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Dh applying for job in Saudi - is it safe?

(14 Posts)
moulimoo Thu 13-Sep-07 11:37:45

DH is a teacher and is applying for good interesting job in Saudi Arabia. We have 3 dc under 4 and a half.
We would get a house in a compound, with pools, clubs, schools, shops etc etc all sounds very nice, but is it safe? Would I as a woman find it restrictive or would it be fun living on the compund with other brits and families?
We are keen but obviously theres a lot to consider.

moulimoo Thu 13-Sep-07 11:47:51

anyone got experience of living there?

debinaustria Thu 13-Sep-07 14:08:31

I have got experience of living there but it was a long time ago!! I feel really old now - It was 30 years ago so things are probably quite different.I was 8 and lived there with my family for 2 years. I remember feeling a little envious of children living on compounds as we lived in a block of flats with all different nationalities, no garden, pool etc.., only another family with children and they were Lebanese. As an only child I was a bit lonely there but we did mix with other families at the weekend and had great times at the embassy pool and at the beach. Swimming over the reef has to be one of my best ever memories.

I'm really glad that we went and it probably gave me the courage to move here with our children .

This probably doesn't help you that much but I'd be interested to hear how you get on with making your decision. Where would you be based? We lived in Jeddah.


cutekids Thu 13-Sep-07 14:14:27

my hubbie was over there from 1998 to 2000. he found it boring!
mind you, he didn't live in a compound.the company provided them with a private villa.
apparently, it's much stricter for women over there now. when he was there, only women who were nurses were allowed to drive!
All women have to cover up. And you absolutely must not DRINK!!!(he used to "hop" over to Bahrain or Dubai of a weekend!!!)

SueW Thu 13-Sep-07 14:35:59

I think Expatwoman is the definitive site for life in that part of the world.

SueW Thu 13-Sep-07 14:38:19

This is an article, albeit a few years old, I think

moulimoo Thu 13-Sep-07 15:45:37

thanks, if he got the job we would be based in Riyadh. Apparently the staff pop over to Bahrain for weekend trips- can you drink there then!!!!! My dh likes his beer and wine (so do I) so that might be atricky one!! But thought rules would be less strict within the compound. Oh yes I believe women are not allowed to drive.
But can anyone address safety issues. The webpage for the compund seems to place emphasis on security etc which gives me cause for concern as to why its needed.

moulimoo Thu 13-Sep-07 15:51:27

Thanks Sue W. read the link, sounds interesting and What I expected. lets just see if he gets the job now, interviews in October. If we decide to go you will hear more on this post!......

moondog Thu 13-Sep-07 15:54:12

Very safe.
My parents have lived there for 18 years.
Where will your dh be trying for?
My mother taught at the British school in Dhahran for many years.

Notyummy Thu 13-Sep-07 16:12:19

Beware the Expatwoman site, as it is based on Dubai, which is VERY different to Saudi.

Friends of mine live there. Its horses for courses really. Some love it, some hate it. I worked there on a military base for a few months. If you leave the compound you must drive and be accompanied by a male relative. You must cover up completely. On all the occasions that I and my female colleagues went out (wearing burkas, accompanied and not driving)we were harassed, spat at, and refused service in shops.

I realise that this only a snap shot and would not happen within a compound (where you are not supposed to drink btw...some people make their own hooch, but penalities are harsh). It was probably because they were aware that we were young western women and judged accordingly. If you went out accompanied and with children it may be different. The compaounds do have evrything you need, and security is very good, but some friends felt outraged about not being able to explore the country in which they were living.

There were some rocket attacks on compounds over the past 2/3 years, althouhgh few deaths/injuries from memory. Search the BBC website and you will find archive news.


Notyummy Thu 13-Sep-07 16:12:53

You must NOT drive!! blush

superalienstitch Thu 13-Sep-07 16:19:38

sounds like heaven to me.
can i go instead of you moulimoo?

i grew up there. and woudl give naything to move back. but dh doesnt want to work there. if anything, the problems you will have will be things like see ing too may englishpeople, and not anyone else. its very segregated the social set up. the weterneres mix with westerners etc.

what city are you moving to? and what/whreis he teaching?

superalienstitch Thu 13-Sep-07 16:22:53

what compound in riyadh?
you dont drive there, but that is i think much better, because you get soemone else to drive for you.
its safer there than it is in the uk.
after five years of livingon my own in the uk, i felt i had more freedom of movement in riyadh whilst living with m parents, than i did in the uk, although looking back, i think part of it was financial freedom as well, since i iwas working anearning lot of dosh. grin
can i come please?

musicmum Tue 18-Sep-07 20:44:32

Hi - I live in Jeddah with my husband and 4 year old daughter. I feel safer here than in the UK, especially for my daughter, as the saudi love kids and crime against children is virtually unheard of. Ex-pats are very well protected - it takes a while to get used to passing armed guards to get into your compound, but once you get used to it it is actually quite comforting that they are there to protect you. It is a very different way of life, and there are restrictions, such as not being able to drive (although some companies will provide a driver for you), and most annoyingly the shops and other facilities being open/closed at wierd times (especially just now as it is ramadan!)
Life with young children though is similar any where I think, in that your routine revolves around them. Most of what you need/want to do on a day to day basis can be done within the compound - it is a bit like living in a small village, and you get to know people very quickly. If you have any specific questions please feel free to ask, but although I miss friends and family and it took a little time to adjust to my new lifestyle, I don't regret coming here and my daughter in particular loves it here. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

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