Online Magazine, Travel Stories

Saudi Trek

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Public health student Anoud Mutlaq was stalling the inevitable – studying during finals – when she decided to start hiking. Ultimately a group activity, she didn’t let her solo status get in the way of her procrastination. Her first trek was with a group in an area close to Riyadh, and it was love at first step. Like an excited kid with a new hobby, Anoud asked if she could become a volunteer guide for the group, but her lack of experience got in the way.

Riyadh Camel Trail

Riyadh Camel Trail

From her first trip in Dec. 2016 up until April 2017, Anoud put her money where her mouth is and gained the experience she needed to officially be named a guide. And what does a person do after they achieve a goal? They set a new one. Anoud had her eyes set on trekking the Himalayas to the Everest base camp.

Following traditional Saudi norms, Anoud had to get permission from the highest gatekeepers in the Kingdom: Mom and Dad. Arguing her case and addressing what she anticipated as their main concern of safety, she was met with a response she hadn’t expected. “If it’s safe for my daughter, it’s safe for me,” her mother had said, before she joined her.img_5248

From there, the two pushed each other to train and prepare for the trip. A month after Ramadan, they started their two-week journey to Nepal. Kathmandu was their first stop.

Up to this point, Anoud had never gone backpacking, aka  “slumming it,” and it made her anxious. After getting over her butterflies, they headed to Lukra, a village 2,000 miles above sea level, to begin their hike to Everest’s base camp.

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Edge of the World, Riyadh

The hike is approximately 7-9 hours long in a hazardous and cold environment, yet the most dangerous part of their trip was the flight before it, when they landed on one of the shortest runways in the world. Everything was worth it when the two women reached the base camp, as Anoud’s own feelings of accomplishments were overtaken by her mother’s. “It was a new chapter,” Anoud explained, for both of them.

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A view of Nepal

The highlights  for Anoud were the hardships and the rewards. Because of this trip, she was faced her worst fears: stepping out of her comfort zone, skipping showers, and bugs. Her rewards were the incredible vistas she saw along her hike – beautiful pieces of nature that can’t be recaptured or reproduced.

Mt. Everest Basecamp, Nepal

Mt. Everest Basecamp, Nepal

“No other sport offers the same peace of mind.” She explains that hiking is about the process, that the point is to live in the moment, and that she hopes people get a chance to experience it for themselves.landscape

Check out:

  • Al Qidiya
  • Heet Cave
  • Edge of the World
    Anoud’s hiking essentials

    Anoud’s hiking essentials

Anoud’s hiking tips for beginners:

  • It’s not a race, pace yourself.
  • Don’t go alone!
  • Pack light and smart.dsc_0489

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Art, Business, Online Magazine

Preserving Culture

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When two crises arise at the same time, why tackle one when you can tackle both?


As time goes by, we as a society begin to chip away at pieces of our culture. This is not to say that it’s always necessarily bad, it’s needed sometimes. However, it does not mean that we should abandon all of them all together.

When Herfah and Art of Heritage saw that interest in local craft was declining and unemployment was high, they decided to step in and kill two birds with one stone.

Both organizations are dedicated to preserving traditional crafts and clothing. But what is more impressive is how they do it. They do not mass-produce these items and instead hand-make those the way they were originally supposed to be made. And the carry on top is they use Saudi hands to make them.

Herfah

harfah-collage

Herfah is mainly a women’s coop in Qassim. Their purpose is to nurture and encourage productive families, especially women. Their mothers and their mothers before them taught the women who weave the sadus the craft. What Herfah does is take this valued tradition and allow these women to turn it into a viable source of income.

Herfah teamed up with fashion designer Naeema AlShuhail to create Herfah by Naeema. The collection is made in collaboration with these local artists.

Website: naeemaalshuhail.com

Instagram: herfah.by.naeema


Art of Heritage

Art of Heritage is a charity that aims to collect and converse Saudi heritage. They currently have the largest archive of Saudi textiles. Traditional textiles aren’t the only things in their portfolio; garments, carpets, jewelry, artifacts and even doors are all produced and showcased there.

