Saudi Arabia: How expensive is it?

The Middle East is an extremely popular destination for TEFLers worldwide. Saudi Arabia is a fascinating country with an exciting culture waiting to be explored. If you’re after big bucks and year-round sunshine, this is probably the TEFL destination for you!

Schools and language institutes throughout Saudi Arabia usually demand high qualifications including a degree plus a level 5 TEFL qualification. However the rewards of having such qualifications are endless, expect to earn around $3300 per month, enough to live a very comfortable life and even save some cash to fund further travels.

Before jetting off to the Middle East you might want to consider the cost of living in Saudi Arabia.

The Basics –Signing a contract with a Saudi Arabian school or language institute will usually land you some sort of free accommodation (usually a room within a shared house). However, if you’d like to be a bit more independent and live the high life, you can rent a 1 bedroom city centre apartment for an average of $400 per month. Living outside of the city centre? Then expect to pay a little less for your accommodation, around $300 per month.

So we’ve gathered that the cost of renting accommodation in Saudi Arabia is pretty cheap but of course there are also utilities to consider when budgeting your costs. Water, electricity, air conditioning and garbage collection bills usually come to around $45 per month, add this to the cost of a good internet connection ($55 per month) and expect to pay in total, around $100 per month for all of your bills.

Basics total: $500 per month

Wine & Dine –On average, the cost of living in Saudi Arabia is quite cheap compared to most western countries. Basic foods like milk, bread and potatoes can cost as little as $1. If you’re the health conscious kind, fruit and vegetables will set you back around $1-2 apiece. Eggs are also a cheap food item in Saudi Arabia, a carton of 12 will only cost $2. Chicken is slightly more expensive at around $5 per kg. The price of this next food item might shock you, local cheeses can cost around $8 per kg, slightly more expensive than western prices.

Wine & Dine total: Around $100-200 per month (depending on what you like to eat)

 Getting from A to B –Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East so getting from A to B can be as short or as long a journey as you’d like. Due to the vast development of the county’s infrastructure over the past few decades, it is now easier than ever to travel around the country.

For a one way ticket on local transport expect to pay around $0.50, cheap right?! But if you’ll be using public transport a lot to get around, an unlimited monthly pass will set you back just $40! Although public transport is ridiculously cheap, most Saudi Arabian’s get around using their own transport (a car). With a litre of fuel costing just $0.14 you can see why it’s the preferred method of transportation for most of the country’s 29million population.

If you budget around $50 per month for your transportation around your local area, you should be absolutely fine. If you’re planning to travel further afield, cross country for example, budget a little more (and get ready for those long drives).

Therefore, if our calculations are correct, the total budget for basic food, accommodation, transport and bills should come to around $750 per month.

The Added Extras – TEFL is a great way to see the world and earn money at the same time, it also opens up so many fantastic opportunities! With salaries in Saudi Arabia topping $3000 per month, this leaves you around $2250 disposable income, enough to live a very comfortable life and save some cash to fund your further travels. Visit Saudi Arabia’s sights and see what the fantastic country has to offer.

So, living in Saudi Arabia – is it worth the cost? Becoming a TEFL teacher in Saudi Arabia is a fantastic opportunity to earn a great amount of money whilst experiencing one of the most fascinating cultures on the globe.

With a combination of great salaries and the low cost of living, TEFL is a great option for those looking to travel around Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

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    hi i just read through the report on teaching english in the middle east and especially saudi arabia.i dont have a degree as such.will i still land a good job teaching english or what will my various options be.

    • Elle Pollicott

      Hi Yusuf, the Middle East and in particular Saudi Arabia are extremely strict with the requirements to be a TEFL teacher, and unfortunately, without a degree, you wouldn’t be able to find work there. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to TEFL if you don’t have a University degree: much of Asia – including China, Laos and Cambodia don’t require degrees; and you can also find a job in Turkey and Egypt without a degree (provided you don’t work in a public school in the latter), which are both closer to the Middle East. If you want to venture further afield, there are also lots of TEFL jobs for people without degrees all through South America and Europe. Hope this helps, and good luck with your TEFL job hunt! Elle

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