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6 things you should know about student life in Saudi Arabia

By Chloe Lane

Updated May 12, 2022 Updated May 12, 2022

Sponsored by Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University  

Located in the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area and the second largest in the Arab world.  

Bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia is home to many of the world’s leading universities and is a popular study destination for international students.  

If you’re looking for an unforgettable study destination, here are six things you should know about studying in Saudi Arabia.  

Saudi Arabia is home to 23 of the top 100 universities in the Arab region  

Education is taken very seriously in Saudi Arabia, with more than 20 percent of the annual budget invested in developing, improving and maintaining a high standard of teaching at all education levels. 

This investment is reflected in the number of prestigious higher education institutions in the area. A total of 31 Saudi Arabian universities feature in the QS Arab Region University Rankings – 23 of which are found in the top 100. 

Included in these 23 universities is Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University  (PMU), a highly innovative, student-centred university that ranks 24th in the Arab region.  

Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University offers a wide variety of programmes accredited by prestigious national and international organisations. The university’s academic programmes were reviewed and verified by approximately 70 multinational academic and industrial experts, so students can be sure they’re getting a globally recognised education. 

You will become part of a diverse, globally connected community  

Located in southwestern Asia, Saudi Arabia is an incredibly well-connected study destination, bordered by the Arabian Gulf, the UAE and Qatar.  

Saudi Arabia attracts people from around the world, boasting a diverse environment. In fact, more than 38 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population come from overseas.   

Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University is taking steps to broaden the university’s diversity and multicultural profile. The university offers a range of scholarships to attract international students.  

So far, the university has awarded 40 merit-based scholarships to students from different Arab countries. PMU is offering a further 40 merit scholarships to international students from non-Arab countries.  

To welcome international students and help them engage fully with Saudi culture, PMU has launched orientation programmes, city tours and field trips.  

You can immerse yourself in Saudi Arabia’s unique culture  

Studying in Saudi Arabia means fully immersing yourself in Arabic culture. You may find the customs and rules are very different to the culture you’re used to, particularly if you come from a Western country. 

Islam plays a huge part in Saudi life and religious rules and customs are strictly followed. It's one of the few Arab locations to fully implement Islamic law. For example, alcohol is prohibited in Saudi Arabia so although you’ll find many cafés and restaurants, bars are non-existent.  

Due to religious and cultural traditions, gender boundaries are also more pronounced in Saudi Arabia than in other countries around the world, meaning that there may be separate areas for men and women in some locations.  

Arabic is the local language in Saudi Arabia, but you’ll find that English is widely spoken in urban areas. 

There are plenty of graduate career opportunities in international companies 

Saudi Arabia offers many opportunities for post-graduation employment for international students. International corporations are frequently looking to hire graduates with high levels of expertise and experience.  

Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry is a major employer, hiring a large number of graduates each year. International students may also find work in sectors such as engineering, telecommunications, IT, healthcare, financial services, teaching, and food processing. 

To gain a work permit in Saudi Arabia, you will first need to secure an offer of employment. Once you have a job offer, your employer will then apply for the appropriate work permit on your behalf. 

It is worth noting that due to the location’s focus on ‘Saudisation’ to increase national employment rates, you are more likely to find work in an international company with offices in Saudi Arabia than with a local company.  

Alternatively, if you decide to move home after studying abroad, you will have gained a broad range of soft skills, along with an understanding of Saudi Arabian professional and cultural contexts, which will help you to impress recruiters in all kinds of roles.  

You will benefit from modern infrastructure and facilities  

If you choose to study in Saudi Arabia, you can take advantage of state-of-the-art resources and facilities available at your university. Saudi Arabian universities often have the latest technology for advanced research and lab work. 

 Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University has a wealth of state-of-the-art facilities available for students to use.  

These include the Artificial Intelligence Center, the Patents Center and the Prince Turki Bin Mohammad Bin Fahd Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship. 

Experience a learning environment that encourages creativity 

Alongside modern facilities, Saudi Arabian universities place high value on offering a creative and collaborative learning environment. Innovation is promoted in both business and learning. 

Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University’s Prince Turki Bin Mohammad Bin Fahd Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship aims to inspire and nurture creativity among students and the local community. The centre provides a unique, professional environment where students can learn, exchange ideas and get research support.  

PMU’s students can take part in a variety of programmes, workshops and services that complement classroom learning through experiences, group work and activities. These programmes promote creativity and innovation to complement and advance the student’s educational experience. 

This article was originally published in March 2022 . It was last updated in May 2022

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Written by

As Content Editor for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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