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Pros and Cons of Living in Riyadh

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 02, 2023

Summary: The pros of living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia include its modern infrastructure, excellent healthcare system, and vibrant culture. Additionally, Riyadh is a safe city with low crime rates and a strong economy. On the other hand, the cons of living in Riyadh include the lack of religious freedom, the strict laws and regulations, and the hot climate. Additionally, the city is quite conservative and there are limited entertainment and leisure activities available.

What are the pros and cons of living in Riyadh?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Riyadh 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 expat in Riyadh.

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What do expats in Riyadh appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expatriates in Riyadh appreciate the warm and generous hospitality from the local people. They also enjoy the fascinating architecture, intricate Islamic art, and rich history of the city. The warm climate is appreciated, as well as the affordable cost of living. Many expats are also impressed by the lack of car horns and air pollution, and appreciate the fact that the city feels very safe. To further indulge in local culture, expats enjoy shopping at the local souks and sampling the variety of Arabian cuisine," remarked another expat in Riyadh.

"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," explained one expat living 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?

"Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience and expats often face a range of challenges that can impact not only their transition, but also their life overseas. These can include adjusting to the unfamiliar culture, dealing with the language barrier, finding a place to live, establishing a social network, and conquering the daily stresses of everyday living in a new place. Expats may also be faced with financial difficulties, such as the cost of living, and unfamiliar laws and bureaucracy. Maintaining contact with family and friends back home can also be challenging. Ultimately, although expats may face these challenges, with the right support and dedication, it can be a rewarding and exciting experience," explained one expat.

"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," said another person in Riyadh.

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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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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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