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Old 01-21-2011, 05:24 PM
Location: Texas
15,637 posts, read 14,692,108 times
Reputation: 62446


Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
He tells me it is in southern part, near red sea and close to Yemen. Extremely hot like average 115 in July and 88 in January. He had painful kidney stones when he lived in Hawaii for 6 months and he thinks it's becausehe perspired so much but I say it's because he drank pineapple juice all the time. Anyway he is in N.C. and it is way hotter here than Hawaii and no kidney stones.

He has a good friend from India who has traveled there and he is talking to him about it. He is aware of how Muslims regard women and knows he will have to respect that culture. We'll see. I'm just hoping some other responses to his applications will come in before he has to make up his mind.
Saudi Arabia has armed troops on the border with Yemen these days. The two countries do not get along at all. The only reason I know this is because a friend sent me pics of the Hajj and there were Saudi soldiers there in jungle attire. Yeah, that border area is "leafy." I asked why they were dressed like that and he explained it to me. The soldiers had been called to Mecca/Medina to help during the Hajj.

Just how close is the job to the Yemeni border? I would hate for him to be too close to it. I admit I do not like Yemen for 2 reasons: The USS Cole and that is where bin Laden hangs out from time to time...2 or 3 wives live there. Al Qaeda is in Yemen.

Beyond that, Saudi Arabia would be a cool (not temp wise) place to start out a career. The Sauds would protect him and the expat situation is good. He'll probably learn to speak Arabic. I'm jealous of the offer but there is no way I would go there because I'm a female. He will be right next door to Qatar and that is a great place for R&R, as is Dubai.

The work experience will probably open a lot of doors for him in the future.

Also, the yearly trip home is paid for by the employer. He can come home on his own dime for a second visit.

As has been mentioned, he does need to take a crash course in the culture. Make sure he does that if he decides to take the job.

Please keep us informed. I'll be thinking of him (and you).
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:32 PM
4,541 posts, read 9,495,326 times
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It really seems like an exciting adventure!
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:43 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,434 posts, read 41,620,437 times
Reputation: 46995
yeah, that is the first thing I thought of "Yemen--isn't that were alot of bad guys came from".

Funny thing about raising kids to be independent. What if they really are? We are very proud he is so adventureous. Just wish he can find a safer area of the world.

Now I know how my parents felt when I announced I was going to work in the Pentagon in 1968.
I'll keep everybody informed. Thanks again for your input and concern.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:58 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
13,388 posts, read 42,713,043 times
Reputation: 11470
There are risks involved, but if the kid can put his mind to it, this could be a good opportunity to bank some serious money very early in his career. He might make some very useful contacts. He needs to be culturally sensitive, just off the top of my head - not to use the left hand AT ALL during meals, and not to show the sole of his foot to other people. I know the Russian culture, not Arabic, but I do know that cultural sensitivity can make you or break you.This can be an opportunity to learn Arabic as well, he should do that. Will serve him well while in country and afterwards as well.I guess you can gather from my comments I think he should take the job. Just wondering - does he have an "escape clause" so he can get out if there is something he just can't take?
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:59 PM
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You might take a look on some expat forums for the area, plenty of people will post about their experiences, good, bad or otherwise. You can gain a lot of helpful info for him from those sites, such as what a realistic rent allowance is, what a car is really going to cost, how easy it is going to be to have a social life etc.

I have to say that going into the world of work he is going to have to curb his love of porn, beer and partying somewhat anyway!
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:12 PM
Location: Nova
486 posts, read 1,456,349 times
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As someone who has traveled to many Muslim countries before, I can only reiterate what others have said... learn the culture intimately and he must be honest with himself about whether he can adhere to the rules and regulations. The Saudis don't mess around, even with Americans, with breaking the laws. It goes beyond chasing girls, porn and alcohol... there is reserved respect he must abide by.

He should review the contract very carefully; and if there isn't one, he should discuss then length of employment expectations (for both his benefit and the employers too), escape clause, conference expectations/opportunities in details, etc...

It sounds like a great opportunity for someone who will fit into the culture and doesn't mind some risk. Maybe he is this profile and if so, he should go for it.

Every time I go to a "dangerous" country, I register with the Embassy.

Good luck to him!
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:00 PM
Status: "Even better than okay" (set 8 days ago)
Location: Coastal New Jersey
51,213 posts, read 50,499,962 times
Reputation: 60100
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
My son is finishing up his advanced education in a very narrow field. There are few job opportunities which he has known all along but he loves this subject.

He has been offered a job in Saudi Arabia. His salary would be tax free, generous allowance for housing, 1 trip per year home, paid way to seminars, conventions elsewhere in the world.

He is single, straight and healthy young man. Saudi Arabia is very strict about alchohol, pornography, dating, etc. don't think he would like it. Plus it is extremely hot there.

How would you react if it were your son? I don't think he will base his decision on what his parents say or feel but right now we all are kind of laughing and joking about it but I think he is seriously thinking about it.

When I was young and single I loved to travel and probably would have considered a big move too but Saudi Arabia? In this world of war and strife?
I work with a number of people (engineers) who have spent time working in the Middle East, and they were glad for the experience. They got to know people they would never have met otherwise, and missed those people when they had to leave them and come home.

OF COURSE you are going to worry, because you are his mother and that's the price you pay for having a child. My own daughter plans to go to school in China next year. The internal videotapes of horrible things that can happen have already begun to flash before my eyes, but there is nothing I can rightfully do but encourage her to go.

Your son could just as easily get shot by a nut in the supermarket in the US. And just think, there is probably some Saudi mother whose son is right now planning to come work in the US and she is feeling just as fearful as you are because of what she's heard about the dangers of living in the United States.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Khalil Gibran
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:55 PM
11,672 posts, read 21,236,098 times
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1. He's going to Saudi Arabia, not Afganistan or another war-torn country. Should (??) a war break out, as long as he registers with the US embassy, he'd get out quickly if something arose.

2. He's working for a Saudi university, which makes him even less of a "target" than if he worked for the Embassy or other US companies/interests if you're worried about terrorism.

3. The time to do this is NOW- while he is young and single- instead of later with a wife & kids in tow, as you suggested. If he can't keep it in his pants, he has self control issues. And I'm sure his conferred travels will take him to more liberal countries throughout the year.

4. Sounds like a great gig for 2ish years. Why not?! It's an amazing personal experience and a great resume builder.
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:50 PM
Location: Brooklyn New York
15,228 posts, read 23,749,578 times
Reputation: 19847
I'm not sure I would want my sons to go there. Definetely European place's, (which we have already) but not those Arab places. Sorry, they make me feel uneasy.

I wouldn't do it.
I have read too many horror stories.
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:56 PM
11,672 posts, read 21,236,098 times
Reputation: 10057
Originally Posted by nightcrawler View Post
I have read too many horror stories.
Which horror stories? Post links to credible news sources (NY Times, Washington Post, AP, Reuters, NPR, etc). I want to see these.

I have two friends currently working (civilian) in Baghdad, one in Dubai, and many others (civilians) who have worked all over the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Quatar, Jordan, Israel) in the past 10 years. They've all come home alive, completely unharmed.

I'm not going to lie and say the ones currently in Baghdad are just loving it- it's beastly hot in the summer, windy in the winter, and they don't have a lot of freedom as they have to stay in the Green Zone- but her son's job offer is NOT, I REPEAT, NOT in a war zone.

Please educate yourselves people.
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