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Life in Saudi Arabia

This document is to give more insight to potential

expatriate employees considering work in The
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It includes various
information in regards to the lifestyle,
communities, schools, travel and other basic
information about Saudi Arabia.

Living in Saudi Arabia offers expatriate employees and their families the opportunity to
discover a new country and culture. Typically, employees also develop strong
multinational friendships, enjoy plenty of family and recreational time, and travel the
The conveniences of everyday life, including modern housing, schools, healthcare and
shopping, are all conveniently located in company-operated communities. Recreational
activities in company communities are many, such as golf, swimming, sailing, horseback
riding and more.
Numerous community clubs also support special interests, including running, bridge,
scrapbooking and archeology.
Expatriates enjoy Saudi Arabia's public museums and cultural centers, ultra-modern
shopping malls and traditional merchants and markets. European-style restaurants in Saudi
Arabia attract numerous employees from various major companies.
Private communities offer spacious, modern, air-conditioned accommodations with low,
subsidized rent.
Travel in Saudi Arabia and internationally is a popular pastime. In the Kingdom, expatriates
enjoy day trips to local beaches including a private beach. Desert camping and scubadiving near the Red Sea's coral reefs are also available.
Generous vacation schedules and repatriation allowances give expatriate families ample
opportunities to visit their home country annually and experience dream vacations to
Europe, Asia, Africa and other destinations.


The communities are usually located within easy commuting distance of the companys
facilities and offices, providing housing, shopping, health and dental care, schools and
recreational activities.
Each community Dhahran, Ras Tanura, Abqaiq and Udhailiyah has its own unique
character, with access to local dining and shopping as well as unique points of interest.

Nearby: Al-Khobar, Half Moon Bay (yacht club and private beach)
Dhahran is one of the largest communities with a population of 10,000. Other corporate
functions managed in Dhahran include finance, exploration, engineering, drilling services,
medical services and materials supply.
Dhahran features one of one of the Middle East's most-challenging golf courses, and has
three recreational centers with swimming pools, tennis and squash courts, a bowling alley,
library and movie theater. Other activities include horseback riding at the community's farm,
exercising on hike-and-bike paths, and joining a game of soccer or rugby on the company
A marina and private beach facility are a 15-minute bus or car ride from Dhahran, located
on a small inlet of the Arabian Gulf. Sailing, fishing and waterskiing are popular family
The nearby town of Al-Khobar provides a wide range of shopping and dining options, with
shopping malls hosting more than 200 retail outlets as well as fine dining and fast-food
outlets. Al-Khobar's traditional merchants and markets can be an excellent source of
antiques and other culturally unique items.

Ras Tanura
Nearby: Ras Tanura private beach, Rahima, Dhahran
Ras Tanura, with a population of 1,800, is a beachside community on the Arabian Gulf. It
serves expatriates working in aviation or marine operations, the Ras Tanura refinery and two
nearby company-owned and operated gas plants.
In addition to stables for horseback riding, Ras Tanura offers a unique grassless golf course
and driving range featuring views of the Gulf. A private beach brings all the fun of being by
the sea, from walking paths and splash pads to a children's park next door to the surf house
with snack bar. The community's youth center is a fully supervised recreational center with
table tennis, pool tables, electronic games and a television room.
Outside Ras Tanura, the town of Rahima has a collection of gold markets (suqs), appliance
stores, fruit and vegetable markets, and several restaurants.
Ras Tanura is approximately 40 miles north of Dhahran and serviced by a free community
bus that runs between Ras Tanura, Dhahran and Abqaiq.

Nearby: Desert camping, oasis city of Hofuf, Abqaiq, Abqaiq private beach, Dhahran
Abqaiq, also known as the "friendly city," has a population of 1,500. The community lies
near Rub'al'Khali, the largest continuous body of sand in the world. It's also about 40 miles
from the oasis city of Hofuf, known for its ancient caves, pottery works and markets that sell
gold and fabric as well as fruits and vegetables.
Abqaiq's large recreation complex contains a dining hall, library and meeting rooms. The
community also has stables with horseback riding, two swimming pools, a weight room,
bowling alley, jogging track, baseball and soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, and an
18-hole grassless golf course with clubhouse.
At the company's private beach about 40 minutes away, expatriates enjoy fishing,
sunbathing, sailing and swimming. The nearby desert is popular for camping. Close to

Abqaiq, the town of Medinat is home to restaurants, a gold market (suq) and a fruit and
vegetable market.

Nearby: Oasis city of Hofuf, Dhahran
Udhailiyah is a community with a population of 1,000. It serves employees supporting oil
and gas operations in the region as well as medical professionals working at the company's
area health facility.
The community's recreation facilities include stables with horseback riding; a swimming pool
and a children's paddling pool; bowling alley; tennis, squash and racquetball courts; stateof-the-art exercise rooms; and saunas and hot tubs. In addition, a scenic 18-hole grassless
golf course has been carved into Udhailiyah's foothills, or "jebels," and a movie theater and
supervised youth center are available on the community grounds.
The nearest town is the oasis city of Hofuf, about 45 minutes away, which can be reached by
private company bus three times a week. In addition to several historical sites, including
ancient caves, Hofuf offers a variety of shopping for items such as gold, housewares and
fabric, as well as fruit and vegetable markets. A company bus also provides service
to Dhahran and other communities.


