What will my life be like at KAUST?

How will I do my grocery shopping?  Who will cut my hair? Will we need a car, a driver? Will my king size duvet cover fit the king size duvet there? These and questions like these are racing through my head for the last day or so. What I am really wondering is what will my life be like at KAUST? In many ways, I expect it will be like nothing I have imagined or can imagine and in other ways, it will be more or less as I have imagined. The uncertainty lies in what activity will fall in which category.

Like most Westerners who move to Saudi Arabia, I am concerned about inadvertently offending someone. It’s a culture that is unlike anything I have ever known and I worry that, with my native Irish chattiness and my learned American casualness, I will unintentionally offend/scandalize the locals. Making eye contact with people you don’t know is, apparently, not done. At least, according  to what I’ve read. But then, not everything you read is reliable, particularly on the internet. I am sure I will figure it out as I go along. My particular concern is how will my son fare? Will we be able to protect him there the way we have here? Individuals with autism don’t figure social stuff out the way neurotypical people do. They need to be taught these things explicitly. I just hope I can learn enough quickly enough, that I can teach him enough.

I am old enough to know that nothing in life is certain – apart from death and taxes (and in Saudi Arabia, even the tax thing not so much). This phase is tough though – we are leaving but we haven’t started to pack. We are moving to a place that is changing by the minute. This is what makes it exciting. This is what makes it different. This is also what makes me reach for the Pepto Bismol.

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9 Comments on “What will my life be like at KAUST?”

  1. The Oracle Says:

    Hi Irisheyesksa,

    This is the second blog I read about your move to KAUST. I an expat who has been living in KSA for over 7 years and working for KAUST for more than a year now.
    I have moved and is now living on campus with my family. We are coping very well and working out the kinks. I will be more than happy to meet you in person once you land in KAUST.
    I enjoy reading your blogs.

  2. Frank Says:

    Just accepted a position at Kaust and concerned like others about living on campus. How does everyone get around to buy groceries and things not located on campus?

    • irisheyesksa Says:

      The campus is pretty self contained. We have an excellent supermarket, medical clinic, several restaurants, a community library, fabulous recreation facilities etc. Getting around the campus is easy – the shuttle buses run frequently and will take you where you need to go. The supermarket delivers and their service is really good. A lot of people ride bikes although even the die-hard bike riders are finding it too hot to do so during the day right now. There are also taxis that will take you anywhere on the campus for 20 riyals. There are buses that run to the shopping malls in Jeddah and to the big medical center there. You can also hire a car/driver to take you wherever you want/need to go if you want to explore Jeddah on your own schedule.

  3. Frank Says:

    Hi Irisheyesksa

    7/28/10 I received an email stating I would receive a formal offer letter next week. Do they mean in the postal system or email? I did not receive it yet and its 8/4/10 now.

    How do they communicate such things?

  4. Fahad Says:

    I have applied at KAUST about 4 weeks ago for an open position in their IT department. I am currently living in US and looking for work in KSA.

    For everyone how has received an offer from KAUST, can you tell me if you applied on their main website? Also, how long did a process take for someone in the university to contact you about your application? I would like to know if the application was accepted or still in process. I have checked the open position and it is still active on their website.

    Any help someone can provide would be appreciated.

    Thanks everyone 🙂


  5. Danny McLaughlin Says:

    so Irisheyesksa – how’s it working out? I’m thinking of applying for a good job there but am a bit unsure about the whole living in Saudi thing. Also – do you feel claustrophobic living and working in the same area? Is there any social life? cheers

    • irisheyesksa Says:

      Hi Danny, thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. I haven’t updated it in more than a year – too busy and too much to do, which is a really good thing, when you think about it. It is an amazing place. We try to take a trip every couple of months or so which thus far has managed to keep away any feeling of claustrophobia. There is plenty to do if you like sports and outdoor stuff, especially watersports like diving. Good luck with the application and interview.

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