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Hello everyone! I am Annie from the Netherlands and I am hoping that someone can help in answering some questions. We are moving to Jubail end of this year, with two children ages 9 and 5.
- What are your experiences with the International School of Jubail?  Any tips?
- How does the health system work there? Is there a family doctor, or directly go to a hospital? Any comments on the health care and medication?
- Does my daughter need to wear the abaya and the hijab when going to school? Does it need to be black?
- Any comments on life in Jubail Positive and negative?
Much appreciated if someone could answer these questions and if there are any additional advise also. Thank you.

If you scan the Jubail 'Topic Categories' at the top of this link ( http://www.expat.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=536) and read, you'll find answers to most of your questions.

Good luck!

Thanks Allicat, already did that and did not find the answers I was looking for ;-(

Welcome to Jubail  there is more than  school  and no need hijab for this age
About jubail negative hot area , Few market
Positive A beautiful area, and a beautiful beach
No family doctor just go to the hospital if have complaint
And for more information you can contact me ky00025[at]gmail.com

Hi Annie,

Here are some answers to your queries.
Experience with ISG has been good so far. I moved my 2 sons (8 & 5) back home to Canada though last September in preparation for my departure from Jubail, KSA at the end of this year and not due to academic or other reasons. The student population is very international and the teachers are qualified and experienced  educationists. Due to the high cost of tuition at ISG, it may sometimes feel elitist as compared to kids going to public school back home. Academically, I have seen the kids of a lot of friends head back to Canada and always place near the top of their corresponding class.

Health System: All expats have to be covered by a Health Insurance program in order to have a work and residence permit. Typically this health insurance is provided and paid for by the employing organisation. Health services covered under this insurance would of course be dependent on the agreement between the employer and the Insurance company. The insurance company would have a list of all hospitals that are within their approved provider network (APN). There is no concept of a family doctor. You just go any hospital within the APN of the insurance company, ask to see a specific doctor (by name) or by area of specialty, show your insurance card and voila. We tend to go to specific doctors rather than a specific hospital. Any medication prescribed can be picked up at the pharmacies that are attached to each hospital (again on the insurance). Certain medications like vitamins and others that are considered cosmetic are typically not covered. Health care is not cutting edge but equipment is. You would identify doctors you are comfortable with over time and stick to those. IMHO, most doctors here tend to do treat symptoms and not really look for root cause. This may be due to the fact that medication can be prescribed quite easily as it is all covered by Insurance. Allopathic medicine is the primary out here in KSA. Homeopathic is not approved/licensed (and thus not available). You would also not find any chiropractors around. Acupressure/Acupuncture is approved and licensed but not available in Jubail. Closest is in Dammam (approx. 75km away)

Abaya and hijab: For your daughter, I would say no for in school, but in public probably yes to abaya. Jubail is more relaxed in these terms than say Riyadh. Face and head cover is not the norm amongst expats here. If you were to go to say certain areas in Dammam then it would be advisable to have a head covering in addition to the abaya.
I have seen some ladies wearing non black abayas, but this is typically more fashion related and at large gatherings / events.

Jubail is an industrial city and life is as such monotonous. Almost all socialising is done within the confines of the home or compound if you are living in one. There are clubs per se and the sports club has different timings for men and women.

Apologies for the long response, hope my feedback is of help.

If you have more queries do ask and I will try to assist as much as I can.

Cheerio
Roop

Thank you k_0025.
Will be in Jubail end of this year and actually looking forward to the very hot weather... the netherlands, well, Europe in general, has suffered a very long winter..I never thought I would see snow in April ;-) so, I need sun, a lot of it. Take care and will give you a heads up once in Jubail.
Annie

Roop, you are an absolute gem and please do not apologise. Your response had exactly all the information I was looking for. Thank you very very much - really appreciated the time and effort you took to answer in detail.

It is always nerve racking to move to a new place with the responsibility of kids...and not knowing so many things...

It is a relief to have confirmation about the quality and experience of the teachers at ISG. I have had so many vague answers about that recently ..and that eventually, moving back to NL should not prove to be too big of a leap for their schooling.

Seems like health care is a complete different ball game than what I am used to...but at least I know what to expect now...and definitely, health insurance will be covered by hubby's company, Sabic. You really explained health care beautifully in detail - very important to me, as I have asthmatic kids. With that..virale infections, bronchitis and pneumonias.. hoping that the sunny weather and sea breeze will make a huge difference to their lungs.