Yadawy, which means handmade, is a division of Art of Heritage dedicated to pottery. Yadawy is Art of Heritage’s long-term commitment to creating sustainable income for some of the most challenged and financially needy women in Saudi Arabia. The inspiring women who create these works of art don’t let their physical disabilities stop them.

Website: artofheritage.com.sa

Instagram: artofheritage


Torathuna

Torathuna is another organization with the same aim to promote traditional culture. Targeting entrepreneurs instead of artisans, Torathuna’s objective is to create companies and manufacturing jobs within the field of local products and culture. Helping set up businesses and providing mentorship and guidance along the way.

Both these organizations are trying to carry the mantle of traditional Saudi crafts and fashion. With the current trend moving towards cultural wear, how about we help them carry it by heading there instead of a mass-produced foreign label. Just ‘cause you can’t pronounce the brand, doesn’t make it better.

Website: torathuna.com/new/

 

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Healthy Living, Online Magazine

Gym Fails That Made Us Want To Write This Article

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If you are guilty of any of these, you need to reevaluate what you stand for.


Leather Shoes

shoesLeather shoes on a treadmill are like flip-flops on an ice rink. You may think it’s fine, but I’m sure your feet will hate you for what you’ve put them through. Sneakers are the only appropriate gym shoes.

Where to get sneakers:
Sun and Sand Sports, outlet shops for U-Mark, Nike, etc. are at Al Oruba Mall. If you’re patient, you’ll score a pretty good deal on a pair, especially this September.

DR Tip:
Training shoes are okay for running on a treadmill. But if you’re planning to rack up some miles outdoors, we recommend shoes that can take above 3.7-5 km.

Non-Yoga Pants

Not all leggings are created equal. Some are created to make you comfortable, some to make you look good, and some to withstand stretching without revealing… too much of you. Dudes, you should really avoid tights, unless they are under your shorts.

Local active wear we love for women:
Tima, Zia

Perfume

Folks, who are we trying to kid? Perfume and sweat do not mix well. Whatever happened to trusty ol’ deodorant? They’re relatively odorless and do not induce vomit in your gym-mates. Ladies, if you’re looking for extra protection, try men’s deodorants.

Style Over Stability

We applaud your dedication to fashion, but if your gym outfit is too tight or too elaborate, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re out to impress, do it with your reps and form, not your outfit.

DR Tip:
Due to Riyadh’s lack of humidity, a lot of us won’t break sweat easily, which is why you need breathable garments to regulate your internal temperature. Invest in good wick material and steer clear of cotton.

Short-Shorts

shortsGentlemen, please make sure you remain gentlemen by maintaining a correct shorts-to-thigh ratio. If there’s more thigh than shorts, we have a problem.

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Food, Online Magazine, Showdown

The Drink A-List

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As the drinks prepare to take center stage, we take a look at how these stars made it.


Banana Nut Smoothie (Freshi)

img_9494This smoothie is the Sean Penn of drinks. It’s dramatic and gets you. Inconspicuous in appearance, mostly just bland white with freckles, but has the ability to fill you up completely.

Location: Hittin Plaza, Prince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Rd.
Tel: +966-11-4155538

Orange Zinger & Mighty Detox (Freshi)

img_9523Ah the Olsen Twins. These two lovelies have a lot of accomplishments to their name. Though they might not look all that great to everyone, they’re beautiful on the inside. Carrots and orange is, like Full House, a childhood classic and the addition of ginger is a welcomed twist (* coughs * Fuller House). The Detox, pineapple, green apple, celery, ginger and cucumber, is as refreshing as a facial, but for your innards.

Location: Arcadia Plaza, Makkah Al Mukarramah Branch Rd.

The Fizzler Collection

img_9460Here we have some models from Mol10 showcasing the sunset cruise part of the collection. Available in several colors from numerous outlets, this tangy collection is appropriate for hot summer days where juice just doesn’t cut it.

Location: Arcadia Plaza, Makkah Al Mukarramah Rd.
Mob: +966-55628949

Popcorn Iced Latte (Nabt Fenjan)

img_1290This is Jaden Smith’s spirit drink. When this drink shows up on the red carpet (i.e. your table) you’re like “Whaat?” But hey, you can’t fault its originality.

