Saudi Gazette reports that students returning to Saudi Arabia after years of living and studying abroad are sometimes finding it difficult to slide back into their own cultures. Where things might have been easy in foreign countries — public transportation, dealing with bureaucracies, etc. — upon their return they’re met with cultural and social regulations that are inhibiting if not utterly dysfunctional. The need, for example, for a female to have a male guardian with her just to pay a bill is galling.
These returned students are realistic, however, in acknowledging that change — even inevitable and necessary change — comes slowly in the Kingdom. Patience will out.
Scholarship students: Big dreams, slow change
Laura Bashraheel | Saudi Gazette
Thousands of Saudi students under the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program have had the opportunity to study at prestigious universities abroad — to gain education and expertise in specialized courses not offered in the Kingdom and then heartily contribute to their country’s development.
Recently, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah approved the extension of the scholarship program for another five years.
The Saudi government invests SR9 billion in King Abdullah Scholarship Program each year, providing full funding for 125,000 students — both in undergraduate and postgraduate programs abroad.
The scholarship’s main goals are to prepare Saudis to replace expatriate workers in jobs, thus reducing unemployment. Also, Saudi Arabia is going through a social and economic change and these graduates who hopefully on their return would contribute to create a more open society.