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Life & work in SAK

by guilhermejr Online Now Jun 1, 2004 at 6:03 AM

I´d like to make contact with an engineer who works for Saudi Aramco. I´m considering to try a position in this company and I have many questions about living and working in SAK. Thanks for any help.

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15 Answers
  • kenyneo's Profile Photo

    Re: Life & work in SAK

    by kenyneo Online Now Jun 2, 2004 at 12:46 AM

    YOu can try Faris - VT redeagle ( a local guy working there ) or Cindy - VT clws ( hubby is coming over , they went for orientation in Houston and had contacts with families in Aramco . Write to them , I think they can help you ! take care and feel free to check my Saudi Arabian page ( and its individual town ) to have a glimpse of what it looks like cultural wise, environment wise . here's the link of my page virtualtourist.com/m/6a1e8/b... you can check other Saudi VT's page also like -tommorrow'sangel ( based in Riyadh ) -marimar and majed81 ( based in Jiddah ) and many others

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  • clws's Profile Photo

    Re: Life & work in SAK

    by clws Online Now Jun 4, 2004 at 10:38 AM

    Hi. I am Cindy (CLWS) and as Keny said, my husband has accepted a position with Saudi Aramco as an Engineer. He is supposed to start work with them in late July. Although I can not answer anything in regards to personal experience there, I can be of some help with information I have acquired from other people living there, as well as information from research and the interview and orientation process. One of the people we correspond with is an engineer working for Saudi Aramco, as a Saudi Aramco employee. He has been with the company for a little over 4 years now. If you have any questions you would like to ask, you may post them here or email me through the site here. I try to check the email at least once a day. Take Care, Cindy

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  • 0MNS0's Profile Photo

    Re: Life & work in SAK

    by 0MNS0 Online Now Jun 5, 2004 at 11:31 PM

    I'm an engineer working for S. Aramco i would be happy to answer any question you might have about the company or the area.

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  • Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by guilhermejr Online Now Jun 22, 2004 at 12:03 PM

    Thanks for your offer. My name is Guilherme and I'm a 31 years experienced engineer. I also have a Msc degree. I've been working all this time for PETROBRAS in the E&P segment. I worked with process simulation, design, operation on e offshore and now I’m involved with planning the newest Petrobras platform, P-53. My questions are the following: ·Can a Brazilian (Christian, Occidental, but not American) and his family feel safe in SA? ·Can my wife and my daughter (10 years old) dress like in Brazil? ·Inside the compounds, life is similar to the rest of the cities? ·Is necessary (or useful) to learn Arabian Language? ·Education is fine? ·Health system is fine? ·Are Dahran, Al Khobar and Ad Dammam fine places to live? ·Is it possible for my wife get a job? ·Is it difficult to get a driver license? ·My wife can drive? ·How much money shall I expect to make in a year with such experience? ·And what about allowance? ·Is there any other remuneration? ·In an average basis, how much (%) expats do save in a year? ·How many days for vacancies per year? Company helps with tickets to visit home? Best regards Guilherme

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  • kenyneo's Profile Photo

    Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by kenyneo Online Now Jun 22, 2004 at 10:07 PM

    Let me try to give a shot - >>>>> I think if you are dont look like a Caucasian you will feel safer , but with the recent development , it seems that its no longer anti-american/caucasian, its anti non-muslim, so if you are not with them , you are not with them !! >>>>> check my saudi arabia page's custom tips >>>>> its totally a whole new world inside compound, but hey even though aramco's compound is luxury , you will need to get out sometimes too. >>>> not necessarily , but if you can pick up a few Arabic words like hello, good morning , how are you , of course its will be good ! ·Health system is fine? >>>> Aramco has got their own hospital ( I think Cindy can elaborate on that ) >>>>> Hard to define safe place nowadays, a month ago , these 3 places were free of terrorist activity, but with the recent Oasis compound attack, I dont think anyone can assure you that. Btw where in the world is save now ? US ? Indonesia ? Spain ? Moscow ? ·Is it possible for my wife get a job? >>>>> Hmm...no , but maybe inside Aramco ( what say you Cindy ? ) >>>>> easy to get driving license >>>>> no !!!! ladies cannot drive ·How much money shall I expect to make in a year with such experience? >>>>> Errr...I will pass this ·And what about allowance? >>>> I will leave it to Cindy maybe ...hehehe ·Is there any other remuneration? >>>> I will leave it to Cindy maybe ...hehehe >>>> save very high % of them , coz everything is usually paid for and its not taxed. >>>>I believe you are talking about vacation ??? varies and depends on your contract ...some 3 weeks every 6 months, some 1 month every 6 months , like me 1 month every 8 months and its varies according to your level and negotaition skills I guess. Check my Saudi Arabian page virtualtourist.com/m/6a1e8/b... and feel free to comment and rate my tips ! Au revoir ( learning French :-) keny

