Stories Overseas: Suzanne Matela, BSN, RN


"After more than 3 years of working as a nurse in the Philippines, I thought of expanding my horizons. Among the many countries, I thought that Saudi Arabia was the best option for someone who wants to spend less and earn more.


My specialty is Pediatric Oncology Nursing and fortunately, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Jeddah was looking for applicants for this position. It is a well-known hospital in the Kingdom and has a very good reputation for its employee relations.


Abba was the agency who advertised the job vacancy online. I started my application through a simple email inquiry and from there, I gathered all of the requirements that were needed and submitted them. It was a smooth process: Since I was from the province, Ms. Jossel, who was my recruitment agent back then, was very considerate and ensured that I would not be coming back and forth to Manila for unnecessary work.


Ms. Jossel was direct to the point and did not give me any false reassurance. I was told of the waiting time, the current status of my application, and updates on the inquiries that I had. She was there in every step of the way, until I was deployed, and even after.


As a first time OFW, it helped me that there were handouts: It had all of the steps, from the airport until the first week in Saudi Arabia, all explained in detail.  


KFSH&RC gave me a memorable first employment abroad. I was escorted by an HR staff through Immigration when I landed in Saudi Arabia; driven to the accommodation; brought to a single occupant studio-type furnished unit with a welcome package of refreshments and breakfast food; provided with a meet-and-greet staff at my unit, who also assisted me with HR, buying my groceries, and so many more. It was a good experience all throughout.


KFSH&RC provided me with all of the training that I needed. The transition was well-designed to ensure that I was confident and capable of doing things on my own. 


Deciding to work overseas is not easy. You will be leaving your comfort zone and you will experience your highs and lows all on your own. However, it will teach you so many things that will mold you into a better version of yourself.


To those who are still weighing their options when it comes to working overseas, here are some tips: find a good employer (money is not everything); find a reliable agency; set specific goals when it comes to your work abroad (this will keep you going when things turn sour); research about the place that you're going to (not everything you hear is true and other facts are not usually talked about); and of course, pray for your decisions."


Suzanne is a Filipino Pediatric Oncology Nurse who was deployed twice to King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (once in 2014 and then in 2017). Suzanne is now happily married and currently living in Australia.

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