Expat Exchange

Pros and Cons of Living in Saudi Arabia

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William Russell Health Insurance

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Pros and Cons of Living in Saudi Arabia. Expats, Retirees and Digital Nomads talk about the pros and cons of living in Saudi Arabia

What are the pros and cons of living in Saudi Arabia?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Saudi Arabia responded:

"Other than dining out, there are no sources for entertainment. Leisure time is mostly spent in malls. Men have a cess to sporting events like soccer, but women do not. The emphasis on family gatherings and religious observances makes getting to know people and make friends difficult. But if you can and do make friends then they are most accepting and friendly," said another in Riyadh.

"I like Jeddah just fine. As a middle aged female who doesn't wear an abaya or scarf, I have not had any challenges. I also tip very generously (an Egyptian experience carry-over) and workers, like at the grocery, remember this and my service is always exceptional," explained one expat in Jeddah.

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What do expats in Saudi Arabia appreciate most about the local culture?

"How accepting locals are of my family. Everyone is very kind and willing to help with issues. They really live by the day to day aspect of life. Sometimes it makes things difficult for planning purposes, but it's a credit to them to believe the way they do," explained one expat.

"The differences between the NZ culture and the Saudi culture could hardly be more extreme. I liked the ability to see around the country and learn more about how women live and learn," said another person in Riyadh.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"More for the wives than the husbands. Prayer time while trying to shop. Stores closed during the middle of the day for several hours. Relying on others to transport the ladies around," remarked another in Al Khobar.

"Not being able to drive and having to rely on a husband or pay for taxis the whole time. This has the result of completely removing any sponteneity from your day," explained one expat.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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