CIGNA Expat Health Insurance

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Submitted by Ammar46

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

I am an arab who shares basic cultural roots with Saudi

Expat Health Insurance

Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Sponsored by CIGNA.

If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

i do speak the local language of Saudi

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

Indeed Jordan, while it is an arab country as well, is way more liberal, westernized and relaxed.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

not much

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

Finding friends is a bit tough, yet one can start from the work mates and if one happens to live in a compound (secured, fenced residential area) then one can also mingle with people easier and faster.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

As the dominent mood in Saudi is conservative, I felt I picked some of that attitude but I try to remind myself all the time of keeping my mind open and free.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Living expenses are fairly low here and varieties are available, shopping is real fun.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Abiding by the restrictions, refraining from commenting freely or openly.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

not yet

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

One needs to free his mind of prejudjmental ideas about the place and the people, learn to tolerate and accept the difference, focus on positive differences rather than the negative ones .....respect other's views even if you disagree with them.

Read Next

Retirement-In-Al-KhobarAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia

A retiree in Al Khobar, who has lived all over the world, talks about retiring abroad.

5 Tips for Living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Expats in Jeddah offer advice about living on compounds vs living out, where to meet other expats, international schools, raising kids in Jeddah and much more.

5 Tips for Living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabi

Expats living in Riyadh face a number of adjustments. Women have to learn to wear an abaya in public and are not allowed drive. Western compounds often enable expat families to relax and live like they do at home. In this article, expats offer tips for newcomers to Riyadh.

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.

Comments about this Report

Sep 19, 2010 13:15

I am soon to leave the US for a teaching job in Riyadh, and I am really looking forward to it. Having lived in several different countries over time, I can say that your last comment sums expat life up very well. Life abroad can have its down moments, but leaving yourself open to the possibilites of learning about life in a new world can be exhilarating. Thank you for your insights.

Join Today (free)

Join Expat Exchange to meet expats in your area or get advice before your move. It's FREE and takes 1 minute!

Copyright 1997-2018 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal