Hi! I am Ossama, a student to become a Engineer surveyor. I studied in the USA, but I am originally from Saudi Arabia.
Find me on social media:
What to expect in this article:
To begin with, let me introduce myself and tell you about my journey traveling from Saudi Arabia to the United States.
My name is Ossama Alnuwaiser, and I am from Saudi Arabia. The idea of traveling to study abroad came to mind when a friend of my father came to our house and suggested that we should travel to the United States in order to continue our education.
My twin brother and I just graduated from high school. We were applying to universities. We applied to the Sacramento English Institute at California State University of Sacramento and we got accepted.
One month after my father’s friend’s visit, we left for the United States to study English as a second language. Everything was quick and unexpected. We did not know much about the country, and we did not know what to expect.
It ended up being a life-changing opportunity. If it was for my study, I would not have made my website: Awesome Traveller. I would not be able to speak and write as I do now, so for that I am forever grateful.
When we arrived in the USA, we had a cultural shock. Back in the day, women wear Abaia in Saudi Arabia, which covers their whole body. It is part of the religion. Now, it becomes more open and women can choose not to worry about it.
My mother and relatives all wear it when going out, so I am used to being around women who wear it. They cover their whole body when being around strangers or non-household relatives. The only women that do not wear it around me are my mom and aunts.
However, when I moved to the USA. It all changed because I have to interact with women who does not wear it, which was hard at first. I get nervous talking to women, but with time I got used to it.
One thing that you should know is that men and women are segregated in schools in Saudi Arabia, which means each has their own school. As a result, I am not used to interacting with women that are not my mom or aunt. Not having a sister made it even more difficult.
However, in the USA, it is more open and I had women in my classes, which was a whole new experience for me. It was hard to interact, but nothing that time cannot fix. With time, I got used to it. I became more confident around women and was able to talk to them as it was in my own culture.
Why did I move to the USA?
When I was only 18 when I left for the United States, and I stayed in the United States for about 7 years. The first year I studied English as a second language at an English Institute.
The following year, in 2012, I transferred to Sacramento City College where I studied a biology major. In 2015 I transferred to Sacramento State University of California. I continue my education to become a clinical laboratory scientist (CLS).
I took some years off college and went back home to see my family. I did not study all the time I was there. Due to some personal reasons, I could not finish my education. I only had one year left in the University, but I left the United States due to some personal reasons, and I could not find a university that would accept me in my country.
Right now, I am studying at an institute related to the Nasser Al-Hajri Corporation. I am studying to become an Engineer surveyor. It is a job related to construction projects. Life has not been easy for me as I have been struggling to find a job, but I am still grateful for what I have.
What's it like to study in the USA?
To those that are traveling to the United States in order to continue their education, I would recommend you learn English before going if you have the chance.
It would ease the process for you, and you would not need to spend 2 years studying English before applying for university.
It only took me 9 months to finish studying English at the institute and apply for college. I would recommend applying to university right away instead of applying to college. It would take you longer to graduate as you will take extra classes.
Unfortunately, that is what I did. It took me two years and a half in college, which you would graduate 4 to 5 years in the University
There were so many people from Saudi Arabia in the USA. Mostly they continue their master’s degree. Unfortunately, most of them could not pass Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and get accepted in college, which is why I would recommend you to prepare to study English before coming to the USA as you only have 1 year to take the exam. The exam questions are in English, so you need to be good in English.
If you ever need help with your exam or anything else while you are in the USA, you should visit the Instagram page Saudi in the USA. I used it many times looking for help. For instance, when I lost my passport, I asked for help on how to apply for a new passport. It was very helpful.
Want to read more about living abroad?
Want to know what it is like to live and work in Barcelona? Whether it is because you are planning to move there or just because you are interested, this
What's it like to travel in Saudi Arabia?
Safe for women
On the plus side, Saudi Arabia is safe and women can stay there without being harassed or bothered. You can hardly hear a story about a woman being harassed or raped, but unfortunately in the United States, it is very common.
Therefore, I would say to my fellow traveler. Traveling to Saudi Arabia is completely safe, especially for women, and can be fun knowing the people, the culture, the traditions, and visiting some attractions. You can have fun visiting this country as much as visiting any other country, so do not hesitate.
We have tourist attractions that can awaken your soul, other attractions that keep your mind wondering, and attractions that for a moment can make your heart palpitate.
If you love nature, you should head down to Abha or Taif. There are filled with mountains and mesmerizing views. You can easily spot monkeys running around the street. You can stop by to give them a treat. As a matter of fact, their richness in flora and fauna makes them a perfect spot for tourism
Adding to that, it is easy to find people who can speak English in Saudi Arabia, so even if you cannot communicate in Arabic, you can easily get by. There are a high number of people who study abroad as part of scholarship programs, and others who study English in Universities. There are foreigners who know Arabic as well and can speak English. Most of my friends that I hang out with are majoring in English and teach English in institutes or universities.
Taif: Paradise on earth
Taif, for instance, is a paradise on earth. It elevates 1400 meters above sea level. You can enjoy the semi-desert nature reserve that contains Acacia gerrardii trees and wild herbs. In addition, you can easily spot Houbara and Arabia’s oryx wandering around the city. If you are a big fan of animals and nature, you should visit the Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research at Taif to learn more about the plants and wildlife of the city. There many animals that are being cared for at the center, such as Ostrich, Arabian leopard, Nubian Ibex, baboons, birds of prey, and Onagers.
Not to forget, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is filled with activities and places that anyone can enjoy visiting, such as Boulevard Riyadh City, Saudi Skate Park, escape room ksa, Bujairi Terrace, Doos Kart, and Wadi Hanifa. This is only a glimpse of what it has to offer.
Of course, there is more to see in Riyadh, so make sure to make some research before going and choose the kind of activities that you like. If you like nature, then Riyadh is not the kind of place to go to because it is in the middle of Saudi Arabia and surrounded by desert.
Misconceptions about Saudi Arabia
Some people think that Saudi ride camels for transportation. As a matter of fact, someone asked me about this when I was in the USA, so I found it funny. We do have cars that we use on a daily bases.
Another misconception is that all Saudis live in the desert. There are Badu who live in the desert, but very few. We do have houses that are furnished like everybody else.
Food and traditions in Saudi Arabia
I am from Alhasa: The biggest Oasis in the world. It is also a tourist destination. It contains more than 50 villages, and each village speaks differently.
I can tell the person where he/she is from just by hearing them speak. The people there are quite friendly and welcoming. It is a great place to learn the traditions and culture of the country.
If you make a friend there, you are more likely to be invited to their house for some food and quality time. You might also try some Saudi Traditional Foods, such as Kabasa and Mandi. Those are made of rice, vegetables, spices, and meat, chicken, or fish.
There are many restaurants where you could also try those traditional foods, and plus more such as Al-Romansiah and Al-Tazaj. They are scattered all over the country, so whatever city you are visiting, you should look for one that is available in the city. You won’t regard it.
The food prices in those restaurants are quite affordable and of good quality. Unlikely other restaurants that are expensive and do not fulfill you.
The food can be expensive or cheap depending on the type of food and restaurants. For instance, burgers can be expensive in general in many restaurants and not fulfilling because it served in small portions, but can be cheap in a few.
So make your research if you are traveling on a budget. In general, chicken and rice are pretty cheap and can be fulfilling because it served in high portions.
As part of the tradition, we usually eat rice and meat/chicken for lunch. Sometimes, we eat it for dinner on special occasions.
We never eat rice in the morning because it can be heavy. We usually eat light meals in the morning, such as eggs with tomatoes called shakshuka. It is a common meal not only in Saudi Arabia but all over the middle east.
We also eat Banana Masoub in the morning. It is a traditional Yamen food, but very popular in Saudi Arabia. It is made of banana, ground Flatbread, cream or milk, nuts, honey, and raisin.
Return to the USA?
Some might wonder if I want to go back to the USA. I would love to go back to the USA someday, especially because there are places that I have not visited. I would like to visit New York City and Florida, especially Disney World in Orlando.
To sum up, if you are represented with an opportunity, you should take it.
You never know, it might be a life-changing opportunity, like when my father’s friend came to our house to offer an opportunity to study abroad. It is when I discovered my passion for traveling and made my blog. Do not let fear be on the way. You will get through it day by day. I hope you enjoyed my article that discusses traveling to the USA and gives you a glimpse of what Saudi has to offer.
I hope you liked reading about my experience in the USA.If you happen to be visiting Saudi Arabia, or already live here, and you're looking for more places to visit, go check my website for more inspiration. Greetings, Ossama
Want to read more about living abroad?
Hi! I am Marta Rubio, a 36 year old Spanish girl living in The Netherlands, since 14 years. Find me
Hi, I am Kesini! I am 23 years old, and I am originally from Thailand. I moved to the Netherlands
Hi, I am Daphne! I am 25 years old, live in the Netherlands and I worked in Florida for a
Hi! My name is Anja and I lived almost 13 years in Suriname, also known as Dutch Guyana. It is
Hi! We are Lizette (34) and Leon (30), aka The Salty Beachbums. We are two Dutchies who love to travel.
Want to know what it is like to live and work in Barcelona? Whether it is because you are planning
Are you planning to live and maybe even work in Barcelona? You have made a great decision. Barcelona is an