Inside Saudi: Insights from a Local

Hi I’m Mariam. I’m half Filipino and half Saudi. I was raised in Manila and came back to Jeddah after graduating. I spent 18 years in Manila, 1 year in Dubai and 6 years here in Jeddah.

Majoring in hospitality management, I have worked in hotels for the past years. Currently I’m working at The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah at the sales & marketing department.

I came back to Saudi right after graduating college. My family is based in Jeddah.

How is it like to live and work in Saudi Arabia? How different is it from the Philippines?

Working in Saudi is not entirely different. But compared to Philippines there are more opportunities here especially for people in the hospitality and tourism industry, as this major is considered rare and not much seen in many colleges.

Anong mga major adjustments ang ginawa mo noong lumipat ka na sa Saudi?

Adjusting was easy since my family was based here. Of course I did miss my relatives and friends back in Manila. But this was a challenge for me to go out of my comfort zone and put myself out there to meet new people. I joined groups and events like the Model United Nations where I met few people.

Anong mga naging struggles and challenges na na-face mo?

Few years back, there aren’t much opportunities for women to work in the field of hospitality or tourism. So that was the biggest challenge for me. Things got better when they started to encourage women to have activities, work, driving etc.

Meron bang mga filipino communities jan? Kumusta naman sila?

Yes there are plenty of Filipino communities here. They are actively having events. I have joined and volunteered at karate competitions organized by the Philippine Consulate here in Jeddah.

What is/are the thing/s you miss sa Philippines?

Food!!! No of course mainly my family and friends. But most of my friends are scattered across the globe anyway haha

Ano ba ang mga need na i-observe and dapat malaman ng mga pinoy na gustong magwork sa Saudi?

Well first of all the the weather. It’s a struggle to work and stay active during summer. The humidity gets really intense so indoor gyms and activity areasare very popular here.

May mga advise ka ba kung paano maging comfortable and happy ang pag-work and pag-stay ng mga filipinos sa Saudi?

I say learn about the culture first, meet different types of people you will learn a lot from this, and don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. No matter where you are, you will enjoy it if you make the best out of it!

I say learn about the culture first, meet different types of people you will learn a lot from this, and don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone.

Mariam, Local from Saudi Arabia

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