This archived article was written by: Nathan Pena
Before coming to USU Eastern, I have lived in the western coast of Saudi Arabia which is just off the coast of the Red Sea. Life is quite different in the United States compared to Saudi Arabia, and the differences are a topic for hilarity. So here are the main reason as to the many odd things that Saudi Arabia has and what the U.S. has not.
Saudi Arabia does not have a single public theater. Either you wait for the movie to be released on DVD, or you pay to get it on Netflix or Hulu. This is crazy when you think about it, not a single place to watch the next Marvel movie (*cough* Age of Ultron). But this is because of the cultural rules the country follows. It is law that a man and woman must not stay together unless the two are married. Even the high schools-even international ones-do not have a male and a female in the same classroom. They build walls to separate the genders. So what would be a massive no and must be banned? Two people watching a movie in a dark area together for one and a half hours.
Another is that gas prices in Saudi Arabia which are 91 cents a gallon in U.S. currency. Looking at the prices of the resource here in the U.S., it is hard to imagine that it costs so much less in the Middle East. Probably the reason why is that Saudi Arabia sits in a large amount of oil, which is used to trade with other nations around the globe. Saudi Arabia has so much of this resource, that in almost any direction out of the cities, you can see large oil refineries with their steel candles burning as they process the oil.
Saudi Arabia is all sand and barren mountains, but the weather can be as freaky as Utah. In the vast deserts of the Middle East, it rains. Rain in the country can either be light in one day, or it can be so heavy that it floods bridges and roads for hours in another. Sometimes both situations happen in a single day. Also instead of snowstorms we have sandstorms, heavy sandstorms. In one area in Saudi Arabia, there was a sandstorm so large it turned the afternoon into a pitch-black night. In cities with high elevations, it snows and hails during the winter months.
Now you may wonder why I am far away from home. There are thousands of amazing universities around the outskirts of the cities. These universities are funded by the government and so these universities lean over to the scientific form of education. They are amazing, however the requirements to apply to one of these universities is extremely high. One university nearest to where I used to live requires you to have a masters degree. It also requires large amounts of money just for the tuition, not including the books and other supplies.
Yes, Saudi Arabia may be a parallel world to the U.S., but it is also a country where you can get the most out of your life. The people you meet come from a variety of nations, you will be in the center of a melting pot. You will get to know the different traditions of many countries just by making friends in Saudi Arabia. It is a wonderful country, a place rich with tradition and culture and this is basically my life in Saudi Arabia.