This is the second article in our Expat Series. It was written by Muneerah from Expat Grind.
- What are your names?
Muneerah Kriel & Waseem Frieslaar
- What country were you born in?
- What job did you have in your home country?
Muneerah – Tourism Lecturer
Waseem – Brand Manager
- How long have you been living in your new country for?
Muneerah – 2 years with my parents before marriage and 8 years with my husband.
Waseem: 9 years
- Did you immigrate alone or with your family and kids?
Muneerah: I came with my parents before marriage then again with my husband a few years later.
You can’t immigrate to Saudi Arabia. We have yearly work contracts.
- What is your job in your new country?
Muneerah: I used to teach English as a foreign Language at various institutions but chose to be a full time mommy after the birth of my child.
Waseem: Started as an English teacher then moved to Marketing.
- What do you enjoy about your new country?
Safety and the fact that you can eat anywhere because everything is halaal!
- What do you miss the most about your home country?
The ocean, outdoor life, working in our communities, family & friends
- What advice would you give someone that is contemplating to immigrate to the country you have immigrated to?
Do your research, this is not a country to do a ‘gap year’ especially if you have children. If you decide to take the plunge, be aware that there will be many challenges. If you stick it through, you’ll reach your goals and it would all be worth it in the long run.
- What challenges, if any, would you advise them to anticipate based on your experiences when you first moved to your new country? What advice would you give them to overcome those challenges based on how you overcame them?
The challenges are only magnified if you come over with unrealistic expectations. Things are always challenging when moving to another country. The culture shock alone can be off putting to most who come from the west. This is normal though and the best way to overcome it is finding a support structure. As most people do, they would’ve left the comforts of certainty, structure and friendly ears. These tend not be in place when you land, not to say it’s not there, but rather you haven’t found your rhythm yet in the new society. There are plenty of social groups here in KSA, along with tons of sporting clubs and now recently plenty of entertainment events. It’s best to get up and get mobile ASAP.
- How was the visa process for immigrating to your new country?
The visa process changes consistently.
However it has become more streamlined
over time with things becoming digital.
It takes a minimum of 3 months with all
the attestations that needs to take place.
- How is the cost of living in the new country compared to your home country?
The cost of living is much higher here.
This however is relative as the currency is
stronger in the Middle East than my home
country. Things however are fairly
accessible with a wide variety of price
Are you an expat living in South Africa or abroad and would love to share your journey.