Accomodation has been offered from the compound Bajrai Garden Village. It looks like a nice place on the web site.

I understand the meaning of a monotone life.. I also understand loneliness, making good friends and leaving them...and moving somewhere else to start everything from zero.. I know all about expectations, disappointments...

You see Roop, since I was 3years old my family has been moving every five years..the States, Australia, Europe, Asia and back to Europe... finally got married and oops ...we have move, it's ok, I am used to it ;-) C'est la vie eh? Although, I have never been to a place like Saudi Arabia before... Dubai yes. A pity you and your family are on your way out, would have loved  to meet.

Once again, many thanks for the answers, it gives me peace of mind and reassurance.

Take care and have a nice evening,

Annie

Hi Annie786,

Glad info was of help.

I was with SABIC during my early years in KSA/Jubail. This was mid '95 to end of 2000.
SABIC is great company to work for although you are just a number in a very large organization.
Medical coverage under SABIC is one of the best, so I would not have any worries there at all.

Regards

Thank for Compliment about SABIC can you tell me which affiliate had work
Because I’m SABIC

Hello Roop,

Your responses were excellent and helpful not only to Annie but also to me and others, I am sure. 

Annie raises a very valid concern about her kids with asthma/bronchitis.  Jubail is an industrial area, so I am not sure if this will be helpul with asthmatic kids.  What is your general experience with the air quality?  Is there widespread aromatic compound smell like Petrol, Benzene, Toulene etc in Jubail area??

I guess it depends on what area you live in, but if you look at the city in Google maps, it is not too large, or more accurately, the industrial area footprint is a sizeable portion of the city itself.

Wind direction will be important when selecting a place to live, I think, for Annie or anyone in general. It probably changes due to seasons, but what is the general wind direction throughout the year in Jubail? Are there any areas you recommend that are not downwind of major 'contributing' industrial units?

Hi ExpatPro,

Thanks for the postive note.

You are absolutely right in that wind direction is of great importance. When the Industrial city was built, the residential area (Huwaylat, Fanateer, etc) was intentionally located upwind. As such this would indicate that Jubail Town (as compared to Jubail Industrial City residentail) is downwind.
I have not researched this at all, but is more hearsay from professionals working  with the Royal Commission (responsible overall for the Jubail Industrial City) and some working for Bechtel Corp. (an American firm that conceptualised and designed the entire Jubail Industrial City)

As such all the compounds are in Jubail town, except a section of the residentail area that has been sectioned off and turned into acompound for the Saudi Chervon Philips group, and Murjan Village (situated on the waterfront, and the most expensive compound in Jubail currently. Murjan, I beleive has a waiting list with earliest "expected" vacancy in 2015).

There is no widespread aromatics smell in general, but personally, if driving past the industrial area on some late nights, I can smell it distinctly. I am sure I do not have best "nose" for the job. I have been living in Jubail downtown for the last 18 odd years and have not had any asthmatic problems so far. I have had skin irritations from time to time though. On the other hand, when my younger son catches a cold, or has tonsillitis or pharyngits in Jubail, it is almost always accompanied by chest congestion (in some cases, we had to use nebulisers at home) If he gets ill anywhere else, chest congestion is usually non existent.

I believe the locals are more concerned about this as they tend to have more physiological defects due to intermarriages within the family. (This was told to me by an English ENT surgeon who worked for Aramco for 30 odd years and was based on his experience of treating the locals). I also hear more about this "pollution" from the locals than the expats. Maybe we expats just have a stronger constitution :)

Regards

A 9 year old doesn't have to wear an abaya and certainly not a hijab.  Girls wear abayas when they hit puberty, usually around the age of 12 or 13.

However, if she looks older than her age or wants to copy Mommie, then by all means! :)

Good luck.

Hi Alliecat,

I guess with no young girls in the family (I have 2 boys), my info was off track.

thanks for the clarification... I stand corrected.

Regards

Roopster :

Hi Alliecat,

I guess with no young girls in the family (I have 2 boys), my info was off track.

thanks for the clarification... I stand corrected.

Regards

Hi Roopster,

I hate to see young girls conforming before it's required.  That said, I have seen kids wearing abayas before in order to play 'dress up,' I guess (like you sometimes see little Saudi boys in thobes and guthras--so cute!). 

