Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and is the birthplace and spiritual home of Islam. It is also one of the most difficult places on earth to visit so a period working here grants rare access.

From the ancient, rock hewn archaeological site of Madain Saleh, to the world-class diving off the Red Sea coast, the mudbrick ruins of Dir'aiyah and the Asir Mountains of the southwest, this is a country of beauty and contrast. And then there is all that desert - most famously the Empty Quarter - an eery expanse of undulating dunes.

Jeddah, the Red Sea port is relatively cosmopolitan, as is capital Riyadh. Here elegant cafés and restaurants jostle with shops ranging from traditional souks to upmarket malls with the latest designer ranges.

The Saudi Embassy advises women to dress conservatively in public. This means wearing ankle-length dresses with long sleeves and strictly no trousers. In many areas and particularly in Riyadh, women are pressured to wear an abaya - a head to toe black covering. A woman traveling with a man who is not her husband, sponsor or a male relative can be arrested.

Given that the accommodation is paid for, and that rates of pay are excellent, many expats choose to work in Saudi Arabia for a period to save money and return home having done exactly that. Being located in the Middle East also means many holiday destinations in Africa, India, Australia and South East Asia are much closer than from Europe.The official language is Arabic but English is widely understood and always used by Pulse staff in their place of work.

Al Ahsa

Al Ahsa is a traditional oasis region in eastern Saudi Arabia. With a history that stretches back around 2000 years it is also the greenest place in the Eastern part of Saudi and filled with numerous swaying palm trees. It's conveniently situated close to the causeway to more Westernised Bahrain, which is a relatively short drive away.

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Dammam can be found in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province. Once a cluster of fishing villages it has morphed into a thriving, modern city, fuelled by its oil industry and sea port. It boasts ancient sites and tax free shopping and, lIke Al Ahsa, is situated close to the causeway that takes you to the more liberal Bahrain.

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Jeddah, popularly known as ‘The Ancestor of Women’, is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. It's less conservative than Riyadh, has a nice climate thanks to its coastal location and is a good base for Muslims who wish to relocate as it acts as a gateway to Mecca. Jeddah also has good tax free shopping and a cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants.

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Situated in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, Madinah is the second holiest city in Islam. With a population of around 600,000 people, you won't be able to live or work here unless you are Muslim. Its name means "City of the Prophet of Allah" and it was to Madinah city that Muhammad fled when he was driven out of Mecca.

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Old and new co-exist in bustling capital Riyadh, once a mudbrick settlement that now rises shimmering from the desert around. You can visit historical sites in the morning, sleek shopping centres in the afternoon and dine at excellent restaurants in the evening. For those relocating with children, Riyadh has a range of excellent international schools.

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