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Cultural Pas Faux: Shaking Hands

Today, one of my western friends seemed to be very surprised about the fact that in Saudi Arabia men and women who are not related to each other do not shake hands, as it is, generally speaking, socially unacceptable. I can imagine that some of you may be very surprised as well when finding out about this, so I thought that a post about this cultural norm may end up being helpful…

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Buildings and Their Nicknames

I am pretty sure that in any city in the world, you will find some building that has some sort of special nickname, given by the people who live in that city. Only a couple of days after my arrival in Riyadh, I learned that even here there is a building that has a rather amusing nickname. Just as in Berlin we have the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures…

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The Bright Side of the Dress Code

It’s always the same old story. You go to the mall with a solid plan of what it is you need to get and all you want to do is get in, buy what you need and get out again.  Yes, this type of woman actually exists… But if you are a group of women on a sunny day in Riyadh and in a fabulous mood, you may end up buying something…

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Experiences in a Nutshell – Advice For Future Expats

From my very arrival in the kingdom up until now, I have faced some situations, or what I would call cultural lessons, that taught me something about how to handle life here, especially as a non- Saudi. For the future Saudi expats among my readers or those who are just generally interested, here is a list of things that you should keep in mind and things you may want to do once…

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The Story of How the Watch Got Diabetes

One morning in Saudi Arabia, I woke up and decided that it is time for a new watch. To be more specific that was today. So, I got on the compound bus with several other ladies that have nothing to do all day, except for household stuff and for whom the highlight of the day, as far as for activities, is a trip to one of Riyadh’s shopping malls that make German…

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Taste Test Saudi Style

One of the great things about moving countries is that every culture you come across over there, has its own way of doing things. This also seems to apply to my classes at the high school I am attending here. This week, we were doing a so called “Taste Test” in my IB Business and Management Course. This basically means that once the class has split into groups, each group brought in…

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How Do Women Eat Or Drink When Covered Up?

While taking a break from my catch up studies for school, I thought I could take the time and answer a question that several people have asked me before I left for Riyadh. Women in Saudi Arabia must wear an abaya, burqa or niqab when leaving the house. When wearing the burqa or niqab, the woman’s face is covered either entirely or it leaves a little room for the eyes. So how…

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Days Like This One

Today was a rather stressful day. I mean I really do enjoy the new school, the people and the cultural diversity here but sometimes I just come home from school and have a really hard time understanding how some people manage to handle a 35 to 40 hours week and still find time for other things. I guess this is just the way you feel when you get used to something new…

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