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  • clws's Profile Photo

    Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by clws Online Now Jun 23, 2004 at 7:34 AM

    Hi! I will give my try at this as well. I will answer in more than one reply though, as characters are limited. 1.) I'm not there as of yet, and I can only answer this question based on what my contacts have told me. Usually yes, especially within the Aramco compound. I can't say this is the feel of everyone there, but this is how several that I have emailed with and spoken to on the phone seem to feel. I have heard some will be leaving because of recent incidents, but none that I have contact with are. A little statistics for you though, Saudi Aramco has had facilities for their employees for at least 70 years now in Dhahran and in that time, nothing has happened to an Aramco employee or its compound. Since May of this year 5 Americans have been murdered in all of Saudi Arabia. Now in these indiviudal cities of the USA these were the murders committed in 2002: Indianpolis, IN - 112, Cincinnati, OH - 64, New York CIty - 587, Chicago IL - 648, Washington DC (our country capitol) 264. I live in the Indianpolis area and I drive through Cincinnati around every other week. 2.) Within the compound you can dress pretty much as you like. With a few exceptions. I would stay away from really skimpy things, and only wear swimwear where it is appropriate. But dresses, jeans, shorts, etc, are fine. People dress the way they want. Outside of the compond, loose clothing is best with arms mostly or all covered as well as legs. And some prefer to wear an abaya over their clothing. 3.) I don't think you need to necessarily learn the entire arabic language, but I think like Keny says, if you can pick up a few words and sentences here and there, you will feel more comfortable as well as locals. And it could be fun!

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  • clws's Profile Photo

    Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by clws Online Now Jun 23, 2004 at 7:35 AM

    4.) Aramco has exceptional facilities. They have their own hospital that is fully staffed. And they even have specialists in many fields there as well. I have heard very good things about the medical care there. One of my contacts, husband is a doctor there as well. 5.) I would say refer to Keny's as well as my number 1 reply. As I have not been there yet. 6.) It all depends on what your wife does. If she is in a field such as medical, engineering, teaching, etc, she should try before you leave for a job. If she does things like care for children, cashier, cosmotology, etc. she may be able to get a job on the compound, afterward. But if she is going to try to seek employment, please make sure she brings all certifications and diploma's with her. 7.) As a general rule, in Saudi Arabia, women can not drive. On the compound, let's just say, no she can't have an actual license, but .. 8.) I don't think it is very difficult for you to get a license though, I think it just takes a little time. I would have human resourses help with that. 9.) I really don't know how to answer this one. My husband is an Engineer, but I know there is so many different Engineer's out there and the pay varies depending on what you do, how long you have done it, and what part of the ladder, your engineering falls on. I can tell you this though. My husband is happy with the amount he was offered.

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  • clws's Profile Photo

    Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by clws Online Now Jun 23, 2004 at 7:36 AM

    10.) Aramco does offer an allowance, it depends on your status, (such as bachelor or family). 11.) I would say yes to this as you get so many benefits built into your salary package. 12.) On average, I do not know statistics. But I have heard that many retire younger than elsewhere. I believe it depends on you, yourself. On whether you choose to spend a lot of what you make, or save it back. I have heard a lot of expats travel, and travel a lot. I believe you can still travel, and save, but you have to find what is good for you. I know without having a major house payment, no cost for house repair ,and no utilities, to pay with minimal rent each month, that that alone is a huge savings! 13.) They have a schedule set up with holidays and breaks on their website saudiaramco.com/bvsm/JSP/hom... You will also find a lot of other things here that are helpful. But they also give you a repat of around 42 days. 14.) The company does help with tickets, it is based on your original destination, and what is a fair market value for tickets. And they do this 1 time per year. I hope this helps, Keny, is very kind to think I can answer. I hope I answered to your satisfaction. If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Cindy