In the end, it's going to be about what makes Annie's daughter feel comfortable in this strange land but I did want Annie to know it's not required.

All the best!

Thanks for the info Allicat. In regards to the abaya, both myself and my daughter would prefer that she waits for the required age of the Saudi law.

Take care.
Annie

Very good info sharing. Interesting :top:

Hi Roopster,

This additional info has me worried now and it is something I did not take into consideration. Thanks ExpatPro for mentioning the importance of the wind direction...and the impact it will have on my children healthwise.

I am having doubts now. Is there a solution to this? Would Dammam, Dhahran or Khobar be a better option?

Hubby can drive the distance and International Schools are available in each of these areas. My prime concern is health - I do not want to move somewhere where my children will be constantly ill. That would be unbearable.

We have experienced some hefty situations, including long stays at hospital. This all occurred in a relatively clean air environment in NL.

For sure, no one can predict the future.. and no one will be able to give a guaranteed reassurance on this matter..

A dilemma...to put asthmatic children in such an environment ..where you know the risk of being on nebulisers will be on a frequent basis... better to rethink of moving at all.

Take care
Annie

Roopster :

There is no concept of a family doctor. You just go any hospital within the APN of the insurance company, ask to see a specific doctor (by name) or by area of specialty, show your insurance card and voila. We tend to go to specific doctors rather than a specific hospital.

Spot on.  What's problematic about this system is that there is no central 'hub' (in the USA, our 'primary care physician' will make the referrals and coordinate the results of the specialists).  In KSA, it's up to the patient to coordinate it and refer information from one doctor to the next.  You'll end up with a wad of papers that nobody bothers reading so be prepared.

Roopster :

IMHO, most doctors here tend to do treat symptoms and not really look for root cause. This may be due to the fact that medication can be prescribed quite easily as it is all covered by Insurance.

And they order tests,tests, tests!  I had a problem with my foot and the (woman) doctor didn't want to look at it or even touch to see where it hurt, instead sending me for x-rays and when they showed nothing, STILL not examining my foot but rather sending me to another doctor!  I gave up and just self-medicated and tried to keep off the foot for a couple weeks, nothing strenuous, and eventually it healed (I'm convinced it was a hairline fracture that didn't show up in the x-rays).

I don't recommend the health care system here, in general (ever notice the royal family and any other Saudi with money goes to the West if there is something seriously wrong?  That isn't coincidence).

annie786 :

A dilemma...to put asthmatic children in such an environment ..where you know the risk of being on nebulisers will be on a frequent basis... better to rethink of moving at all.
Annie

Annie,  Sorry to have you all worked up and worried with the environmental concerns I pointed out, but I think you'll have to take it with a grain of salt. Your kids live in a confined space with no outside air, all indoor dry heated air in cold freezing Netherlands.  Homes in KSA are very different, spacious, airy, of course they will be sealed with air conditioning for the most part, but it will be totally opposite of what your kids are facing now. You won't know until you try out, and who knows, the warm weather and marine air may be good for their lungs. You can always move back, if needed, but please don't upset your husband's opportunity for something you don't know for sure. Stay positive and find out for yourself!

I did some searching around, and as Roopster pointed out, Bechtel designed the entire city from the ground up, and they HAVE considered the wind direction.  If you stay in the Northwest part of Jubail, I think you will be fine.  Check out the links for prevailing winds for the Jubail area.  It is mostly NW to SW in July and NE to SE in Jan. 

http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-maps/w … -map1.html

http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-maps/w … e-map.html

I advised the opposite, although I admit I don't know about Jubail.  What I *do* know is that, more often than not, the sky in Riyadh is a light shade of tan rather than blue due to the dust.

She's got a tough decision.  Whatever she decides, I hope it's for the best :)

I've lived in Taiwan and have experienced the industrial fallout there.  I had to vacuum EVERY day to keep the fine black dust off of everything.  Is Jubail like that?

globetrotting grandma :

I've lived in Taiwan and have experienced the industrial fallout there.  I had to vacuum EVERY day to keep the fine black dust off of everything.  Is Jubail like that?

No it's not :)

What's not true?

Hi Anie,

Indian school is one of the best school in Jubail.
Kids only need their school uniform. no need Abaya.
for living Jubail is safe. we are also living in jubail from last few years.

I hope this answer is enough for your questions. if u have any query please don't hesitate to ask me.

Lijo Varghese

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