What do expatriates want?



Abdullah Al Alami

Published — Friday 18 May 2012

Last update 18 May 2012 4:56 am

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Being a member of the Expats in Saudi Arabia online group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/expatsinsaudiarabia/ gives me an insight of expatriates’ aspirations and daily hopes and desires. The group has been in existence for over ten years and it describes itself as “A place for those of you who are thinking of, or are already living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”. Basically, members in the group aim to exchange information and to share their experiences of life in Saudi Arabia.
However, the group moderator warns us that any political or religious mail would be deleted, as well as those that might provoke negative feelings between members. I like that!
One of the group’s activities, was initiated by a member inviting all those who miss those childhood games, such as Scrabble, risk, various card games and backgammon, to join a group of gamers on Friday afternoons at a reputable coffee shop in Riyadh. Well, since I don’t live in Riyadh, this one is out.
Another member asked if anyone knows of any nannies or companies they could contact to hire a nanny. In no time, another member responded: “I have heard of at least one Sri Lankan lady in the Diplomatic Quarter who is looking for part time work as a nanny / house cleaner”. Apparently, the cleaning lady already works part time for a French family who might be going overseas in the summer and she might be available then. There is also a Kenyan lady in the DQ who was offering her services to clean houses. Well done group! Not even good old Google can do that.
Pets must be included in any expatriate’s experience overseas. One member is traveling for two months and she’s looking for someone who can take care of her kitten during that time, provided the caretaker was someone who had previous experience in caring for a kitten and did not own any other pets at that time.
If you’re looking for a job or if you need to fill a vacant position in your company, the group can help too. A leading multi-national company needs an executive secretary for top management; a transferable Iqama is needed since the requirement is very urgent.
Many postings have to do with either moving from Jeddah to Riyadh, visiting another city, shipping a container overseas, availability of preschools or buying a used car.
Some inquiries I also found intriguing, such as the possibility of carrying Zamzam water to Canada, or someone searching for a female yoga instructor that would be willing to travel to teacher housing to hold a class. Here is a good post about buying a car, “You should always check with a qualified mechanic before purchasing a used car. And we’re in Saudi Arabia, don’t forget to negotiate!” Well, you sure got that one right.

Tweet: “The ideal place for me is the one in which it is most natural to live as a foreigner.” Italo Calvino
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