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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?

Riyadh

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

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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.

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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.

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Comments about this Report

greatbiscuit
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.

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