Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Saudi Boot Camp

Now admit it; you know you have stereotypes about Arab/Muslim culture. Today, we met several people who we were free to ask questions to about any/all curiosities regarding what we could expect in Arabia...and my clothing questions were answered!

Alma Kombargi, employee of Aramco Services Co., gave us a basic understanding of who our sponsors are and why they are sponsoring us:

What is Aramco Services Company?

It is the American subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, an oil company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Why are they sponsoring teachers?

Because teachers educate people and share their learnings with others. Saudi Arabia wants people to know about its culture and challenge stereotypes about its people.

Approximately what is the cost per participant?


What places will we be visiting?

Cultural sites, educational sites, and industry.

Did you know that...

Southern California Oil Company was the first company to help Saudis develop their industry? And, Aramco stands for ARab AMerican COmpany (although it is now fully owned by the Saudi goverment)

Our next speaker was an American woman who lived in Saudi Arabia for 25 years, while her husband was an accountant for Aramco. She described how life was for a western woman living in a Muslim country:

  • She never wore an abaya or burka
  • She felt safer in KSA than in the United States

  • She walked to the shops alone

  • She raised two children there

  • She enjoyed the experience

Finally, after a delicious lunch, we had a language lesson.

Basic Phrases

A salaam alaikum: may peace be upon you

Shakrah: thank you

Marhaba: hello


  1. Hi Ms. Infante...its Bonnie from one of your classes. Nice dress your wearing...is it comfortable?

  2. Actually Bonnie, that was not me, but one of the ladies who organized the trip for us. BTW, have you had your private school interview yet?