Posted on January 8, 2014

Meeting People in Saudi Arabia (hassle-free)


One of the hardest things to do in Saudi Arabia is to meet people. Being such a closed society, opportunities to meet others are almost always planned well in advance and chaotically orchestrated. The problem seems to be even harder for women living in Saudi Arabia because of the strict and limiting laws they face. There is hope thou, and meeting people can happen. All you need to do is pay and wait. By this I mean that most of these socializing events come with a price tag and they happen ever so often so you tend to have to wait till the next thing pops up.

Many readers have asked about expat organizations that specialize in bringing together expat communities in specific regions: InterNations, ExpatBlog etc. They are definitely a fantastic way to keep in touch and know what’s going on in your city. Read about my very first expat community experience (here)

The nice thing about these events is that they are held in compounds or embassies, allowing for intermingling between sexes, a bit of freedom to do as you like and women are allowed to strut around abaya- free. Some events (embassies) go as far as providing alcohol at their events, so if you are a drinker then you will definitely want to check that out.
Not all events are open to the public expat community and funnily enough it is somewhat of a secretive society. Chime in “high school days” dilemmas. Most of these events are held top secret and very cliquey and not so welcoming to newcomers. Waiting lists, member acceptance and requirements are a few hassles that you may face when trying to get involved.
Personally, the expat social scene hasn’t really drawn my interest in the past and not until recently attending an event, I can honestly say that it definitely is not my scene. But that I know is not the case for many single individual expats and it is truly a great way to meet  others.
Top Tips
1. Create an account on all the major online expat communities: ExpatBlog (join), InterNations (join), ExpatsBlog (join), They are a great way to hear of activities going on
around your city. It is also a great way to meet other expats living in your city.
2. Register with your Embassy. (Online):Depending on your home countries embassy, many
embassies hold functions around the year for their citizens. Some embassies tend to have more fun than others; often holding elaborate galas, and parties.
3. Ask a Colleague: The people you will first meet and know most likely will be your colleagues and depending on how long they have been here, they can be of great help. There is no shame in asking, “What they do on weekends?” it may be of interest to you. Also, your colleagues will most likely be expats from differing countries, meaning connections to their
embassies, communities etc.
4. Be Nice, Be Smart: I am a true believer in kindness and if you are genuinely kind to others it will be returned to you. But kindness is easily mistaken for ignorance and make sure you don’t fall in that category. Be wise about whom you are meeting and where you’re meeting.
Much Love,

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Got something add?

  • Abdul January 9, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Why not including ( Don't why away from the locals). As a Saudi, I feel that many expats, Westerns in particular, avoid interacting with Saudis, or tend to stay within their cliques for different reasons.

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