10 Struggles of an Arab Living Abroad

As much as we would love to stay smothered in our tight-knit Arab community, when opportunity calls we hit the road. At first it’s all touristy exploration, but then it hits you and the struggles are REAL!


1. The urge to compare western culture to back home



At first you’re all for a change in routine and surroundings as you delve into the foreign community and maybe even brag a little about. But just before you get comfortable, the constant comparisons and extensive mental pros and cons will start to stack up.



2. Price conversions become second nature



As a follow-up to your subconscious comparisons, you bust out your elementary maths skills, as every price tag becomes a quick mental maths quiz.



3. You try to adopt foreign culture, but you fail epically



Let’s just make this clear: you will try so hard to blend in with your surroundings from the way you dress to masking your accent. But the Arab side will always prevail!



4. No shatafa? Travel bidets are your best friend



The struggle is self-explanatory!



5. You develop a routine to avoid running late



As a part of your built-in Arab self, the average “ be there in 5 minutes” translates to “see you in an hour”. Thus, you diligently try to put “being late” as a part of your schedule or create a sequence of alarms to prevent that from happening.



6. You’re constantly explaining the fact that you don’t live in the middle of the desert and that you actually have Wi-Fi back home.



Believe it or not, camels are not our sole method of transportation!



7. You become an expert at calculating time difference



Due to your substantial efforts to keep up with gossip back home, you develop an exceptional ability to keep track of time difference (or you’re like me and you rely on a quick world clock check every time you want to call someone back home).


8. You’ve downloaded Viber, Talkray, Line , Facebook messenger and their equivalents to keep in touch with your friends back home


Due to the absurdly over-priced international calls, you become an expert on all the apps that help you get around that.



9. It’ll take a while to adapt to the Monday-Friday weekday schedule



Let’s just admit it, it feels weird going to work on a Friday.



10. As much as you love living abroad, you can’t help but smile when you see something from back home.



No matter how much time you spent traveling around, you’ll always have a soft spot for Middle Eastern food!


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