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  • kenyneo's Profile Photo

    Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by kenyneo Online Now Jun 23, 2004 at 9:48 AM

    I think I must give Cindy 2 thumbs up for her statistics and very detailed explainations. I m so happy to see her helping others who would like to come here ..I still remember our initial mails ...hehe...hey cindy save that in the softcopy and put it in your Saudi tips..I am sure there will be more expats asking these in future and when you are like me ( get lazy sometimes ) just refer them to the link . ( gosh i can imagine you typing 3 pages everytime ...your hubby must be worried and wondering what you are doing with this VT thing ..:-) ) ya I am fine cindy ....thanks for the mail...counting down huh ? take care

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  • clws's Profile Photo

    Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by clws Online Now Jun 23, 2004 at 1:28 PM

    Lol Keny! You were a wealth of information to me when I started posting and emailing! And still are! Thank you for the nice comments on my posts! And I will definately keep a copy of the info. I don't always think to help because I have not gotten there yet. But I have been researching this and the people I have made contact with, have been wonderful, you included. As for my husband, I think I have surprised him by how committed I have been to this and trying to learn more each day. Thankfully he does not get upset with my time here in VT! In fact he ask me what is new each evening. :) Take Care! Cindy

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  • kenyneo's Profile Photo

    Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by kenyneo Online Now Jun 23, 2004 at 6:43 PM

    I think your hubby is cool . I mean VT is definitely a healthy hobby except that you shouldnt sit too long there , do some stretching and exercise in between ..hahaha....here not only you get to see cool tips of places around the world - real experince and real people , and some people here are so so nice and friendly ,very helpful and you get to know some cool friends ( careful cindy - some guys here are not what they appears to be , experienced that and a lesson learned well ! ) ..but its fun to take your camera around and snap pics of this and that ( some VTs' husband thought their wives are crazy for taking camera everywhere they go and only upload and never develop it ...- this is exactly what they told me ...but of course the husband just feel little weird but supportive ! LOL Know what I am so excited , coz I will be meeting my first VT , its a VT from western province of Saudi Arabia...from my initial posting of " anyone out there " 3 months ago , it has evolved into 479 replies so far - here's the link. ( and its only a bunch of us ) and it has blossomed into a very beautiful friendship virtualtourist.com/f/p/f495/... take care and au revoir ( trying to practice French ..so I can speak fluently when I am there Sept ...hahaha ) keny

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  • 0MNS0's Profile Photo

    Re: Life & work in SAK

    by 0MNS0 Online Now Jun 28, 2004 at 11:23 PM

    Good morning, Sorry I wasn’t able to respond faster to your e-mail. Please find below my answers: Q:Can a Brazilian (Christian, Occidental, but not American) and his family feel safe in SA? A: I don’t think you will have any problem in SA. SA is a safe country. There have been a few incidents in the past few months but it is not something we are used to and it should end soon. The common Saudi people don’t have a problem with Christians. The only Christians that might get into problems are those who try to convert other Muslims to Christianity. Other than that, you should be very ok and even enjoy your stay. After all, I know some work colleagues who have been in Saudi Arabia for 24 and 26 years, they wouldn’t have stayed this long if they didn’t like it here. Q: Can my wife and my daughter (10 years old) dress like in Brazil? A: If you are talking short skirts and this type of clothing, I’m afraid it would be difficult to do this in Saudi Arabia. As you might now, Saudi Arabia is a conservative country. Q: Inside the compounds, life is similar to the rest of the cities? A: Residential compounds are designed to suite western life style, in Saudi Arabia, it is like going to another country. Q: Is it necessary (or useful) to learn Arabian Language? A: It is not necessary at all. You will be amazed how a lot of propel here can speak English. But if you have the interest to learn, like many people I know, it won’t heart you and local people would appreciate it.

