Riyadh Expat Feed
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Culture-Shock-in-Riyadh
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Know yourself before you come here. Know your level of tolerance, what you need to survive. Read everything you can. And then make a decision. (Continue)
hollyhj replied most recently with:
I have arrived and find it easy to live here,well except for the August heat!!!! My home is delightful! People very friendly and helpful...I look forward to many days of exploring.I went to the Natural History Museum and now am wanting to see jeddah.
hollyhj replied recently with:
and what is the pay scale? top bracket means what?
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Living-in-Riyadh
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
Due to the fact that I was also raised as an expat brat my expectations are not unreasonable. One expects to be able to have a good standard of living and enjoyment in life. For some reason or other this seems to be harder to obtain in ones own country. The move specifically to Saudi Arabia was because I didn't want to live in a "sofisticated" society any longer. It was time to get back to basics again. To go out into the desert and see the stars, watch the sunset and have a fuller social life. Not to have my life run looking at the clock all the time and living up to other people's expectations. (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
Hi, Please let me start congratulating you on a positive report, to be honest, when reading this, you made me realise not everything you hear is negative.i am currently living with my husband and two daughters aged 13 and 16 in Abu Dhabi for the past 5 years, we love the life over here and the freedom. We a planning on a move over to Riyadh. We are a non muslim British family and to be honest the storys i have heard about Riyadh, have got me quite worried. For example the strict approach to ex pats, not having the freedom to walk around. Living in compounds and not being able to work or drive. Please could you give me some insight as to where to find good compounds, schools, and a general approach to living conditions. I am sure that there is lots of positives. Thank you
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Review of Atfal Al Ghad Tiny Tots International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Review-of-Atfal Al Ghad Tiny Tots International School
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
School premises and classrooms are excellent comparing them with Alrowad and the Montessori section's classrooms are also excellent, the school regularly organizes open days and trips for the kids (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
school is excellent.everybody there is working hard.but school should be more cleaner especialy bathrooms.
A reader replied recently with:
Hi all, Tiny tots's fees are about 13600 SR / year for kindergarten, and 15000 for grades ( to be paid in two installments ). I think the registration fees are 1500 to be paid once at the time of enrollment. They are doing their best this yr to compete, most of z teachers have been changed and the new teachers are very good , my daughter's teacher is Canadian & the other one is south african. A communication book is sent daily with comments about your child's performance, behavior, mood and so.
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Review of Al Manarat Al Riyadh International School (eng) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Review-of-Al Manarat Al Riyadh International School (eng)
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
Excellent....The boys section: horse riding swimming esxcursion and various international and naional sports....IT learning method being introduced.My daughter works there and my grandkids are studying in that school 12years (boy) 15 years (girl) (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
I will like to know how much do I have to pay the school each month? And for the first time how much do I have to pay to get my son in the 9th grade?
A reader replied recently with:
Since Al-Rowad moved to the new school they appear to be better. Why does Manarat not have any website??? It is very strange for an international school with such fees. It is not easy to contact them, and school fees information requires a personal visit.
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Review of British International School Riyadh in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Review-of-British International School Riyadh
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL-RIYADH: IS BEAUTIFUL WITH A LOT OF THE FACILITIES BEING NEW. HOWEVER "NEW' DOES NOT MEAN: CLEAN/ PERFECT/ WELL BUILT/ OR EVER! EVER! MAINTAINED, IN RIYADH. IT DOES SEEM THE CLEANING/ AND MAINTENANCE STAFF UN MOTIVATED, OR "JUST SEE IT OR GET BASIC MAINTENANCE.SENIORS HAVE FRESH PURPOSE BUILD FACILITIES IN 2008, LAST YEAR [BUT IN FIRST MONTHS WAS CRACKING IN WALLS AND NEEDING SOME REPAIR], GLASS NEEDED CLEANING ETC. MIDDLE YEAR AND JUNIOR ALL HAVE WELL COVER AREAS BUT UNLIKE AUSTRALIA...THE SCHOOL DON'T SEEM TO GET THE NEED TO PLAY, UNWIND, AND NOT JUST SIT. DRIVES 15 YEAR OLD CRAZY...BEING ONLY WHITE BOY IN CLASS THAT CAN'T FIND A SEMI COOL PLACE, OR EVEN HAVE ALLOWED TO ENTER AIR CONDITIONED GYM OPEN TO PLAY BASKET BALL OR HAND BALL!

