Life in a foreign country is not a bed of roses. Living away from homeland, speaking different language, living in different culture, celebrating different holidays is not an easy task. Especially if that country is Saudi Arabia then settling down is a feat. Despite the cultural differences from the rest of the world, around 10 million expatriates are living in Saudi Arabia from every part of the world. The discovery of oil and the flourished oil industry is responsible for the growth surge in the stability of Saudi economy. Because of the stability provided by the government, Saudis invite from labor to highly educated and skilled people from all over the world to work in numerous fields. Most expats are living happily in Saudi Arabia and are of an opinion that migrating here was the correct decision because of the advantages, but, the advantages are accompanied by disadvantages as well. In this article I will give you a brief but succinct review of the advantages and disadvantages of living in Saudi.
Advantages of living in Saudi Arabia
- EMPLOYMENT: Jobs with high education and skill sets in Saudi come with perks which are not available in the western countries. High salaries, luxurious housing, paid education for the kids, free tickets back home and minimum 21 days’ vacation is a lure to many people.
- Another perk waiting for the employees is end of service benefits which a person is entitled to after working for two to three years in a company. This bonus amounts to a substantial sum.
- NO TAX: Saudi is a rich country and does not need tax from the population that’s why there is no income tax and no social security. Your whole salary is yours to take home. This aspect is great for saving money.
- FREE MEDICAL: Expats and locals have access to free and state of the art hospitals and clinics. The doctors are highly qualified and are usually foreigners. Even the most expensive procedures and medicines are free of cost. Actually the health facility is free for the legitimate employees working in Saudi Arabia but employers have to pay insurance cost for that. But from the perspective of employee, it is free.
- DIVERSITY: Expats living in Saudi get to meet and build relationship with from people all over the world. Saudi is enriched with cultural diversity though it is only limited to the population.
- TRAVEL AND TOURISM: Though it does not come high on world travel scale but most people do not know that Saudi is enriched with historical sites and places of great architecture. The places of Saudi Arabia are beyond words and the religious sites are worth looking at as well.
Disadvantages of living in Saudi Arabia
- LANGUAGE BARRIER: Arabic is not an easy language to learn and it is the official language of Saudi Arabia. This might make it difficult for expats to work and make them understood.
- ROUGH CLIMATE: the extremely dry and hot climate might take some time to adjust in. Heat wave and sand storms are abundant in Saudi Arabia since its part of the great desert.
- LACK OF LIBERTY: Saudi is a conservative society especially for women. They are not allowed to drive; they are bound to dress conservatively whether it’s hot or cold.
- LACK OF ENTERTAINMENT: For western expatriates this might be a big disadvantage. There are no discos, no theaters and generally no nightlife in Saudi Arabia. But an advantage in this setting is that you spend your free time with you family. Families living in Saudi Arabia entertain themselves in the local ways which have been explained in this link “Sources of Entertainment in Saudi Arabia”
- LACK OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: practicing any religion other than Islam openly is prohibited in Saudi, this might pose a problem for religious devotes.
- Forget about Nationality: You will never get nationality even if you work for 5,000 years in Saudi Arabia. You may get the required points for Saudi Nationality, but forget about getting the nationality.