Teaching In Saudi Arabia: Ar'ar Is HORRIBLE

When you go visit a foreign country, you'd like see things as a native, unless that native lives in a dog pile. Ar'ar is that dog pile. Whereas there are beautiful parts of this country, Jeddah especially, just like in America there are places in Saudi Arabia you'd rather it were give up to Mexico than have to drive through.

In cities, women are often just required to wear the abaya (just covering the body) but in Ar'ar women have to cover their hair and faces as well. Leaving internationally is a pain and often wastes hours.

Even my company, Al Kaleej knows how bad it is but the additional 200 USD monthly pay that give doesn't cover the cost of suck.It doesn't cover the cost of flying to another city (where you'd have to go to travel internationally, or if you wanna party), the additional taxis you'll have to take and, unless you miss the days of AOL, having to pay for your own internet.

The management here borders on the crazy. The Dean of the male campus fires people on the spot. He once fired an employee for drinking coffee during invigilation. The female campus is more of a mess, since they rely on the men to tell them to do anything.

Saudi Arabia is a pretty tough country to be. Don't make it worse by going to Ar'ar.

In addition, your contract will state that you'll be located at X place or nearby. I was told I'd be located in Jeddah or nearby. Ar'ar borders Iraq.

Your story is sad. But let's not forget we all signed up for this and took our chances.

Anybody who intentionally goes to Ar'ar or Sakaka or Jawf or any similar tiny backward super-conservative areas has to be crazy.

In your case, they lied to you as they said they would place you in Jeddah or nearby.  When did they inform you that you will be in Ar'ar?  After landing?  How did they explain it away?

Ar'ar is no where near jeddah ! That is obviously a lie. I understand how you feel I'm a Saudi female and I know my society well I'm from jeddah but there is no way I would live in ar'ar it's too strict and there is no life there. My advice to you if your contract is near the end then you should wait until it's over but if you still have many years left then you should consider ending your contract since they obviously lied.

I was kept in a hotel for two weeks in Jeddah, with little information about when I'd leave to my permanent stay or where it'd be. I found out for certain the night before they flew me out.

I'm not lying. I'm in Ar'ar. They told me I'd be working in Jeddah or nearby.

I asked my students about Ar'ar today, after reading the OP. They were unanimous - don't go there!

TurkeyMT, sorry about the suck there. You (obviously) have two choices; leave (breaking a contract isn't illegal, even here) or suck it up and make the best of it. I'd do the latter, and find lots of things to take up my time. With a decent internet connection (a dongle might be fastest where you are) you can

a) Learn online - Khan Academy, edX, and MIT OpenCourseware are good places to start.
b) Catch up on classic movies - check out Top 100 lists on IMdB etc, download and watch. The same goes for Top 100 Series.
c) Get fit - join a gym and/or learn yoga.
d) Practice new recipes for cheese in a glass - your local Panda probably has many, many varieties.
e) Also look online for recipes using grape and/or apple juice.
f) Start an MA, with distance learning.
g) Get a decent eReader or tablet and download thousands of free books.
h) Take up a hobby - wow your friends doing cool card tricks or juggling empty cheese jars.
i) Tunnel your way out.
j) Count down the days to freedom.

You have lots of time and few distractions, might as well take advantage of it. Good luck.

Here is a reply to each of your suggestions:

a) Can't learn via online if the pages don't load.

b) Response a) applies but good idea. I don't really like movies but have learned to since coming here. You just need to purchase a VPN (I'm assuming you're using Netflix, Hulu, etc.)

c) Great. I love going to the gym. Like everyday. For women, there is no gym. So if you like to run for a half hour and get nowhere you're out of luck.

d) There's no Panda here. This isn't a city so bye-bye Swiss Cheese and nonprocessed chedder.

e) Online again.

f) Get an MA? Online? Wow, that sounds hard. What do I have to do to get in - turn a doorknob? Also, I have an MA.

g) Except Amazon. Amazon doesn't sell kindles to Saudi Arabia.

h) Cool card tricks? Maybe. That might be hard because I don't meet a lot of petty hustlers from the 1980s here. I could juggle cheese jars - great suggestion - but cheese usually doesn't come in jars.

I) Too much sound

j) It gets too long.

I wrote this blog to help people decide.

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