EXCELLENT POOL AND THEY DILIGENTLY RUN LESSONS AND KIDS REALLY IMPROVED. THEY HAVE A FABULOUS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST: BUT HAVE NO SPACE FOR HER AND LOOK TO BE LOSING HER AND HER YEARS OF SKILL THIS YEAR!.

STAR BUCKS: A GREAT MEETING PLACE FOR PARENTS AND NANNY'S, BUT UNFORTUNATELY OUR MIDDLE TO SENIORS ARE DEVELOPING A CAFFEINE HABIT, AND EXPENSIVE! UNIFORM SHOP...GREAT FACILITIES, BUT LACKING DIRECTION AS GOAL TO RAISE MONEY...? EMPLOY SOME BODY TO BE IN-CHARGE FUND RAISING. LIBRARY SMALL, BUT STRICT IN RETURN POLICY, WISH OPEN TO PUBLIC.SO SMALL THAT ANY ONE WITH KIDS THAT READ "CRAZY" THEY HAVE READ MOST OF BOOKS! .CANTEEN TOTALLY FUNCTIONS FOR STAFF: VERY EXPENSIVE. KIDS GET TO TAKE "SAD" PACKED LUNCHES THAT YOU LOAD WITH ICE-BRICKS [DON'T GET WHY NO FRIDGE PER A ROOM!]. LOTS OF FILTERED WATER COOLER EVERYWHERE, AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF STAFF TO USE THEM!GREAT NURSE CLINIC AND VERY INFORMATIVE! ADMINISTRATION AND FRONT DESK STAFF VERY FRIENDLY; NEW VICE PRINCIPAL AND PRINCIPAL APPEARS VERY EXPERIENCED BUT PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANTLY, OPEN, APPROACHABLE, SO LOOKING FORWARD TO A GOOD YEAR!

extra-curricular activities: fantastic; staff committed; school encourages++; you could have 1 child doing 3 to 4 activities after school a week, without trying.Almost to much...can mount up financially, and not cheap! all sport e.g table tennis, basketball, gymnastics, crafts, brownies and music [offered in the school], after study support groups for middle years and seniors e.g maths, biology etc, literary you could have and after school activity that you would really enjoy, every day of the week! (Continue)

