As the end of the school year closes, it’s a time of change at KAUST. Many people are departing this time of year and the classifieds listings are going mad with people selling household items. And, just as these people leave, their spots are filled by bright-eyed and enthusiastic new people. This is one of the absolute best parts of living in a University town. There is a constant sense of rejuvenation.
Recently, a new community member named Patrick wrote on one of the KAUST online community groups. He wanted to meet people and put himself out there to see if anyone wanted to meet him. I was impressed with his post, so decided to write a few words about how to meet people at KAUST. Patrick: this post is for you!
One thing that’s really great about living on a compound like this, as I’ve said before, is that nobody is a local, which levels the playing field a bit. Everyone has been here for 4 years or less, and almost everyone seems eager to be inclusive and willing to make new friends and help new recruits out.
Here are a few specific ideas for getting settled-in socially:
Go to lunch with your colleagues
Hopefully your colleagues are cool. Hopefully they’re also thoughtful enough to invite you out to lunch. If they do, GO! You already have something in common with them, and in this small community your coworkers can be your best assent in terms of finding out about things to do and who to meet.
Go to the events
KAUST tends to host several events throughout the year. From big events like the annual Saudi National Day celebration, to smaller events like movie nights on Thuwal Park, these events can be a good opportunity to meet new people and catch up with existing friends.
Find out what’s going on at the gym, golf course, marina, and library
The gym, golf course, marina, and library all host regular events. There are yoga classes, dive trips, language learning classes, and more. Once you arrive, you can learn about all of these opportunities on the Facilities and Community website (website only accessible on compound). These regular events are all either free or cheap and are a great way to meet someone with a similar interest to you.
There are a variety of Self-Directed Groups and online-community groups to check out. The self-directed groups are special interest groups where people interested in a specific topic meet on a regular basis. There is a pet-owners group, a photography group, a cycle group etc. You can also start your own group if you’re so inclined. The online community groups are a good way to connect with people of similar interests or need. There is a shared taxi group, a place to sell and buy things, a general community conversation group and more.
A Final Thought: as this community is so small, you really only need to meet a couple people to start to be part of things. It seems that everyone knows everyone and you’ll soon be in the mix socially if you just get out there and try!