My company, Helen Ziegler & Associates, Inc., has recruited approximately 7,500 healthcare professionals for Saudi Arabia over the past 30+ years.
First, when we ask people what prompts them to think about working in Saudi Arabia, they frequently mention the tax- free income and the opportunity to save money. And for some people it is strictly money. But with further conversation most people will reveal that they have always wanted to travel, they feel there has to be more to life than working in the same job for 20 years, they are ready for an adventure, their children have left the nest and she (usually a single mother) is now free to do what she wants, and finally, a colleague went to Saudi Arabia so many years ago and is still there.
So how do we describe what a person will find in Saudi Arabia? Mostly it will be an intense learning experience on many fronts: the diseases may be different, the patients come from a different culture, your colleagues are from all over the world, not everyone speaks English, you work with staff who do the same work and have the same credentials as you but are paid less than you because they come from a country in which salaries are much lower. You will have a lot of free time on your hands therefore you will beef up your tennis game, learn to play bridge, participate in the local theatre group, or join a music ensemble. You have to be constantly open to new ideas, to new people and to different ways of doing things. Over and over people tell us about how everything is new and different, and how this energizes them.
What type of personalities like working in Saudi Arabia? Someone who is intellectually curious, who is sociable, who likes to travel, is non-judgmental, and is open to learning about other cultures and other ways of practicing medicine/nursing. Someone who has a tendency to teach at every opportunity will thrive. Finally, and most importantly someone who is confident and optimistic, who has many interests, likes to do new things, and likes to have fun. The people "who make things happen" contribute most to the job, to the hospital community, and to the expatriate community. Strong, self-assured women and men with an non- judgemental demeanor and accepting attitude do particularly well.
Finally, and this may sound maudlin, I have heard people say there is a "mystique" about Saudi Arabia. It is difficult to describe, but it draws you to the country.
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Saudi Arabia turns 80 years young this year. Though the country is relatively new, it has long, proud religious and cultural traditions, many dating back thousands of years. But don't worry: You'll find many things in its large, wealthy metropolitan areas, such as Riyadh and Jeddah, to keep your modern heart happy. more
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