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Cost of living in Saudi Arabia

by Expatguru - 08/03/2015

"This article gives an overview of the cost of living in the kingdom and what potential teachers can look forward to."

For those teachers who are qualified and experienced and looking for opportunities abroad, the best bet at the moment is Saudi Arabia.

English is taught as a subject in all the secondary schools across the kingdom and is widely spoken, at least in the metros. With the advent of various colleges of technology across the kingdom, there is an urgent requirement of scores of experienced and qualified teachers. As with any other country, the salary is proportional to one’s qualifications and experience.

First, let us look at the housing part of your salary. Most universities and schools offer housing in their campus or an allowance instead of housing. If you opt for an allowance, there are a few points you need to take care. Note that house rents in Saudi have to be paid six-monthly or annually in advance. Also, if you wish to shift to another house before your existing contract expires, you are supposed to pay the rent for the remaining part of the contract. The house rent is kept frozen for the duration of the housing contract.

Typical house rent for a mid-sized unfurnished two-bedroom apartment would be SR18,000 per year.

Note that you cannot share your flat with the opposite gender (to split the rent) unless you are married.
At least for the first year, I would advise you to go in for used furniture. There are second-hand markets in every town just to cater to this market.

Food prices are very reasonable and you can easily find restaurants of your choice in every big city. An average meal is around SR 20 in a mid-range restaurant.

Public transport is almost negligible and it is best if you locate your apartment close to your work place. Metered taxis are rare and it is advisable to negotiate the fare with the driver before boarding. Most expats go in for used cars, at least initially. If you are a westerner, you can easily get a Saudi driving license without giving a driving test based on your existing license.

Electricity and water are quite inexpensive. Gasoline is one of the cheapest in the world! Broadband Internet would cost you around SR250 per month.

Typically teachers are required to work up to 30 hours per week, Sunday through Thursday. Work begins at 7 am. Contracts usually have an annual paid vacation of 30 to 45 days, paid return air tickets and an end of service benefit. ESL teachers can typically expect in the range of SR 13000 to 15000 per month while those teaching in Universities can expect up to SR 18,000.

If you are a party animal, this is not the place for you. All said and done, Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly the only place in the Middle East where one can save the maximum money, so go for it!


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