Destination KAUST: Living at a seaside resort

By | March 6, 2016

After nearly 5 years at KAUST with two little kids in tow it’s easy to forget that we live at a resort. It’s possible to be too busy with life to take a moment to slow down and enjoy all the wonderful amenities we have at our doorstep. With that in mind, my husband and I try to set aside time to enjoy the resort life. I got this idea a few years ago after trying to put together a fun getaway to Jeddah with my husband to celebrate our anniversary. As I researched fun things to do in Jeddah, I realized that there is nothing more fun than seeing the seaside and eating good food – and we can do all that here at KAUST.

Recently we spent the day enjoying some of the fun things KAUST has to offer, including:

A bike ride around KAUST. The streets are flat and everything is close-by, making biking the best way to see KAUST.

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We rode out past the marina to the Beacon.

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… where we got the obligatory selfie.

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And a lovely view of Al Marsa restaurant, the student apartments, and the academic campus.

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Then we hopped back on our bikes and headed over to North Beach. This is a beautiful, nearly empty beach with mangroves, a walking path, and stunning views of the Red Sea.

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After lunch, we went to the Island Recreation Center for another nice view of the sea…

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…and a dip in the seaside pool.

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Then we had dinner at Pure. Pure is an open-air restaurant right on the sea. It has spectacular views…

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…especially at sunset.

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On our way out, we saw some people playing volleyball, which looked divine.

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… and we didn’t even get close to seeing ALL the fun things our small community has to offer. We missed out on snorkeling, the swimming beach, and all the other water sports like stand-up paddle boarding and sailing. We didn’t make it to the golf course, the climbing wall, or to play racquet sports. We didn’t make it to eat fish and chips by way of the water taxi or for a picnic at the King Abdullah Monument. We didn’t get a chance to go bowling or the movies either. I guess we’ll just need to schedule another Destination KAUST day again soon.

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  • hialonso

    Hi Claire, I am Akmal from Indonesia. I have been following your blog for a while, since I am applying for my master degree in KAUST. Thank you for your great information.

    Anyway, I stumbled upon some blog in the internet, which wrote about the kind of discrimination in KAUST. Here is the link.

    http://saudiaggie.blogspot.co.id/2010/04/discrimination-at-kaust-oger-way.html
    and
    http://richarddenny.tumblr.com/post/593749834/the-other-side-of-kaust

    Is the author said the truth? What is your view as a member of KAUST community?

    Thank you for your attention. I hope you have a nice day :)

  • hialonso

    Hi Claire, I am Akmal from Indonesia. I have been following your blog for a while, since I am applying for my master degree in KAUST. Thank you for your great information.

    Anyway, I stumbled upon some blog in the internet, which wrote about the kind of discrimination in KAUST. Here is the link. (Sadly, the forum block it as a spam, you can google it by “KAUST Discrimination though)

    Is the author said the truth? What is your view as a member of KAUST community?

    Thank you for your attention. I hope you have a nice day :)

  • Eva

    Dear Claire, the work you have put on this blog might be life-saving for me! I was searching ‘life in Jeddah’ topics in google, before I apply for a position at KAUST. To be honest I wasn’t that positive, until I found your blog! I think I am gonna go for it! I mean..free housing and insurance(!!!), friends all over, high salaries, activities, trips, pools and stuff! Why not? Wow thanks! (One question though: Any advice on where could my (english-speaking-withnodiplomas-UNILEVER merchandiser..) boyfriend take a job? I mean, it’s not that difficult, is it?) Again, thank you!

  • Hi Eva — thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that my work has been helpful to you and that it changed your perspective of what life is like here. I do want to clarify a bit though – the housing and insurance are not free and the salaries are similar to elsewhere. I hope I did not give you those impressions – and if I did, please let me know where I said that and I will clarify where possible.

    Regarding your question: There are jobs available for spouses at KAUST but only married spouses are able to relocate here. You should cover these topics with your relocation advisor or HR rep before you make anything final.

    Hope this helps!

  • Eva

    Hi Claire, thank you for your answer! In the phd position advertisement that I saw, it clearly stated that ‘Admitted students receive a stipend, free housing, and free medical insurance (health care).’ I just assumed that’s the case for every KAUST position. Maybe this is not true at all.. I should have searched it before I become that enthusiastic! Thanks again!

  • Oh yes, that’s true for students, but not everyone. The benefits package differs from contract to contract so please make sure you check it out. Still, water, electricity, and internet are free – and we get 30 days holiday + 10 days of eid vacations each year. The benefits are good – just not quite as good as you were saying :)