Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 24, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Jeddah?

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Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Jeddah responded:

"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," said another expat in living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"I've been living in Saudi Arabia for 4 years now, in overall is very good experience, my husband and I work for Interval Plus Crossfit, the company is very responsable, we got a very good offer including housing, transportation, health insurance... Saudi people is super welcoming, they will take care of you when you come here. We had the change to make some road trips and the roads are in very good conditions, many new heritage places to discover. I will recommend to anybody to come here to enjoy and embrace the culture," added another expat in Jeddah.

What type of social life can someone expect in Jeddah?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Jeddah, they replied:

"I wish I knew more about them, this is why my social life is not satisfied, I need more contacts. Am married, so no need to date," said another in Jeddah.

"Saudi Arabia still a very conservative country, there are many changes happening at the moment, such a concerts, art gallery, Formula E, Dakar Rally but this year most the activities had happened without crowds," explained one expat in Jeddah.

What are medical services in Jeddah like?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Jeddah, they replied:

"In general I am satisfied with it, however sometimes I feel like they may not know what is wrong with me they make things up," added another expat in Jeddah.

What do I need to know about living in Jeddah?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Jeddah, they said:

"Only accept a job that provides accommodation on a western compound (key to access of facilites/ friends/ parties) especailly for women- it would be a nightmare for a western woman to "live out." If you have kids, ensure school fees will be paid," said another expat in Jeddah.

How do I meet people in Jeddah?

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When we asked people living in Jeddah about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Hijaz choir Drama group puts on plays at Sierra ( O R P) Al Bilad beach, Sheraton beach, Silver sands beach Buffet meal weekend at Al Bilad hotel Buffet lunch at Hilton also walk around gardens Any concerts /events on at Sierra Parties at Sierra eg Rhino ball ABJ or BBJ the two groups American business of Jeddah (great social and mixing as well as sports, balls, parties, etc also if full member invites to weekend nights at embassy). Must be US citizen or work for US company- all nationalities though. British businessmen ( I think you have to be British) Hash- running and walking group well organised great social in mountains and hills near Jeddah Rugby club- excellent social - beginners welcome ( at American school) Diving/ boat trips/ snorkelling- ring desert sea divers A MUST DO do not leave Jeddah without seeing the fish on the reefs- snorkel if necessary. Diving lessons also available. Meet people amazing experince. Walk along the Cornishe- absorb Jeddah life- visit Aroma restaurant. Malls- all worth a visit for architecture alone (I do not shop) - Red Sea Mall, Mall of Arabia, Oasis Mall, Megamall, Roshan Mall (also got nice Fudruckers) Thalia street and GOODIES- the best restaurant at the back of Talia. Islamic museum. Old Jeddah (near Ballad - read up history - first amazing old buildings now international heritage site) Souks- Ballad Petromin (great for bargains and second hand - we would call it a flea market) Old airport- great for antiques and coins etc Al Bawardy the new part Mall as well- best gold place. Natural history society- great for info about Saudi- held in national geology society," explained one expat.

Will I be able to find a job in Jeddah?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Jeddah, they reponded:

"Petroleum is the main industry. People seek employment through employment agencies," explained one expat living in Jeddah.

What is life like in Jeddah?

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When we asked people living in Jeddah what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"People lives are surrounded by their families and GrandParents which means much socialising," remarked another in Jeddah.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Jeddah accepting of differences?

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"I do not agree with previous poster. There is only one religion allowed. Wahabi Islam. Bible banned - no crosses allowed. Women must wear and abaya- and in some places it is wise to waer headscarf. Men should cover kness and wear long short and long sleves. In Ramadan- no drinking, eating of smoking from dawn to dusk. Stay at home. People though are mostly really friendly if you obey rules," said another person in Jeddah.

What are the schools in Jeddah like?

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"Don't be deceived when enrolling. Be aware that you are enrolling your kids in a Saudi School.. whole managment and kids are Saudis except for the Home room teachers, they are foreigners. Other than that kids won't be learning in an international community. They are allowed to speak Arabic all the time. My kids learned Arabic more than English! This is not a school for international kids. Its a saudi school for local Saudi kids but with international curriculum," said another expat in Jeddah with children at Advanced Generations Schools.

"Not Recommended at all. Unless you want a place where kids go and not learn anything and come back worried, scared, or confused on lessons. This school is not recommended at all to be at. Be Careful. I just say they built another school which contains all boys, also looks like a prison in Manchester Mat," remarked another parent with kids at Advanced Generations Schools in Jeddah.

"In Jeddah there is very little choice if you want a western curriculum with a European slant. This school says it is the best in Jeddah (plenty of modesty there) but if there was more competition from decent schools offering A levels and IB, without resorting to unqualified local staff, it would be a different ball game," explained one expat living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"While the school may have suffered a poor reputation within the past five years, the institution has undoubtedly reversed 180 degrees with a complete renovation of administration, and is constantly taking the initiative to continue sound progress towards the betterment of the school. Numerous events and fundraisers are held within the school each year, gaining popular support throughout the city of Jeddah. The school highly supports students in their endeavors of creativity and philanthropy, as is seen by the numerous highly successful student run clubs, that are famous throughout Jeddah. The school currently has plans to build a new school at a location not too far from the old one. This new institution will have all of the standard state of the art facilities found in some of the most high end schools," said another parent with children at American International School of Jeddah in Jeddah.

"While the school may have suffered a poor reputation within the past five years, the institution has undoubtedly reversed 180 degrees with a complete renovation of administration, and is constantly taking the initiative to continue sound progress towards the betterment of the school. Numerous events and fundraisers are held within the school each year, gaining popular support throughout the city of Jeddah. The school highly supports students in their endeavors of creativity and philanthropy, as is seen by the numerous highly successful student run clubs, that are famous throughout Jeddah. The school currently has plans to build a new school at a location not too far from the old one. This new institution will have all of the standard state of the art facilities found in some of the most high end schools," commented one expat when asked about American International School of Jeddah in Jeddah.

"I would certainly advise anyone considering to enrol their child in this school. The staff is genuinely caring and attentive to student needs. The school also has a very modern and up to date pedagogy in terms of what is known as best practice amongst educators. Students are held to a very high standard in terms of work ethic, social development, and academic performance," explained one expat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with kids at The American International School of Jeddah.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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William Russell Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaGuide to Living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Jeddah

Saudi Arabia Forum Saudi Arabia Forum
Join our Saudi Arabia forum to meet other people living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Jeddah.

Healthcare in Saudi ArabiaHealthcare in Saudi Arabia

Information about healthcare and hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaExpats Talk about Living in Jeddah

Expats share their experiences living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and offer advice about meeting people, schools and more.

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