Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog, the best place to learn about expat life, intercultural skills, and business abroad. You may have seen my previous video 10 Questions about Saudi Arabia: Answered. Now it’s time to explain specifically why I loved living there. Keep reading to find out even more info that you always wanted to know about Saudi Arabia.
10 Reasons Why I Love Saudi Arabia
Now as you may know from my previous video, I lived in Saudi for 4 years and worked at KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology). I had an extremely positive experience, and now I have my own business helping others to understand different cultures, including Saudi Arabia.
So, of course, as I always tell people, you don’t love a place because it’s beautiful. You love a place because of the people, and the experiences you have with them. So that’s reason number one:
1. The people.
To say Saudis are friendly is an understatement. Their hospitality, positivity, generosity and loyal friendship goes far beyond your expectations. First of all, whenever you meet a Saudi or accept a phone call from them, they ask you 3 times how you are.
It gives you the feeling that they are truly concerned for your well-being. Also, as my friend Shouq told me, “We Saudis love a lot and we do everything with love.”
Shouq also told me:
- We love hosting, we love to reflect our culture
- We love to make food
- We love to give gifts
- We love to give more than receive
- We want to make you feel you are a part of our family
It’s almost like their strong family values also transcend into friendships. Making you feel like you are part of their family was evident to me in how my Saudi students and colleagues all called me “sister” practically from day one.
2. Communication style.
When having conversations with Saudis, it’s always pleasant and enjoyable. You’ll find them to be extremely positive and upbeat most of the time. They are smart and well-spoken, and have a great sense of humor too. Moreover, I have never heard a Saudi making sarcastic or snide remarks, or these annoying perverted comments that are so common in Western countries.
I love that talking with Saudis is always clean.
Finally, Saudis have a saving face value in conversation, so they always try to speak diplomatically.
If they have a negative opinion about someone, they will never say it to your face, and if they have feedback to give, they will say it in a way that doesn’t hurt your feelings, or embarrass you in front of others.
This communication style preserves harmony and good relationships in the workplace.
3. Great professional working environment.
You will find state-of-the-art facilities with modern work environment in most workplaces in Saudi Arabia. The classrooms I taught in, for example, were extremely spacious, they had all the latest technology and equipment, and it was so comfortable to work there.
Then, in Saudi workplaces there are lots of opportunities and also flexibility. I found it really to work with Saudis and they always find a way to make the work day fun. Also I found a pretty decent work-life balance.
The typical work week is 40 hours, just like back home. Sure, you may work extra hours at times because of certain projects, but generally speaking that’s not too often.
4. High tax-free salary.
Many companies in Saudi are currently offering some of the highest salaries in the world for expats, tax-free. You will finally have the feeling you are earning what you’re worth. And you can save that money for a rainy day, or do something with it, like start a business or buy a piece of property.
But of course, it’s not just about the economic reasons, there are so many more benefits and ways that Saudi will enrich your life.
5. Multicultural population.
First of all, Saudi’s culture itself is so diverse and rich with history, and very different from region to region. There are Saudis with roots traceable to many different parts of the world, from Africa to Uzbekistan, from India to Indonesia, and many other places. You’ll find unique foods, dialects, and ways of living in all the different parts of Saudi.
About 1/3 of the Saudi population of 35 million is expat. That means you will have the amazing opportunity to meet and work with people from all over the world. At KAUST, for example we had over 120 different nationalities working and living in the same place. It was the first time in my life I met people from Kazakhstan.
Saudi’s population is 35 million (1/3 is expats)
6. No drinking.
It’s nice to know that when you go out and meet people in Saudi, they are not drunk, they are in a good state of mind. And then you don’t have that craziness that happens due to drinking like fights in the street, drunk driving, and other issues.
7. It’s safe.
Saudi Arabia ranked:
- In the top 10 of the Gallup Law and Order Index
- In the top 3 safest places in the world by the Institute of Environment and Human Security at the UN University.
8. No guns and gun violence.
No average citizen can obtain a gun license so you can be sure there are no random shootings in Saudi Arabia.
9. Opportunities to travel in the region.
Saudi is located in the Middle East Gulf which means traveling to many places from here is very easy and quick. You can travel to Dubai, Qatar, Oman, in under a couple hours flight. Europe is also not too far, it’s right next to Africa, and you can reach Asia also in reasonable time.
10. Be part of the Vision 2030.
It’s exhilarating to be a part of the opportunities that have sprung forth and are still springing from the Vision 2030. It’s amazing to see Saudis, with 70% of the population under age 30, super energetic and engaging with the world in a way never seen before. It is exciting to be part of the rebuilding of a nation.
Personally, I have been an expat for the last 20 years and lived in 10 different countries, but I have never seen the kind of transformation, ambition and excitement as we are seeing now in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi’s population is 35 million (1/3 is expats)
Well that’s all for the 10 Reasons Why I Love Saudi Arabia. Why don’t you open your mind and think about giving Saudi a chance? Thanks for reading, I hope you found it useful. Bye for now!
Founder of Cheryl Obal & Associates
Cheryl Obal & Associates is a cross-cultural training and consulting company that helps businesses improve their cross-cultural competence.
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