Location: Uthman Ibn Affan Road
Mob: +966-555405882

Signature (Signature)

signature-riyadh-july-summer-jpThis is probably the most instagramable drink in Riyadh. The Kim-Kay of drinks maybe? It’s thick and appears on everyone’s timeline.

Drinks to Im-PRESS

The Cooper

img_9534Very well respected and loved, this drink is poses difficult questions like what happens when you mix bananas, biscuits and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. Much like the real Anderson Cooper, this drink all white decorated with black (that tight black t-shirt anyone?). Be warned: This drink is not for the weak stomached. It’s pretty heavy.

The Turki Al Dakheel

img_9565It’s a caramel date frozen yoghurt smoothie. A classic Saudi flavor: laban and dates. This drink is hard to perfect, but when you do, it’ll definitely stand out as a trusty go to.

Read More...

Business, Online Magazine

Preserving Culture

art-of-heritage-september-2017-riyadh-md1

When two crises arise at the same time, why tackle one when you can tackle both?


As time goes by, we as a society begin to chip away at pieces of our culture. This is not to say that it’s always necessarily bad, it’s needed sometimes. However, it does not mean that we should abandon all of them all together.

When Herfah and Art of Heritage saw that interest in local craft was declining and unemployment was high, they decided to step in and kill two birds with one stone.

Both organizations are dedicated to preserving traditional crafts and clothing. But what is more impressive is how they do it. They do not mass-produce these items, and instead hand make them the way they were originally suppose to be made. And the carry on top is they use Saudi hands to make them.

HERFAH

drHerfah is mainly a women’s coop in Qassim. Their purpose is to nurture and encourage productive families, especially women. Their mothers, and their mothers before them taught the women who weave the sadus the craft. What Herfah does is take this valued tradition and allow these women to turn it into a viable source of income.

Herfah teamed up with fashion designer Naeema Al Shuhail to create Herfah by Naeema. The collection is made in collaboration with these local artists.

ART OF HERITAGE

img_6793Art of Heritage is a charity that aims to collect and converse Saudi heritage. They currently have the largest archive of Saudi textiles. Traditional textiles aren’t the only things on their portfolio; garments, carpets, jewelry, artifacts and even doors are all produced and showcased there.

Yadawy, which means handmade, is a division of Art of Heritage dedicated to pottery. Yadawy is Art of Heritage’s long-term commitment to creating sustainable income for some of the most challenged and financially needy women in Saudi Arabia. The inspiring women who create these works of art don’t let their physical disabilities stop them.

TORATHUNA

torathuna2Torathuna is another organization with the same aim to promote traditional culture. Targeting entrepreneurs instead of artisans, Torathuna’s objective is to create companies and manufacturing jobs within the field of local products and culture. Helping set up businesses and providing mentorship and guidance a long the way.

Both these organizations are trying to carry the mantle of traditional Saudi crafts and fashion. With the current trend moving towards cultural wear, how about we help them carry it by heading there instead of a mass-produced foreign label. Just ‘cause you can’t pronounce the brand, doesn’t make it better.

Read More...

Online Magazine, Style & Shopping

Timeless Pieces for Men

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Dear men. This is a gentle reminder from your loving sister to clean yourselves up.


The best part of men’s clothing is that you don’t need that much to make it work. You literally have everything you need to look good in your closet as we speak! There’s just one problem with it. The key to men’s clothing, which can mean the difference between chic and bleak, is the fit.

Tailor fitting your clothes is the best way to ensure style. Relax, it’s not as hard as you think it is. You don’t have to tailor fit your t-shirts, but thobes and suits are a must.

SUITS

edited-timelesspieces-styleandshopping-september-fashion-nf7A good suit is bound to make an impact. It might be initially pricey, but its versatility is worth it. A tailored suit can literally take you from a meeting to a night out, just take off the tie, roll up your pants and you’re out the door!

DR Tips

  • Stick to the basic colors like grey, black or blue if it’s your first suit.
  • Skinny ties are the perfect companions to a fit suit.
  • Be bold with the colors of your ties or shirts.

