Living Abroad: My Villa in Saudi Arabia

Ever been to Saudi Arabia? If not, you’re probably wondering what it’s like. Well, here I’d like to give you a little glimpse into what it was like living there for me as an English teacher.

I lived in three different cities while there: Al Jouf, Riyadh, and Tabuk. Each city yielded a very different experience, especially in terms of living situations. In Riyadh, I lived within the city amongst the locals in a 4-bedroom flat (basically an apartment) in a hotel in a decent area with three roommates. In Al Jouf, I lived in a 2-bedroom villa on a compound out in the desert with one roommate. In Tabuk, I lived on a compound as well, in a 2-bedroom villa away from the city center with one roommate.

Let me tell you a bit more about my villa in Tabuk. Besides the 2 bedrooms, there were also 2 private bathrooms, both with bathtubs and showers. There was a living and dining room and a study. There was a laundry room equipped with a washer and dryer, as well as an extra sink. There was a kitchen with full appliances- refrigerator, stove with an oven and blender. There was a small patio and a garden outside which had rosemary and dates. It was air-conditioned with cable TV and wi-fi. For pictures, click here.

Now, I invite you to check it out in this brief video.

Have any questions or something to share? Feel free to leave a message below. Want to reach me privately? Click here. By the way, if you want a guy’s perspective on Saudi Arabia, visit my ESL/EFL Teachers’ page in the Resources section above. There, you’ll find Mark Payne’s blog where you can find stories from his experience in Saudi Arabia.

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Categories: apartment, Saudi Arabia, Teaching EFL/ESL experience | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Living Abroad: My Villa in Saudi Arabia

  1. Merry Christmas!

  2. Zoe

    I’m in the process of applying to Saudi Arabia- would you recommend it for women? Is it hard to go out and actually do things? I hear you need a chaperone!

    • Hi Zoe! Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you. Saudi Arabia is often not considered by many places because it is in the Middle East which on a whole is misrepresented by the media as being a very dangerous region as a whole. This is definitely not true of every country in the region, Saudi included. Although, it’s important to know that Saudi, like in other place in the world is not a place immune to dangers, mostly posed by people. I would recommend Saudi to anyone, male or female, that is willing to open their minds to a new culture that is most likely different from your own and able to function in it despite the vast differences and sometimes difficulty it presents which may alter your lifestyle from what you are used to without harming yourself emotionally, psychologically, spiritually or physically. Things are definitely more restrictive for women than men. How restrictive often depends on where you are located. Generally, the more rural an area and regions closer to the Northwest are more conservative. Going out and getting around also depends on this. In places like Riyadh and Khobar, it’s very easy to get out and do things, especially since there are an abundance of taxis and private car services. On the other hand, in rural areas, most families have private drivers or their own transportation which doesn’t drive demand for taxi and legal car services which may be in low numbers if there are any at all. So, getting around in such places will be quite difficult unless your company provides transportation to work and to do outside things. Otherwise, you may be at the mercy of undocumented or illegal private drivers which isn’t the best of situations to be in. You do not need a chaperone. However, as a female in Saudi, you need a maram, male guardian (on paper more so and that is responsible for you). This would be your company who sponsored you. However, they do not chaperone you. They’re just responsible for your presence in the country and decisions such as entering and exiting the country.

    • Let me know if you need any other help. Thank you for stopping by! By the way, Saudi just lost their old king and has just now installed a new one. So, it’s interesting to see how things may or may not change. King Abdullah had made quite a few changes in Saudi which were in women’s favor, and his brother, the new king is supposed to be a moderate. So, maybe this will mean even more changes for women in a good way! 🙂

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