Living in Saudi Arabia – Postgraduate Guide |
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Living in Saudi Arabia – Postgraduate Guide

Written by Ben Taylor

Vibrant cities, sprawling deserts and stunning architecture. . . Saudi Arabia is a unique place to study a Masters. Golden beaches along the coast of the Red Sea make for a perfect getaway from the library, while generous scholarship programmes are available for international students at many Saudi universities.

This page will give you an overview of everything you need to know about postgraduate life in Saudi Arabia, from accommodation and culture to transport and living costs.

What’s it like to study abroad in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is an excellent destination for adventurous international postgraduates, combining centuries of Islamic tradition with fantastic opportunities for exciting outdoor activities.

Whether you want to explore major cities like Riyadh and Jeddah or explore the Empty Quarter’s rolling sand dunes, you won’t be short on things to do during your Masters in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has a dynamic local art scene and UNESCO-listed traditional architecture, while Jeddah’s location on the Red Sea coastline makes it a renowned hub for scuba diving.

Saudi Arabia’s expansive deserts are a great day trip and can be traversed via camel, jeep or quad bike (adrenaline junkies might want to try their hand at sandboarding down the dunes!).

Saudi cuisine is diverse and delicious, with everything from kabsa (meat and rice) and shwarma doner kebabs to offerings from the country’s large Indian, Pakistani and Filipino immigrant communities. Alcohol is strictly forbidden – instead, locals enjoy coffee, teas and soft drinks in relaxed café settings.

Saudi Arabia is a very traditional country, so you should be careful to observe its customs and etiquette while studying there. These are the main rules to follow in the cities and countryside:

  • Men and women should be separate in public places unless they’re family
  • Women should wear modest clothing, covering up when in public

You’ll find that on-campus, the rules are sometimes more relaxed, however, with women free to wear Western clothing and mix with males.

Search for a Masters in Saudi Arabia

Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse and compare Masters degrees in Saudi Arabia on


There’s a good variety of student accommodation on offer in Saudi Arabia. Depending on the university you attend, housing may be included in a scholarship offer to you – this is the case at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), for example.

Accommodation in Saudi Arabia includes the following types of housing:

  • Apartments
  • Townhouses
  • Villas

Student residences are often segregated by gender. There is normally dedicated housing with those with families and / or children.

Living costs

Saudi Arabia is a very affordable place to live, with the average person spending around 2,632 SAR (USD $800) per month according to crowdsourced data from Numbeo. The average rent for a one-bedroom, city-centre apartment in Saudi Arabia is around 1,763 SAR (USD $470).

Prices in Saudi Arabia.

These are some typical student expenses you may encounter during your time in Saudi Arabia:

  • Restaurant meal – 25 SAR (USD $6.65)
  • Cinema ticket – 65 SAR (USD $17.30)
  • Monthly travel Pass – 100 SAR (USD $26.60)
  • Monthly utilities – 379 SAR (USD $100.80)

Learn more about studying in Saudi Arabia

Looking for more information about Masters study in Saudi Arabia? Our detailed guide covers everything from university rankings and courses to fees, funding and applications.

Working whilst studying

Unfortunately, international students can’t work during their Masters in Saudi Arabia. You may be able to take part in an unpaid internship if it’s related to your course and approved by your university.

Further information

These are a few more practicalities to take into account while planning for your postgraduate adventure in Saudi Arabia.

Health insurance

All international students at Saudi universities must be covered by a valid health insurance policy.

If you’ve received a full scholarship to study a Masters in Saudi Arabia, your funding and accommodation will usually include health insurance too.


Once you arrive in Saudi Arabia, it’s a good idea to open a local student bank account so that you can avoid unnecessary international transaction fees. You’ll usually need the following documents to do this:

  • Your passport
  • Proof of address (i.e. a tenancy agreement)
  • Proof of enrolment at your university
  • Your residence permit
  • Your student visa

The currency in Saudi Arabia is the Saudi riyal (SAR). Cash and card are accepted across the kingdom and ATMs are widespread.


Saudi Arabia is a huge country but there are several options for getting from A to B. Major cities like Riyadh, Jeddah and Medina are linked by train, while an extensive domestic flight network is useful if you’re in a hurry. Buses connect more remote parts of Saudi Arabia.

In the cities themselves, public transport is usually rather underdeveloped, but taxis are plentiful and relatively cheap.

Search for a Masters in Saudi Arabia

Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse and compare Masters degrees in Saudi Arabia on

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Last updated: 25 October 2022