THOBES

timelesspieces-styleandshopping-september-fashion-nf4Thobes are a staple in a Saudi closet, but for goodness sake do not buy cheap thobes! We’re not asking you to break the bank, but the right material does come at a price. Just like a suit, a well-tailored thobe can be the most comfortable thing you’ve ever worn, and still manage to turn heads.timelesspieces-styleandshopping-september-fashion-nf5

DR Tips

  • Cuff links are important in an all white outfit. Pick something strong but simple. – Avoid bedazzling.
  • The shmagh is to the thobe what the tie is to the suit.
  • The mirzam, that little bend in the shmagh right above the forehead, should be neat.

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Arts & Music, Movie Review, Online Magazine

Movies with Motives

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Movies with positive role models for your children.


up“Up”

The heartwarming tale of an old man, a little boy, a dog and balloons is all you need for a good family movie night. This classic odd couple story has the ability to teach your kid lessons that they’ll appreciate later on.

et-full-movie-poster“E.T.”

This timeless Steven Spielberg movie features a group of kids banding together to make sure that “E.T. go home.” It’s an enduring tale of friendship with enough action to keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat.

harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkaban-movie-poster“Harry Potter”

It’s the story of an orphan who discovers he’s a wizard and is immediately drawn into an entirely new universe where the impossible is suddenly possible. It’s a tale about friendship, morality and bravery.

billy_elliot“Billy Elliot”

It’s a beautiful coming-of-age tale about self-discovery. This truly joyful movie teaches everyone that you don’t have to stick to the status quo; that you too can -figuratively- be a little British boy dancing your way through life’s less than pretty streets.

bilal“Bilal”

Bilal is based on the story of Bilal ibn Rabah. The director’s purpose is to provide Arab children with a familiar hero they can relate to. Ayman Jamal’s movie aims to replace the typical default heroes for kids, such as Superman or Spiderman, with figures such as Bilal ibn Rabah who overcame many obstacles to become one of Islam’s greatest warriors and became the first muezzin in Islam.

Honorable Mentions:
“How to Train Your Dragon”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Hugo”, “The Indian in the Cupboard”.

DUDETTESmulan

“Mulan”

The story of a young woman who assumes a male identity to fight for father, her family’s honor and her country has touched me in ways that I’m still unpacking today. It’ll teach your child, especially your daughter, that they too can kick butt and take names, if they set their minds to it and not take no for an answer.moana

“Moana”

Moana is to the new generation what Mulan was for mine, but with updated graphics. A familiar tale of a girl who sets out on an adventure to save her family is a more fiercly independend version of Mulan. The visually stunning movie is just as much an animation master piece as it is a musical one. It also packs quite a few laughs for the whole family.

little-princess“A Little Princess”

After having to transfer from India to England during the war, daddy’s little princess is sent to live in a girls’ home while her father is away. The story that then unfolds is a tragic and beautiful one. It teaches the importance of defiance, kindness, compassion and, of course, the importance of imagination.

wajeda“Wadjda”

On the surface, this film follows a fiercely independent little Saudi girl who just wants to ride her bike. She’s curious, determined and strong, just like her mother and mine. It’s powerful and important for every single member of the family. Each member may walk away with a different lesson and point of view depending on their age, but each lesson is equally as important as the other.

Honorable Mentions:
“Matilda”, “My Girl”, “Home”, “Akeelah and the Bee”, “Inside Out”.

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Food, Online Magazine, Showdown

Kidproof Places

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If your kids are fans of playareas in restaurants, we need to talk.


If you have young kids, taking them out in public can be a real hassle. “Put that down!” “Sit down!” “Don’t break it!” are phrases parents are more than familiar with. What if you just want to enjoy a meal without having to micromanage your offspring. Well, let’s explore your choices shall we?

We initially set out to scout and find you the best restaurants with kids areas. What ended up happening was that we found out you’re options are kind of limited. Now this list is by no means a comprehensive list, it only contains placed that were recommended to us.

Fuddrucker’s

aThis place is classic, legendary even. Which is a nice way of saying it’s been around for a while. Your kids will be playing the same games that two generations in my family have played. Their play area is divided into two parts: the downstairs (mini arcade) and the upside-down (Stranger Things joke).