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  • 0MNS0's Profile Photo

    Re: Life & work in SAK (PART 2)

    by 0MNS0 Online Now Jun 28, 2004 at 11:23 PM

    Q: Education is fine? Heap? A: There are a number of international schools in SA. I don’t really know what country’s curriculum they follow. I line in Khobar, the eastern province, and I know that the American conciliate have a very good school that teaches American curriculum. Q: Health system is fine? A: SA has a very good health system. People from other countries come to Saudi Arabia seeking medical service. Q: Are Dahran, Al Khobar and Ad Dammam fine places to live? A: These three cities are really close to each other and you can not really tell when one city starts and the other ends. But for you, I think you will most likely stay in one of those residential camps in Khobar (unless you work for Aramco where they have their own camp in Dhahran) Q: Is it possible for my wife get a job? A: It depends on her qualifications. What kind of profession is she in? Q: Is it difficult to get a driver license? A: If you drive fine then it will be a piece of cake. Q: My wife can drive? A: only in residential camps or in nearby Bahrain. Q: How much money shall I expect to make in a year with such experience And what about allowance?? A: Sorry, I don’t know an answer to that problem. I think if you could contact an expat in Saudi Arabia, he/she would be able to help you in that. Q: In an average basis, how much (%) expats do save in a year? A: Im not really sure, but I think you will be able to save a lot since you wont be spending a lot. Life here is cheap. Q: How many days for vacancies per year? Company helps with tickets to visit home? A: I’m sorry, I don’t know an answer for that. I think your company will be the best source.

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    Re: Life & work in SAK

    by 0MNS0 Online Now Jun 29, 2004 at 4:03 AM

    I’m very sorry, when I was answering your questions I didn’t understand that you plan to work with Aramco so I made my answers a bit generalized. Working in Aramco is way much better than working in any other place in SA (that’s my opinion anyway). Inside Aramco camp you will have good schools for your children, a big hospital and green residential areas close to work. I think you will like it there…. I don’t know but most of the expats I chat with tell me that one major reason for liking the work in Aramco is because SA is a good place to raise kids. I almost forgot, Bahrain a very… and I mean very close, the bridge between SA and Bahrain can be a bit crowded sometimes though. In Bahrain, you will get nice beaches where you and your family cane sunbathe, cinemas and good malls.

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    Re: Re: Life & work in SAK

    by Ziad84 Online Now Jun 29, 2004 at 4:28 AM

    Hello there Guilherme my name is Ziad and for most of my life I have lived in Saudi Arabia I was a resident of the Aramco Compound. If you are going to be working as a full time employee for Saudi Aramco then you do qualify to live in the Aramco Compound if not then you will have to make do with a compound outside Aramco which are usually a bit more expensive than the Aramco Compound. Yes, a Christian Brazilian can feel safe in Saudi Arabia. The people are very welcoming and the newer generation is very well educated so what you see in TV isn’t always true (this coming from a former expat living in Saudi Arabia). Your daughter and wife can dress anyway they want in the compounds but have to dress conservatively when out in the shopping centers, market, etc… Yes, compound life is a lot like the cities of the Western world there are facilities ranging from golf to swimming in the compounds in Saudi Arabia No, it isn’t you would be surprised at the number of English speaking locals. Education is very good compared to the US and England. There are a number of schools Dahran Academy, Rahima Academy, BISAK. Yes, Saudi Arabia prides itself on having some of the top hospitals in the world. Yes, Khobar Daharan and Dammam are fine places to live but I’d rather stay in Dahran or Khobar if I was you its more lively in those two areas. Yes, your wife can get a job at one of the schools or women’s institutions there. No, it isn’t difficult to get a driver’s license and it usually costs50 to make one. No, your wife can’t drive outside compounds and Aramco. Anywhere from60,000-$70,000. But remember that companies usually pay for housing, allowance, schools and paid vacations. Expats save a lot of money and usually choose to work in Saudi because of the NO TAX policy which is good because most EXPATS come to Saudi broke and leave millionaires so if there is anything else I could answer! Please don’t hesitate and email me at z_daher85@hotmail.com

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