Teaching in Saudi Arabia

The traditions and attitudes of Saudi Arabia have been shaped by Islam as well as Bedouin culture. Thus, expats living in Saudi Arabia will discover that family bonds are still much stronger than in many other cultures, to an extent that they permeate all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia, even in the business world.

Living in Saudi Arabia: Culture

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Cultural life in Saudi Arabia has to be in agreement with strict interpretations of the Quran. In practice, this means that the visual arts, for example, are limited to geometric, floral or abstract designs, as representations of human beings are forbidden. Although there are some cinemas in larger cities, relinquishing the joys of theater comes with the territory of life in Saudi Arabia for expats.

Music and dance form an important part of cultural life in Saudi Arabia, as does Bedouin poetry. Literature in Saudi Arabia in general is, however, kept in check by strict censorship rules. If a life in Saudi Arabia is planned for expats, they should be aware that, just as there is no freedom of religion, there is no real freedom of expression, either.

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Friendly and welcoming, Saudi Arabia draws a large number of expatriates from around the world. The culture is relatively relaxed, and Saudi Arabia enjoy a diverse environment and a comfortable standard of living. You will have great advantage of visiting in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain is a comparative “oasis of liberalism” among the conservative Muslim countries of the region. It’s popular with travelers for its authentic “Arabness” but without the strict application of Islamic law upon its non-Muslim minority. Alcohol is readily available, attracting foreign residents of nearby Middle Eastern states. Bahrain is filled with extravagant hotels, ornate shopping plazas, and a large number of luxury tourist resorts. Plentiful oil resources throughout Bahrain have fueled a construction boom in recent years that shows no sign of slowing down.

Cost of living in Saudi Arabia

Living expenses vary by the individual, although most teachers are able to save a good portion of their monthly salary.  Employment packages for teachers usually include generous benefits, which often extend to dependants as well. Furnished accommodation is routinely provided.

Things for teachers to do in Saudi Arabia

saudi5Saudi Arabia a popular nighttime destination for visitors from its neighboring countries. Dining options include anything from Western fast food, to street stalls, to high-end restaurants. During the day, shopping is an extremely popular pastime. There are a number of shopping malls as well as markets.

Saudi Arabia Travel

1) Hike w/ the Hash

Most major cities around the world have Hash House Harriers (HHH), a group of hikers that get together and explore the local terrain. What makes Hashing in Saudi so special, is the differing landscapes of the desert. With the permission of authorities, it gives foreigners-only the opportunity to mingle freely, sans abaya (black cloak women wear), and build valuable contacts to make life in Riyadh much easier. The best part is stumbling across unique finds, like desert diamonds, hieroglyphics, or desert roses. To seal the memory, end your hike next to a campfire, feet in sand, watching the sunset.

2) Hamam at Direm Beauty Center 

Basically, during Hamam, an old lady gives you the best bath of your life! You can find everyone from soon-to-be Saudi brides to curious expats getting this treatment done. It can be compared to the body scrubs of Turkey or the jjimjilbangs of South Korea. The entire treatment is done in a wet sauna, where the woman slathers you with mixtures of soap, oil, and mud. After she removes a layer of your DNA, you may find that you are a shade and a pound lighter. It’s an interesting experience that has you walking away with skin so soft and clean, as if you were just born yesterday.

3) Eat at Najd Village 

saudi_najdIf you want to experience what ancient Saudi Arabia was like, you must visit this restaurant! When you first walk in, the stone walls encase you like an old fortress. Simple rarities here, like the rich color patterns found in the painted doors, gold Arabic antiques, and plush green grass, are a joy to see. Every group is given a private eating room with wrap-around floor seating. The meal is started off with the traditional Saudi dates and tea. And then you are served huge dishes that meant to be shared. Here’s one of your few chances to try camel!.. Don’t forget your camera. This restaurant is a unique experience that you may want to capture.

4) Shop and Eat at Al Faisaliya Tower 

If you’re looking for a fancy night out on the town, you must pay a visit to The Globe restaurant at the top of Al Faisaliya Tower. Here you can taste a variety of European meals, High Tea, and deserts, at a table that overlooks all of Riyadh. If this doesn’t fit your tastes, step over to Il Terrazo restaurant, an all-you-can eat Brazilian barbeque. This open-air, but misted, restaurant plays music (which is absent in most public places) and is a mixed gender zone. Once the sun sets, step out onto the observation deck for a 360 degree view of the city, with the desert in the background. Then walk off the food, in the expansive mall below.

Life in Saudi Arabia: Society

saudi_alfaisaliyahDespite aspiring to be a modern country in many respects, Saudi Arabia still has one of the most traditional societies in the world. Life in Saudi Arabia is governed by firm religious beliefs, rules and traditions, and expats living in Saudi Arabia have to get used to that as there is no way around it.

The traditions and attitudes of Saudi Arabia have been shaped by Islam as well as Bedouin culture. Thus, expats living in Saudi Arabia will discover that family bonds are still much stronger than in many other cultures, to an extent that they permeate all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia, even in the business world.