Moving to Saudi Arabia? Ten topics you are bound to discuss...
February 13, 2014
Moving to such a unique country can cause apprehension, because the culture is so different from what those relocating are used to.
Lots of questions come with moving to this beautiful country and so we thought we'd help you out...
The expat community
People from all over the world relocate to Saudi Arabia: Americans, Canadians, Australians, British, German, Irish, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and South Africans, to name but a few.
The official religion of Saudi Arabia is Islam. Prayer is called five times per day, and during this time all shops, businesses, government departments, restaurants and service stations close for half an hour.
Where you live
Mostly, expats live in residential compounds which are private properties of different sizes. Many are equipped with fitness facilities, grocery stores and salons.
Women are not allowed to drive apart from in specific locations such as residential compounds. However, free shuttle buses will take you to most parts of the country's cities.
The official language in Saudi Arabia is Arabic. However, English, Hindi, Urdu, Russian, Spanish, German and Tagaloo are just some of the languages spoken by many of the expats who live there.
When in public, men should wear conservative clothing with limited jewelry and all women, including expats, must wear an Abaya, the traditional black Muslim garment.
Social life in Saudi Arabia is plentiful as you form friendships with your fellow expats and participate in trips to the desert, visits to historical sites, dinner parties, cultural events and sports competitions. Please remember that unmarried couples must not dine together off-compound without the presence of a married couple.
Tattoos and piercings
Having tattoos and piercings in Saudi Arabia is not a problem providing they are covered up when in public.
Staying fit in Saudi Arabia is extremely easy. There are many organized events for athletics, tennis, running, rugby and soccer. You will also be able to enjoy desert marathons, golf courses and of course, your compound swimming pool.
• Definitely don't take pictures of government buildings or adults and children from Saudi Arabia.
• During Ramadan (the annual month of fasting) don't eat, drink, smoke or chew gum
• Women shouldn't offer to shake hands unless offered first.