Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

I met maybe three Saudis the entire time we were there. They don't tend to mix with expats. That said: it's a pretty international community, and my boys (who are both POC), were very happy and felt very comfortable. They both still miss Jeddah and want to go back. - Oct 2019

It is not as easy as you would think to encounter an actual Saudi in Saudi Arabia. However, once you get to know them they can be quite warm and hospitable. Jeddah generally is more relaxed and open-minded than the rest of the country, and there is a large section of Saudis who went to college or spent their formative years in the West (indeed, the returnees are how we wound up with Krispy Kreme and Tim Hortons). You will get so much more out of the tour and understand so much more about the country if you find a way to make Saudi friends, but it just not easy to do. Jeddah is a port city and has had 1,000 years of hajj pilgrims coming in, some of whom stayed, so there's a multiethnic feel to the city. However, there is also some underlying prejudice by the Saudis against some of these nationalities, particularly the ones who occupy service professions. - Mar 2019

Yes, but here's the key: you have to make a conscious and solid effort. It's easy to stay on compounds and only hang out with consulate people. If you aren't active in seeking out outside groups, it won't happen. The local scene is a lot of fun, but you have to meet the right person for them to introduce you to it. Once consulate people are in it, they're hesitant to bring in others for fear of it just turning into a massive consulate crowd and defeating the purpose of outside groups. - Jan 2019

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More