Here is a list of answered questions that people tend to ask me when they hear that I live in Saudi Arabia as a European.
Got more questions? You are most welcome to send me your question(s) through the contact page above or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 🙂
1. Why did you move to Saudi Arabia?
That is probably the ultimate question that every single Westerner or non- Saudi would have for me. Most people who ask me that, think that I moved here because I got married to a local that I met in my hometown or something, but no, that is actually not it. I came here, believe it or not, because of curiosity. I decided to live here for a while, so that I have the chance to live in a new place, meet new people and get to know a new culture, while I am finishing up high school. Thus far I have not regretted my decision for a second.
2. Do you wear a headscarf (hijab) ?
Even though I think that headscarves can look very nice and even though I have nothing against them, I do not cover up in public. Non- muslim women do not have to wear a headscarf, or at least not the way Saudi or other muslim women do. If you are outside, the religious police, known as mutawa, may ask you to cover your hair, in which case you’d have to “throw” your headscarf over your head. But otherwise, you are not obligated to wear a headscarf.
3. Do you wear your Western clothes outside?
Yes and no. It depends on the way you look at it. Every woman here has to wear a long-sleeved, ankle long, black cloak called abaya over her regular clothes. That is obligatory and applies to you whether you are muslim woman or not. Under it however, you are free to wear whatever you want.
4. Is it the way over there, that people say it is?
That is a very broad question but I assume that what most people are trying to get at, is whether there are terror attacks here on a regular basis. Thus far it is actually very peaceful here. There has been no bombing lately and I have not found myself in any dangerous situation yet, unless you want to count the horrible traffic here. I would even say that, due to the strict punishments laws for crimes in this country, this place is even safer than where I come from.
5. How should foreigners dress in Saudi?
In Saudi Arabia it is all about being dressed modestly. As for men, they may keep on their western clothes but should avoid wearing shorts in public. Women are required to wear a long, black cloak called abaya. Head coverings are not mandatory but may be requested by the religious police.
6. Is Facebook allowed in Saudi Arabia?
Yes, it is. To be honest, I did not notice much of the internet censorship that is supposed to be around. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc work just fine in Saudi Arabia. To my Russian readers I should mention that the network VK (в контактье) is indeed blocked.
7. Are you Saudi?
Let’s make it short and simple: no.
8. Are you married to a Saudi?