The school system enjoys an outstanding worldwide reputation for its quality educational
program, professional staff, student achievement, supportive parents, excellent facilities
and company support. Schools are located in the heart of each community, and provide
an American curriculum for grades K-9 for the children of expatriate employees of
For expatriate students in 10th-12th grades, educational opportunities include the
unaffiliated in-kingdom Dhahran High School, or boarding schools around the world.
Education and travel reimbursements are provided for students attending schools outside
Saudi Arabia.

Schools are staffed by highly qualified, talented educators committed to working effectively
with students, promoting learning and expanding cultural awareness. Class sizes are small,
with a maximum of 20 students per teacher in core classes and 25 in exploratory courses.
Additionally, band, chorus and physical education have a maximum daily total contact per
teacher of 200 students.
Facilities are modeled on North American campuses and equipped with spacious, networked
classrooms, learning media centers, art studios, music rooms, science labs, gymnasiums,
swimming pools, sports fields, band rooms and playground equipment. Community
skateboard centers, swimming pools, running tracks, bowling facilities and tennis and
racquetball courts are also used for school activities.
The 175-day school calendar begins in September and ends in June, comprising three 12week trimesters. The school week runs Saturday through Wednesday, with weekends on
Thursday and Friday in conformance with Saudi Arabia's work week. The schools observe all
company holidays as well as the national holidays of Saudi Arabia.
For students, intersession breaks present a variety of field trips to countries around the
globe. Recent trips included:

China, where students developed a better understanding of the country's history and
its role in the world

Madagascar, where students participated in Habitat for Humanity homebuilding and

toured the island's unique ecosystem of rainforests and deserts

Italy and Switzerland, where students explored cultural sites and developed their
skiing skills on the Swiss Alps

A school board of parent-elected community members and company-appointed

representatives provides advisory and policy-making oversight for matters directly related to
schools educational program.
Schools also operate a community education program serving employees and their
dependents by providing opportunities for members of the community to teach and learn.
Courses may include English as a Second Language, foreign languages, exercise, arts and
crafts, technology and history, among other topics.

Any time spent with company expatriates yields a treasure trove of travel experiences.
Centrally located to three continents and serviced by a large international airport, Saudi
Arabia is an excellent starting point for vacations to Europe, Asia and Africa. Additionally, as
a result of generous vacation schedules and travel allowances, expatriates and their families
typically visit their home countries.
Travel in Saudi Arabia is also a popular activity. Here's some of what you can look forward

The Red Sea, with its pristine coral reefs, is widely acknowledged as one of the best
scuba-diving spots in the world

The company's private beaches, which are perfect for picnics and swimming; and the
Arabian Gulf's winds and water offer sport for windsurfers and sailors alike

The country's many historic sites, including the ancient city of Mada'in Salih (a
UNESCO World Heritage Site), which are enjoyed by geologists and amateur

For students, intersession breaks present a variety of field trips to destinations around the
globe. Recent trips include:

China, where students developed a better understanding of the country's history and
its role in the world

Madagascar, where students participated in Habitat for Humanity homebuilding and

toured the island's unique ecosystem of rainforests and deserts

Italy and Switzerland, a combined trip where students explored cultural sites and
developed their skiing skills in the Swiss Alps

About Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia occupies approximately 800,000 square miles about
four-fifths of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered on the west by the Red Sea and on
the east by the Arabian Gulf. Neighboring states are Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait to the
north; Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the east; Yemen and the
Sultanate of Oman to the south.
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by a king. It rules through royal decrees issued in
conjunction with the Council of Ministers and with advice from the Consultative Council.
Members of both councils are appointed by the king. Islamic law (shari'ah) is the basis of
the authority of the monarchy and provides the foundation of the country's customs and
social practices. Saudi Arabia has an estimated population of 28 million people.

The average national rainfall in Saudi Arabia is 2.76 inches, but extremes are possible. The
Empty Quarter (one of the largest sand deserts in the world) may record no rainfall at all for
several years, while snow has been recorded in the north of the kingdom. The rainy season
extends from November through May, with the mountainous 'Asir region being an exception,
where summer monsoons result in an annual rainfall of 12 to 14 inches.

Shamal is the common Arabic term for the sandstorms that reduce visibility to zero, closing
airports and harbors. There are two shamal seasons: the first extends from late spring to
early summer; and the second from late fall to early winter. The highest winds generally
occur in early afternoon and usually decrease in the late evening.

Temperature and humidity

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia experiences extremes of these two measures. In the interior,
the air is dry. On the coasts, summer humidity is excessive, particularly at night. In
summer, temperatures in some areas may reach 122F (50C) in the shade, but in the
spring, the days are balmy and the nights are clear. In winter, temperatures can drop below

freezing in the central and northern regions, and snow sometimes falls in the mountains,
the northern plateau, and even in the capital, Riyadh.

The basic monetary unit is the Saudi Riyal (SR), which is printed in denominations of 1, 5,
10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins are called halalat and are issued in denominations of 5,
10, 25 and 100. One riyal equals 100 halalat.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is on Greenwich Mean Time plus three hours (GMT + 3:00).

Work schedules
The regular work week is from Sunday to Thursday. The weekend days are Friday and