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Saudi Arabia - Good Idea or Not

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As seen by a Registered Nurse from the United States, who is now on assignment, it can be hard to adjust to hospital nursing in Saudi Arabia. That is particularly true in the hospital complex that serves the Saudi Royal Family. The very size of this facility is daunting. It is a 1 km straight walk from the front door to the back entrance. You are reading page 6 of Saudi Arabia - Good Idea or Not. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

this is a very interesting article! i've been working in saudi arabia even before 9/11, and would like to contribute to the discussion.

the most common reason why people come here is because of money. saudi arabia, with so much restrictions, has to compensate expats with excellent salaries and tons of benefits. the salary would depend on which country you come from. those coming from the us will get about $4500 a month. some might think this isn't much but think about it: yes, you might earn this (or more) in the us but after paying the mortgage, tax, cost of living, expenses and bills, how much is left at the end of the month? people working here can save 2/3 of their salary easily because there's no tax, housing is paid for by your company and living expenses are not expensive. for some, electric, water, and phone bills are also paid for by the company. the only thing i spend my money on is food. some people can even double their salary by doing overtimes. remember, no tax. you get your salary down to the last cent. canadian and europeans get about $4200/month. the lowest salary i think are those from asia, as low as $1000/month. i knew couples who worked in saudi arabia for 3 years and at the end of their contract, they totally wiped out their debt and was able to save money for a good downpayment on a house. as one of my canadian friends said "if you have no debts, your ahead of the 80% of canadian population."

aside from money, travelling is another reason to go to saudi arabia. in the hospital where i work, we get about 55 days paid vacations per year plus one roundtrip plane ticket/year. i have visited a lot of places all over the world because i have the time and the money to do so.

you will be working with nurses from all over the world. you might work with other americans, canadians, europeans, australians, asian, south africans, and other people from the middle east in your unit/floor alone. that could either be good or bad, mostly good for me. meeting and interacting with people from other countries broadens my mind like you wouldn't believe!

for the bad part. not everyone can work here. the need to have financial freedom has to be greater than any other kind of freedom. the men have an easier time here that women, and harder still for single women. if you are married and both of you are nurses, you will have an easier time adjusting to the cultural/social restrictions. if you going to work in a huge hospital, it's definitely easier. expats have their own community separate from the locals. also, how severe the restrictions are will depend on which part of saudi arabia you'll be working. jeddah will be more lax. riyadh will be very strict. if you are a woman, you cannot: 1)drive 2)leave your house/hospital compound without the "abaya" (that black overall clothing you have to wear) and the head cover 3)eat on public restaurants with other single men, you must be accompanied by other married couples 4)leave your house/hospital compound without your "iqama" or resident permit and hospital id 5)ride in a car with men that's not immediate family or husband except for the licensed hospital transportation.

also, riyadh does not have any movie theatres. all restaurants and cafes have separate places for men and women. malls and all stores closes during prayer times (5 times a day) for half an hour. christian holidays and celebrations are prohibited, like christmas and valentine's. for married couples, you must bring your marriage certificate with you at all times. alcoholic drinks and pork are strictly prohibited except at the embassies. violations will mean jail.

how are you gonna have a social life, you ask? well, embassies always have functions or parties going on. believe me, i've never been to so many balls in my life! aside from this, western compounds will have private parties as well and no hassles from the police as long as you're discreet. married couples can host private parties and can invite all their single friends. as long as you know people, you can party every week if you want. if you're not a party girl (or guy) there's always shopping. because there's hardly anything to do here except shop, shopping malls are all over the place. you have the money, so buy whatever you want. when the shops go on sale, they really go on sale, up to 90% off. this is a place where ordinary people like you and me can afford a $2500 louis vuitton bag or an armani purple label clothes. if you're not a label queen, there's always persian carpets and gold jewelry.

now as for work. english is the language spoken in our hospital but miscommunications are still common. you not only have to communicate to patients who's language you can't understand, you have co-workers whom you also cannot understand even if they're speaking in english. a lot of units in the hospital does not deal with the royal family so most don't have to worry about them. where i work, we rarely get any patients from the royals. you always have to be culturally sensitive when dealing with patients and that might be difficult if your beliefs doesn't mesh with theirs. the type of patients and their diagnosis are sometimes something you've never heard of, especially the genetic and metabolic cases.

if you are the kind of person who only see black and white in terms of policies and rules, you can't work here because there are sometimes more exceptions than rules. if you're the kind of person who cannot accept statements like "this is how things are done here" then this place is not for you. if you are tolerant of other cultures, would like some financial stability and is willing to accept that saudi arabia does not have be the "real world" but just the means to an end, you might want to give it a try.