A reader replied most recently with:
I am moving back to the UK next year and I have seen BISR through five years now and the only thing I can say is thank goodness i am going to the see the back of it finally. That said there is a new management in place - the new principal comes with a great reputation of turning around schools and the primary leadership, which I always thought was part of the problem of this school has left. The new primary head looks like she knows she is doing. It's just that I am afraid they will find the culture in the school hard to fight. The teachers are used to doing things their own way and they don't like or welcome questions from you. Any complaint is met with a complaint in return. I think when I say that I have said enough - no good confident teacher would discourage parents from talking to her. The PTA I agree with comments above needs to be dissolved as it serves no useful function except to get the members into various other social functions. They used it like a social club - there's no point in it being there. The only useful thing the PTA does is run the shop which is staffed by friendly volunteers. Any new parents coming n please be aware you cannot take it for granted just because you are paying you are getting bakue for money here - come armed with lots of workbooks etc to work with the kids at home just to keep abreast of what's happening in the UK. A useful thumb rule I found for what your child's standard is in the UK compared to here is to assume it's one grade less than what they get in their reports here.
A reader replied recently with:
i think the post ha ha i got my kid in to b.i.s.r and he is saudi just speaks volumes about the quality of the kids and their parents who now attend this school. my child has been there two years and there is not one area that the school has helped her improve on. i pay them fees and teach her more at home ! the children or most of them lack social skills and do not even know how to play ! they might have a pool,but take a look at how many classes are in each year and work out from that how much swimming actually is fitted in to a week ! playgrounds are overcrowded with children and from year 3 up there is no equipment to play with and in all weathers they are left outside to sweat.the uniform standards are beyond appalling with girls wearing summer dresses with trousers and headscarves, skirts just skim their bottoms and it is nothing to do with the shop that sells them but the girls that roll them up and the parents who turn a blind eye,all sorts of hair accessories or hair hanging all over their faces,children in training shoes instead of proper fitting school shoes. also seems to be a huge weight problem amongest very young children that the school and parent ignores.pta is a bunch of long term expats who lack any management skills for raising money and just want a get together and run the ame old silly hat competition year after year.i mean please where is their imagination. a huge number of the teachers would be jobless in any other country and lack any real skills or care for the well being of their children. huge lack of communication and middle management require proper training on a yearly basis. i would suggest to any caring parent to stay well away from this very badly run school .
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Review of The American International School of Riyadh KSA in Riyadh , Saudi Arabia
Review-of-The American International School of  Riyadh KSA
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
Though the buildings are old with cramped classrooms (the "temporary" buildings were built by the Minister of Education for the Western Community over 25 years ago) the 7 acre campus has a large enclosed gym, a new theatre for the arts, a K-12 music complex, 2 soccer fields (one with grass) , covered basketball courts, numerous play areas for the elementary students , and a new cafeteria. The school boasts of 3 computer labs all updated and constantly used with the curriculum. (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
like that we also wanted to stay but couldnt afford 60,000 for one child and 60,000 for another we never even took a house of 120,000 thousand!!!!! plz think about making the fees less, plzz mr.mathews and mrs.jenny canar
A reader replied recently with:
Very helpful! Thanks!
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Info about Riyadh Singles Social Club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Info-about-Riyadh
Describe your group.
Hi looking to start a group in Riyadh for everyone basically. The place is boring so it might be something to do for single people here to meet and do a bit of networking. If interested mail me at address below (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
Watch you don't get put into prison, or worse, for cavorting with singles of the opposite sex !
A reader replied recently with:
I want to join your Group in Riyadh and this is my email (al_homsi@hotmail.com)
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Culture-Shock-in-Riyadh
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
Don't go to Saudi Arabia. "American Dad," the Fox cartoon show, did a show once about CIA agent Stan Smith and his family moving to Saudi. I videotaped it. One of the sequences was his wife dancing and singing, "Saudi Arabia is the worst place in the world." I haven't seen it in re-runs. Probably protests from the Saudi government made Fox not show repeats. I agree--it's the worst place in the world! And I've been to some bad places before--Bolivia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea. (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
I have never experienced any anti-American sentiment from the Saudis--in fact, it's been just the opposite.
A reader replied recently with:
If this person talks about India in the same breath as Pakistan and Nigeria, then I would give little importance to his evaluation about Saudi Arabia.
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Moving to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Moving-to-Riyadh
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Be very sure of what your getting into. Ask questions from as many different sources not just the employment agencies, they just want their money and paint a very rosie picture to what the reality is... (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
I am going with a reputable agent ( I thnk ) from London and am only worried about the standard of accom which he said was nice ... Can you advise, please ...?
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Moving to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Moving-to-Riyadh
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
**Think ahead. Don't accept something that bothers you even a little bit! It will irritate you later if you get homesick.

**Watch for location of Mosques, visit you "new" villa during prayer time so you can see how loud it is or how busy the streets become on a friday morning.

** Neighbours, I am not a stereotypical person and I love everyone.. until there kids are playing on your doorstep at 3 am or there parties have the police next door.. this is not scary at home, but here it may invite unwelcome complications. Though most officers are understanding. (Continue)

A reader replied most recently with:
This is really useful and honest advise.
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greatbiscuit commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Culture-Shock-in-Riyadh
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
One needs to free his mind of prejudjmental ideas about the place and the people, learn to tolerate and accept the difference, focus on positive differences rather than the negative ones .....respect other's views even if you disagree with them. (Continue)
greatbiscuit replied most recently with:
I am soon to leave the US for a teaching job in Riyadh, and I am really looking forward to it. Having lived in several different countries over time, I can say that your last comment sums expat life up very well. Life abroad can have its down moments, but leaving yourself open to the possibilites of learning about life in a new world can be exhilarating. Thank you for your insights.
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