Friday’s

dIf the photo of the play area looks dead, it’s because it is. We were disappointed to learn that it’s outdoors considering that heatstroke is a real side effect of the weather in Riyadh.

Fatburger/Buffalo’s

fat-burgerThe ambience is very child friendly with a friendly staff. Their kids’ area is sizable and perfect for daytime. The glass covered structure allows ample sunlight without the encompassing heat.

Applebee’s

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There’s enough decoration on the wall to keep your kids distracted and entertained. Their play areas sizes differ depending on location, but they tend to run on the tight side, with a basic layout and games.

Sizzler House

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Sizzler house has a really nice play area too. Their new branch that opened recently at Euro Marche on Takhassusi road has a mega-kiddies play area. The playroom is equipped with a jungle gym and mini cinema so the kids will never be bored!

Piatto

This branch doesn’t technically have a play area, but we’re working with what we’ve got. We included Piatto because they allow your child to make their own pizza which keeps them engaged and occupied while giving them a sense of purpose. Another compelling reason is the fact that Piatto is directly adjacent to the amusement park in Panorama. The best part is that no matter how old your kids are, there’s something for them here. You can “check in” your kid at the soft jungle gym if you need to run a few errands or go shopping, or if they’re old enough to peruse on their own, get them a card and set them loose on the rides.

Look folks, we know children aren’t that picky when it comes to play areas, but surely they deserve more than a poorly lit ball pin.

Kids are basically the perfect customers. They like most foods at your restaurants and can drag their parents to the same restaurant a hundred times. So don’t take them for granted.

You don’t have stock up your restaurant like Chuck E. Cheese, but owe them at least better lighting. Maybe a couple of fun pictures or paintings on them.

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TIDBIT
Play areas should be…
  • Clean
  • Well-lit to avoid injury
  • Original
  • Versatile and fun [/su_service]

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Business, Business Talks, Interview, Online Magazine

Under the Influence of Almuhanad Alhassoun

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Meet Almuhanad Alhassoun, chemical engineer, dedicated son and nephew, and one of Saudi’s goodwill ambassadors.


It seems like social media influencers carry a lot of weight these days. Dictionary.com defines an influencer a “a person who has the power to influence many people, through social media or traditional media.”

So what is that power really being used for?

Some influencers use their power to line their proverbial pockets with endorsement money, choosing to promote products for the highest bidder.

We could argue all day about the merits of this type of influencer and the service they provide for companies or brand looking for advertising. You could even argue that in a society that trusts word of mouth or referrals over anything, influencers are a godsend. However, as Spiderman’s uncle, Ben, once said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and we can’t help but feel some of them aren’t exactly being responsible.almuhannad-al-hassoun-courtesy1

Not all influencers are cut from the same stone. Some choose to use their platforms to discuss social issues that they believe are important to their audience as well as make a tidy buck on the side.

And then there’s the third and rarest type. A type so rare that they deserve their own article, the philanthropist. Very few people dedicate their entire power of influence to help others and we believe they deserve a DR hats off.

Alhassoun is a social media personality with a purpose. No, not the purpose of making money. They call him “Muhanad al insani,” meaning Muhanad the humanitarian.almuhannad-al-hassoun-courtesy7

What has he done to earn that title? Well, he’s an ambassador for the Pink Caravan, a UAE based Breast Cancer Awareness initiative, as KSA’s representative. He’s also the founder of the Woman of the Year Award.

Growing up around strong women did more than a little for Alhassoun. His powerhouse aunt, Madawi Alhassoun, is one of the first women to run for office. The successful businesswoman and member of Jeddah’s Chamber of Commerce is one of Al Hassoun’s biggest idols, along with princess Diana, Angelina Jolie, Audrey Hepburn and Malala.

Alhassoun’s core work for the past nine years has been in SABIC, single largest public company is Saudi Arabia. He’s the senior sales manager of the Middle East as well as a social media activist.almuhannad-al-hassoun-courtesy5

In 2012, he logged onto Twitter with a purpose. “I wanted to provide content that can help elevate thought in society,” he explained, “I wanted to leave a positive print.”

He started out by sharing stories about people whose accomplishments he believed had been overlooked. Success stories, inspirational ones, whatever made him proud. Basically, he started Angelina Jolie-ing it.

