Increasing number of Saudi women travel to study English
Many women prefer to travel in groups with relatives or friends and want to reside with families that do not have sons
There has been an increasing demand from Saudi women in secondary schools and universities to study English language in European or Asian countries.
Many travel and tourism agencies are providing packages to meet the demand, while assuring that they are not violating Ministry of Higher Education regulations.
According to these agencies, many women prefer to travel in groups with relatives or friends and want to reside with families that do not have sons.
Sales manager at Al-Masarat travel and tourism agency, Sameer Shawli, said the demand from secondary and university women students has provided an opportunity for travel agencies to step in and fill the gap. This gap is often due to a language barrier.
Shawli said many families spend their vacations abroad and seek to educate their children.
He added that agencies set up their packages to meet the demand of these students, who mostly wish to study in European countries.
Member of the tourism committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Ibrahim Al-Bluwi, said the committee has monitored the large demand from women students who wish to travel abroad for education.
He pointed out this demand has allowed travel agencies to communicate with specialized institutions abroad and to provide packages to meet the needs of the students.
He added that the intense competition between travel agencies has resulted in lower prices overall, even though airline tickets are still costly. Agency owners estimate that the cost of a package for a student traveling in a group is around SR15,000, but this price could vary if students have specific requirements.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has warned students who wish to travel abroad for education to be careful of offices that claim they can obtain university acceptance for their clients.
The ministry said students should communicate directly with universities and institutions regarding admission.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on June 10, 2014.