax and watch a movie on your big screen in your flat, take a dip in one of the pools, have a workout at the extremely well equipt gym, or catch your favorite football team back home in the commons area with some new friends, life on compounds offers men and women a wealth of amenities.
You may enjoy a set of tennis, play a game with new friends on a football pitch with better grass than your local park back home, or relax in the sauna or whirlpool on a cool winter’s night. Yes, it does actually cool down here, and at times, it does rain.
There are regular shopping trips arranged by bus to large shopping malls and well stocked supermarkets, complete with electronics, specialty sections with favorites from back home, basic clothing, and kitchen gadgets. Though we do have a market at the compound, it is good to have options. You may also enjoy going out for a meal with friends. Some of the local hotels offer buffets with dishes you may not see or taste elsewhere.
Saudi Arabia is a wonderful opportunity to grow as a person, as there are limited outside distractions. You can get into shape, improve yourself professionally, and have a chance to live in a place most people only see on a screen. You and your bank account will be happy you made the decision.