Reflections from an American nanny in Saudi Arabia

When we first met Andrea, we knew she was special. Here at The Help Company, we pride ourselves on making great matches that make employers and employees happy. One of our favorite clients, (we know we shouldn’t have favorites, but sometimes it is hard not to!) needed a nanny to go live in Saudi Arabia with her. It is a big life change and adventure that is not for everyone but Andrea packed her bags and 2 years later, she is loving her experience. Here is an insight into Andrea’s adventure:

OwensAndrea2            OwensAndrea11

 

Q: How has your experience been living abroad?

A: This has been such an incredible experience.  From exploring my new home city or cities from our travels to meeting other nannies from all over the world and being able to share stories has created some lasting friendships. I love to meet new people and find it interesting to see what others have to offer. I believe there is a ton to learn from crossing the paths of others from all walks of life and becoming a nanny aboard has been just the icing on the cake for me.

 

Q: What would you tell other nannies that are considering moving abroad to work with a family?

A: When you travel to another part of the world one of the most important things you need to remember is to keep an open and respectful mind.  Embrace and welcome the unfamiliar and the unexpected and I promise your travel experience will be more enjoyable and fulfilling. I also suggest looking into the STEP program. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You will receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. It also helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency and can help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

 

Q: What have been the biggest rewards?

A: Working with and watching children blossom is always such a reward in any situation but realizing if I hadn’t taken this chance, I would have never had these opportunities to enjoy such a different culture and lifestyle. This whole process has been a huge reward.

 

Q: Have you learned some of the language?

A: I have! Not as much as I want to though. With the girls first language already being English, I rarely am forced to speak Arabic but I can speak a few broken sentences to try and communicate with drivers or locals if need be.

 

Q: What have been eye-opening experiences that you would have never had the chance to be a part of if you were a nanny in the states?

A: This experience as a whole has been such an eye opener for me so it is hard to only touch base with just a few. To see first hand how others from different parts of the world go about daily living. One of the reasons why I love traveling so much is because I get to experience the world in a different way.  I get to experience new customs and a new culture, which I feel, makes me a better and wiser person.  There’s a lot that we read and hear about when it comes to other parts of the world but actually visiting and experiencing another country in person is quite different.

Some unforgettable times that really stick out for me would have to be having the opportunity to explore the Saudi desert. It’s such a beautiful place and in the winter months can get reasonable chilly, which I never knew. We were able to ride camels and take ATVs to explore the sand dunes. Something so different that I never would have had the opportunity to see from back home.  The National Museum, the Masmak Fortress and the Kingdom Tower with it spectacular sky bridge were also great to experience but the Janadriyah festival is probably the one thing that will stick with me forever. Janadriyah is the venue for Saudi Arabia’s national festival of heritage and culture. A colorful festival, held in the winter season every year, which normally falls during the month of February or March.  The festival, as a website describes it, is a rich cultural presentation of the past and present Saudi Arabia. It highlights the culture and heritage of the country, which, for the new generation, is a window to the vibrant past. Truly an incredible time!

 

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