Jeddah - Post Report Question and Answers

What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

How dysfunctional the school I was heading to was. There was no principal, only a business manager whose main priority, understandably, was keeping the parents happy. I expected Arab children to be well-behaved and their parents to be, if anything, overly strict, but the opposite was true. Saudi parents, at least the upper-middle and upper classes, are some of the most indulgent parents in the world, and any teacher coming to teach in an "international" school (one that's run by Saudis or other Arabs and whose student body is mostly Arab) should be prepared to use very authoritative/authoritarian classroom management with little outside support, and to use only rote learning with little critical thought encouraged. Other than that, though, I wish I'd known how relatively expensive traveling and buying frozen/processed food or eating out would be, as I didn't net anywhere near as much savings as I'd expected due to this. - Oct 2022

I would have brought a 4-year old car from the US and shipped it. - Aug 2022

Jeddah has a lot of rich experiences to offer. Don't underestimate it. - Nov 2020

How much the transportation thing was going to bug me. How much the abaya thing was NOT going to bug me. - Oct 2019

I did not know the country well when I arrived, and figured that due to its proximity to Mecca that Jeddah would be the most conservative place in Saudi Arabia. It is the most liberal, but for the same reason - Jeddawi have been exposed to 1,000 years of pilgrims from around the world who practice Islam in different ways, which combined with its status as a port city gives the culture a very different feel from Riyadh. - Mar 2019

It's much better than you think. There are posts with less differential that are much more difficult to live at. That's not too say this is the best post, but it's all relative. I would rather be here than a lot of other places. - Jan 2019

How badly women are treated in public. Harassment by the religious police. Having to wear an abaya anytime you are not on Consulate or apartment compounds. - Apr 2016

What the schools are like. Women can not drive at all. The black dress which you must wear on top of your clothes. There is nothing to do but hang out in the mall and at restaurants. - Oct 2015

When we first got to this post, people told us that most people get tired of being here and that they need to get out of the country every once in a while. Being on our 2nd year here, we can see what they mean. Save your R&Rs for your 2nd year :-) It's really not a bad post, but it does feel nice to get out. Especially for women, who are not allowed to drive here and have to wear the dark abaya every time you leave the compound. - Aug 2015

That the motor pool service is so inefficient and the prayer times close everything down. That there are no religious services and that is so dificult to get a good maid or nanny. - Feb 2014

I wish I had known how much latitude I would have to get out of Jeddah and see the country. I thought I'd be stuck in town for security reasons and that Saudis would scowl at me all the time. The truth is, Saudis -- at least in and around Jeddah -- are pretty great. Again, I caveat this by pointing out that getting out and about requires being a guy and being able to speak decent Arabic. - Dec 2013

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