Gap Year in Saudi Arabia


Capital City Riyadh
Population: 31,000,000
Currency: Saudi riyal (﷼)
Language: Arabic
Calling Code: +966

Saudi Arabia stretches over vast amounts of the Arabian Peninsula, dwarfing all other countries on its borders. Huge expanses of sand separate large, metropolitan cities, and rich sheiks contrast sharply with the nomadic Bedouin. A gap year in Saudi Arabia will take some research, but once you start delving, you’ll realise this is a real option for those looking to head to somewhere a bit different – somewhere that offers an alternative view on life.

Those arriving in Saudi Arabia on a gap year will probably land in Jeddah or Riyadh, the two largest cities in the country – with the latter also being the capital. Jeddah sits reasonably close to Mecca, making it perfect for those looking to complete a pilgrimage, while Riyadh is home to ancient buildings, such as the Masmak Fortress, as well as ultra-modern constructions, including the spectacular Kingdom Centre. This juxtaposition is the perfect illustration of Saudi Arabia, with tradition meeting hi-tech in equal proportions.

A gap year in Saudi Arabia isn’t all historic sites and culture though – there’s plenty of chance to have some fun too! Diving spots are found in abundance all over the coastal regions, with perhaps the best being found in Jeddah. For something really different though, why not head in to the desert and try some sand skiing? It’s an experience you won’t forget! Contrary to popular opinion, there are also plenty of nightclubs and bars in the bigger cities, which are popular with foreign visitors looking to let their hair down.

Working in Saudi Arabia

We’re sorry to be predictable, but those looking for work in Saudi Arabia will find teaching English to be their best option, especially when in the larger cities. Other options are limited, so you are better off enjoying your gap year in Saudi Arabia and then heading somewhere else to find work. There are various chances to stay with families in exchange for food and board, which can help to ease the financial burden of travelling. Don’t forget about volunteering too – there are many volunteering schemes found in this country.

Where Next?

As it is sat slap-bang in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia has great connections to various countries. You’ll find places like the UAE, Qatar and Oman to the east, and the great gap year location of Jordan to the north. Air connections to both India and Africa are also very good, therefore adding even more options for onward travel.

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