Jeddah - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It would be helpful to at least know numbers and directions to give to drivers, and some pleasantries go a long way. I speak very little Arabic, and apart from occasional mixups on deliveries, didn't really seem to notice any issues. Most customer service personnel speak at least some English (most are not local and also don't speak Arabic very well), although complex conversations may be too difficult. Local classes and tutors are definitely available but I didn't really look into it. - Oct 2022

Almost everyone speaks English, but Arabic goes a long way. There are also Hindi, Pakistani and Sri Lanka dialogues. - Aug 2022

Little to none. I know about ten words in Arabic and could accomplish just about everything I wanted. Some activities like buying a used car or shopping in old town markets or remote villages require some Arabic. - Nov 2020

I speak about five words of Arabic; I did fine. Jeddah is a hugely cosmopolitan city with lots of expats from all over the world; also, many Saudis receive higher education in the US, Canada, or the UK, so their English is excellent. There are plenty of tutors on the economy and in the compounds if you want to learn Arabic. - Oct 2019

If you want to work on your Tagalog or Urdu, this is the place for you. You could easily go an entire tour without talking to any Saudis, as they are not for the most part working in service professions and there's not exactly a club scene in Jeddah. Because of the multinational nature of the city, there is a fair amount of English understood. Being able to read Arabic numbers and get by with some basic phrases is a nice to have but not critical. - Mar 2019

None. - Jan 2019

None. - Apr 2016

i do it OK most of the time with English, most of store employees are from the Philipines, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - Nov 2015

You can survive with English. - Oct 2015

It is important, but you can use English also. - Oct 2015

None, English gets you by well here. Arabic helps though in downtown areas and hole in the wall restaurants. - Aug 2015

Everyone speaks English but some Arabic helps a lot. - Feb 2014

It's easy to spend years in Jeddah without any Arabic. Outside of Jeddah it really does open up a lot of doors to be able to speak Arabic with reasonable proficiency. It's not necessary but sure does simplify things. - Dec 2013

Most expats seem to get by without Arabic. But if you are exploring the wilderness or the poorer parts of town, you will definitely need Arabic. - May 2013

I speak Arabic and use it far less than I would like to. Most Saudis speak English and other expats (Bangledeshis, Pakistanis, Filipinos) don't speak Arabic. - Nov 2010

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