At Kaust I learned geostatistics, data analysis, numerical methods, inverse problems and modeling. There I was offered an amazing cultural experience, I had the opportunity to meet students and faculty from every country on earth and live in a vivid and active community.

The university hosts one of the only cinemas and green golf courses in the kingdom, a private beach, bowling, swimming pool, gym, and much more. The major downside is the weather which is hot and humid, the air is carried with dust (sand) making it impossible to see the stars in the sky, the sky during the day is always blue but the range of view is limited, most of the time it is not possible to see distant constructions. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is an international, graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in the Kingdom, in the region, and around the globe. As an independent, merit-based institution, KAUST’s pioneering matrix structure of academic divisions and interdisciplinary research centers enables top researchers from around the globe and across all cultures to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological issues.

The KAUST global research and education networks support diverse talents, both on its campus and at other premier universities and research institutions, through collaborative research agreements, grants, and student scholarship programs. KAUST, open to both men and women from all around the world, is governed by an independent, self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. The core campus, located on more than 36 million square meters on the Red Sea at Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, was inaugurated on the 23rd of September 2009.

The weather is extreme consisting basically of a desert climate (BWh). In the eastern region (Jeddah, Kaust) due to the influence to the Red Sea the climate is less severe. Average summer temperatures are around 45 °C, but can be as high as 54 °C. In the winter the temperature are incredibly good and the average is around 29 °C. Annual rainfall is extremely low.

My experience living here has been very pleasant, I met lots of students from several different nationalities, I got the chance of participating actively in my community, improve my leadership skills and having fun. A major point to be considered in Saudi Arabia is the traffic, driving is Saudi Arabia is prohibitive. Only men can drive and the transit is terrible.

The coast of living in Saudi Arabia is quite low. Food, general supplies are reasonably cheap (cheaper than in Brazil or in the USA). Electronics are usually 10 to 20% more expensive than in the USA, the same applies to clothes and perfumes. Imported gods are widely available. It is possible to buy anything from any major brands in Jeddah. There are several big shopping centers all over the city with renowned stores. There are no taxes anywhere. No income tax, no VAT and so on. Importing items to the quite easy and straight forward. Some stores ship overseas (Amazon, and so on). The shipping takes time but always reach its final destination.

The overall quality of life is really good. It is extremely safe, the weather is extreme but all the buildings have air conditioned, the people are friendly and concerned about your well-being. The cultural experience is amazing. There are several touristic attractions all over the kingdom. From modern sculptures all scatter over the city of Jeddah to resort cities like Taif. Some remarkable places are: Taif a city in the mountains at 1800 m high, it has a moderate climate allowing its agricultural utilization. The city is known for its roses and grapes. During the summer the Saudi royal family moves to Taif and it becomes the house of the Saudi government.

Meda’In Saleh is a historic pre Islamic era construction site similar to Petra in Jordan (1st century AD). There are 131 tombs sculptured in the rocks. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and the first one in Saudi Arabia. The best known UNESCO heritage site in Saudi is Al Balad, in Jeddah. The Arab tradition for commerce is visible in the old town (Al Balad), the ancient commercial hub close to the old port. The city was founded in the 7th century, along its history it has suffered several invasion attempts. Nonetheless, it became a fortress. Most of its defensive walls were taken down in the 1940s, but it is still possible to see well preserved remainings around the city. It is possible to buy anything there including gold and precious stones. A very important remark: For men is prohibited to wear gold. It is unusual to me but it is based on the principles of the Islam. Arabs tend to be humble (I may sound unreal due to the huge constructions and investments).

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