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The only problem I have with the article is no one wears a BURKA.. It is called an Abayha and is nothing like a burka. It is a black robe that covers a women. It is good manners for western women to also cover your hair. I have never seen a non-muslim cover her face.

I felt the article was fact filled and very true. The best I have read on any blog. Mostly they are one sided. After 9/11 there was celebration by Saudi's. The only way I can describe it was JOY. They were happy. I was there during 9/11 and many bombings of western compounds and the killing and beheading of Paul Johnson an American.

Don't go to Saudi with rose colored glasses as many do. By and large it is safe if you look at percentages%.. Many nurses go there for years and have a great time and experience. It is not for everyone. You have to be flexible in your views. learn to adapt. It is not like America.

Read the book "Paramedic to the Prince" it was written by an American Paramedic that worked in sevral hospitals there and spent 2 years working for the Saudi King.

It is a fair and complete look into Saudi Arabia. Anyone thinking of going there should make this book a required read.:nurse:

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Great postings, lot of info. Any info on how families of expats do over there? I have 2 young children and would plan on not working for the first few months and then starting once I am over there. (I am an RN) My dh woul dbe going over there with fulltime employment with a large company. Any part time nursing postitions available that you have heard of or are they all full time? Do the compounds have daycare on them?

Thanks

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there have been a lot of questions r/t s.a. assignments. you will find excellent info by just doing a couple of searches. just type nursing jobs in saudi arabia into your favorite search engine. from there you can refine your search. good luck !

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I lived outside of Riyadh for 3 years inthe mid 1980s. My husband was Director of Respiratory Therapy, and it was my chance to be a stay at home mom while my children were small. My husband became friendly with several of the young Saudis he worked with, and we were almost the only family I knew who had a Saudi family to our home. In many ways , our years there were wonderful, and we got travel to places people like us sould only dream of otherwise. Every ex pat will have a different version of their lives there. Ours is mostly positive because of our very strong marriage , our basic flexilbility and desire to experience something different , and also because we spent years researching it and talking to many people who had done the same thing. Yes , all the bad things are indeed as bad as you hear, but if you are willing to go with the flow, after all it IS their country, you may be very happy.

That said , I would not bring a family there now. The feelings of anti -Americanismism are too strong. Very sad, because the intangible benefits my children got are priceless. This is a nation where 50% of the population are males under 25, and most of them are unemployed...what a recipe for trouble in this day and age.

A short anecdote to conclude...A Saudi friend was answering some of my husband's questions, and trying to explain the whys and wherefore. He and his wife were both well educated, she a high school teacher, and he had been to the US several times..What he said was "We know things here have to change and become more modern, and they will when WE are in charge in 20 years" It is now more than 20 years and very few of those changes have taken place.......incredibly sad. So many Saudis love Americans as people , they just didn't like our governments policies, and the radical Islamists have made it a dangerous place for us now.

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i am a muslim and let me tell you that what they practice in Saudi is not islam. Those guys are giving a bad name to islam. I would say that whatever they practice is not islam and everybody thinks that saudi is the centre of islam. believe me its not. i lived in saudi for a while and used to hate it there. the other middle east countries are better. the saudis are the worst muslims( if they can be called muslims). If i as a muslim felt so suffocated, i wonder how others felt.

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thank you so much for taking the time to send the note. we need to hear from other muslims if we are to ever to loose our suspicions about their motives & their culture. are they friend or foe ? all of us should be talking to each other much more.

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In our country of love and hope,The Phillippines there is no racial discrimination or whatsoever that may hurt our visitors dignity or feelings. We always treat our foreign visitors with hospitality and warm welcome it is because we are created as one in the image and likeness in the eyes of God. Filipino Nurses are hard working and compassionate with the profession.Treating patients holistically whatever status you have. If only we have good salary here in our country I would never leave our ill and suffering people.Nursing indeed is a noble profession of love and service and there is no room for judging people by their color or religion.That is what I have learned here In University of San Agustin College of Nursing with our motto '' LOVE IS SERVICE ". Being a nurse is of big responsibility because the life of your patients is in your hands and they deserve the highest quality of care they need.What I want to tell you is that lets more focus on our patients and not on the face of our co workers.If opportunity comes,I will still work in Saudi for my family. God Bless us all..

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if everyone in the world felt the way you do in the filipines, there would be an end to war, poverty, & famine. please continue to speak & minister. people will know you by your actions. you can't change the world by yourself, but keep planting seeds of love through your care-giving. i wish you long life & many blessings.

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hay i am saudi nurse

and i just want to know from where you got this idea about my country

did you ask saudi people? i mean outside the hosp.

did someone attack you?

and about the al-shriah law

do you which the most secure country in the world?

and for me i have non-muslims friends

sorry but you have the wrong idea about saudia arabia

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Msaaaz, are your questions directed at the poster of the article or at another poster?

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