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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

Expats living in Saudi Arabia interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Saudi Arabia interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, 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.

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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.

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Saudi Arabia from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Guide to Living in RiyadhGuide to Living in Riyadh

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.

Healthcare in Saudi ArabiaHealthcare in Saudi Arabia

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Expat Healthcare & Health Insurance Expat Healthcare & Health Insurance in Riyadh

An expat in Riyadh recommends returning to the US or Europe for medical treatment should the need arise. She found that medical care, even at the top hospital in Riyadh, was substandard.

Culture Shock in Riyadh

A woman from New Zealand accepted a job in a hospital in Riyadh. Although the hospital and job was English-speaking, she enrolled in Arabic classes at a university. She found the culture and treatment of women extremely challenge at times, but knew what she was getting into when she accepted the job.

Moving-to-Saudi-ArabiaMoving to Saudi Arabia

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SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
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	From articles, articlePlacement
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    and type = '3'
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    and publishdate > "2014-01-01"

    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
    
gettopbanner (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
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gettopbanner (Datasource=expert, Time=2ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
	Select *
	From banners
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	and weight = 10 
    and toDate > "2020-07-03"
    and fromDate < "2020-07-04"
        and banners.promised = ''
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 862 
gethpbox (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
	Select *
	From banners
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND (position = "eehpbox" or position = "eehpboxglobal")
    and toDate > {ts '2020-07-03 07:03:54'}
    and fromDate <{ts '2020-07-04 07:03:54'}
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
    
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=3ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 866 
GetMessages (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
  SELECT *
  FROM comments m 
  WHERE m.tpcid = 25135 
  and m.commenttype = 2
  and m.isapproved = 1
  ORDER BY msgid ASC
GetUser (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
  SELECT *
  FROM users
  WHERE userid = 46764 
getguidesummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
	Select summary, hiimg 
	From articles, articlecityplace
	Where  articlecityplace.citynetworkid = 4216
	and articlecityplace.articleid = articles.articleID
    and articles.cityintro = 'y'
 
gethealthsummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=0, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
	Select summary, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement, articleCategories
	Where articlePlacement.networkID = 97 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
   	and articleCategories.articleID = articles.articleID
   	and articleCategories.section = 9
   	and articles.sectionintro = 'y'
    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=9ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
and Networks.networkid = 97
and allreports.networkid = 97
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4216
and allreports.topicid = 7
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
getslugs (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
SELECT topics.slug, topics.slugcity, topics.slugstate,topics.slugcitynostate, topics.slugcountry, topics.slugentry, topics.topicqid, topics.topicqidanswer, topics.promolinktext, topics.articletitle
FROM topics
WHERE topicid = 7 
getanswerstext (Datasource=tipripper, Time=5ms, Records=5) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 79646
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
and topicquestions.qid <> 62
AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
and answerstext.answer <> ''
AND topicquestions.qid = questions.qid
AND topicquestions.qid = answerstext.qid
AND 79646 = answerstext.answerid 
ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
	SELECT summary
	FROM answers
	WHERE answers.answerid = '79646'
getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=4ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
	SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.answer, answerstext.answerid, answerstext.qid
	FROM answerstext
	WHERE answerstext.answerid = '79646'
	and qid = 391
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
	SELECT DISTINCT hiimg as photo
	FROM answers
	WHERE answerid = 79646 
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '97'
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=2, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 95
            
         and allreports.answerid <> 25135         
         and networkid = 97
          and citynetworkid = 4216
         and city <> ''
         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 70325 
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 07:03:54.054
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 25547 


Scope Variables

CGI Variables:
AUTH_PASSWORD=
AUTH_TYPE=
AUTH_USER=
CERT_COOKIE=
CERT_FLAGS=
CERT_ISSUER=
CERT_KEYSIZE=
CERT_SECRETKEYSIZE=
CERT_SERIALNUMBER=
CERT_SERVER_ISSUER=
CERT_SERVER_SUBJECT=
CERT_SUBJECT=
CF_TEMPLATE_PATH=/home/www/html/rspnet.cfm
CONTENT_LENGTH=
CONTENT_TYPE=
CONTEXT_PATH=
GATEWAY_INTERFACE=CGI/1.1
HTTPS=on
HTTPS_KEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SECRETKEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SERVER_ISSUER=
HTTPS_SERVER_SUBJECT=
HTTP_ACCEPT=text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING=gzip
HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE=en-US,en;q=0.5
HTTP_CONNECTION=Keep-Alive
HTTP_COOKIE=
HTTP_HOST=www.expatexchange.com
HTTP_REFERER=
HTTP_USER_AGENT=CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
PATH_INFO=
PATH_TRANSLATED=/home/www/html/rspnet.cfm
QUERY_STRING=rid=95&answerid=25135&networkid=97&start=25135
REMOTE_ADDR=162.158.78.108
REMOTE_HOST=162.158.78.108
REMOTE_USER=
REQUEST_METHOD=GET
SCRIPT_NAME=/rspnet.cfm
SERVER_NAME=www.expatexchange.com
SERVER_PORT=443
SERVER_PORT_SECURE=1
SERVER_PROTOCOL=HTTP/1.1
SERVER_SOFTWARE=Apache
WEB_SERVER_API=
Session Variables:
cfid=31006159
cftoken=94194170
sessionid=IBEXPATEXCHANGE.COM_31006159_94194170
urltoken=CFID=31006159&CFTOKEN=94194170
URL Parameters:
answerid=25135
networkid=97
rid=95
start=25135
Debug Rendering Time: 11 ms