A common thread arose early that quickly became the niche of which Alhassoun is known for: women’s rights and issues. It’s no surprise there since strong and empowered women surrounded him and most of his icons are women.almuhannad-al-hassoun-courtesy4

“The most important thing is credibility,” he says. Every story he posts is carefully selected and curated. In fact, Alhassoun quickly became a trustworthy source, with major news outlets lifting stories directly from his timeline. Several channels picked up the story of the recent recipient of his online Woman of the Year Award, Saudi nurse Maha Al Sahaly, including Rotana and MBC.

His social media presence enabled him to roll up his sleeves and have more hands on experiences such as opening one the largest water wells in Kenya as well as aiding Syrian refugees in Turkey.

One of the experiences he holds dear is representing Saudi Arabia in the Pink Caravan initiative, which is a mobile breast cancer-testing unit that paroled the streets of Dubai with a pink clad parade and Al Hassoun in-tow.almuhannad-al-hassoun-courtesy6

“While we were walking in the dead heat, a woman ran out of house, crying, and began hugging us. As we were calming her down, she told us she’s been diagnosed with cancer and needed to thank us for what we were doing.”

The woman isn’t the first to thank him for his efforts. The crown prince of Bahrain at the UN-organized International Youth Conference in Bahrain, as well as by Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the head of the UAE’s Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Social Development have thanked and honored Al Hassoun for his efforts.

Whatever motives you may assume he has, it is a fact that he has never received any compensation of any kind of coverage or support. As a fulltime employee, Alhassoun uses his vacation days almost entirely on his humanitarian trips, and more times than not, he has had to pay for all his expenses straight out of his own pocket. Dedicating your influence, your time and yourself to a greater cause is great purpose. A purpose we commend Almuhanad Alhassoun for.

Instagram: world_humanity
Twitter: AlmuhanadSA

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Offbeat, Online Magazine

Debunked College Myths

1

Whatever tired clichés that exist about university life out in the world, Riyadh is different.


The Riyadh college experience is uniquely, well, Riyadh. So where is a high school senior supposed to turn to for advice about the world they’re about to step into? Here of course. The DR team is about to debunk some of the most prevalent college stereotypes.

“You’ll meet friends that you’ll keep for a long time.”

Yeah, but I already met them before. They are literally the same people I went to school with my entire life. Riyadh’s social scene can seem like it’s the size of a pea. Most people are at most three degrees of separation from each other.

“College is when you become an adult.”

Sure, an adult. An adult that doesn’t pay rent can’t cook a meal or do laundry.

“College is a time of exploration.”side-coffe-hold

Explore where you can sneak a cigarette without getting caught, explore where the quietest area to study, and of course explore how long you can survive on coffee and energy drinks.

“College is the best time of your life.”

Hate to burst your bubble, but a lot of the time it actually isn’t. College is just a single chapter in your story. It isn’t even one of the exciting ones for that matter. Though it might seem like the climax of your story, when you leave and look at it through the rearview mirror it’ll just keep getting smaller and smaller.

“You’ll miss it when you leave.”

I guess this one is kind of true. Your memories of college will be a mix of ups and downs, but luckily the ups stick in your mind more. Generally, most people look back on their time in college with a sense of nostalgia. Mostly nostalgia for the days when you can miss a deadline with barely a negative repercussion, but nostalgia nonetheless.

So our parting words of wisdom are: Live it up, the good and the bad. This is your chance to make mistakes and learn from them.mine-cut-out

You know you’re a college student in Riyadh…

“When you have a dress code in college… The black skirt.”  – Yara Jan, PNU.

“The moment you realize you still need to look decent, but college doesn’t allow that.”  – Reema Al Rashid, PSU

“The time my dad had to sign a makeshift photo ID of the driver so they know I’m not being kidnapped.”  – Sara Al Saif, KSU

“When every other sector gets the day off for a storm except universities, because college students are amphibians and can survive in water.” –  Abeer Al Shathri, YU

“When your professor forgets that he’s supposed to be teaching in English.” – Taha Khursheed, PSU

“When your coffee cup melts on the way to class.”  – Ahmed Nasir, PSU

Read More...