Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Expat Exchange Rental Properties

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 24, 2021

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

What are the schools in Riyadh like?

Live in Riyadh? Answer this Question

"It is a very good school. It has had some troubled times over the last six years or so. Up until 2011 it had has a number of heads in a short period, but now the principal and the heads of senior and primary seem to be established and making a real difference. Some posts suggest that the school is a mess, and I hear it was for a while but now I think it has settled and all the parents I have met seem to think it is very quickly getting better and better. Most teachers really do seem to care a lot and there are even catch up classes at the weekends. They seem to be able to attract very good teachers which can't be easy in Riyadh! and they seem to stay a while. Exam results are very good, and all leavers seem to go to good universities. Classes are small - I think they have a maximum of 20 in a class, but it is not easy to get into unless you are British. The wait lists are very long I hear. There are loads of activities after school - my youngest is busy every night, though the oldest does less. He has quite a lot of homework. but he does go on trips - and is booked on a ski trip for next year. We toyed with the idea of sending the children to boarding schools in the UK but I am really pleased that we didn't - they love BISR, and if they are happy, so are we," said another expat in Riyadh with children at British International School Riyad.

"I would advice any parent who loves their children to never take them to this school. This school had left my children in tears for every day in fact to this day they have nightmares about it after moving back to the UK. The teachers are no where near experienced they are just working there as a time pass while their husbands are their to work. Their owners are feeding on your money, to them your child will be nothing but a object they are holding for money. To be honest, I wouldn't even let my worst enemies enroll their child in this school. If you are not of Saudi nationality or if your children are not as academically clever or even if your child just takes a little longer to learn, the teachers will treat them like dogs. To them your children are a burden, teachers will scream at your children for asking question and when they ask for help out of lessons they will tell them that they are busy drinking their tea. Yhe enrollment process will drive you insane every time the ask for a document you will take it to them and they will keep sending you back there is no order, no organisation even though they are treating your children as business even then they don't have the skills. The management of this school are so sexist to the extent that girls cant do anything to have fun they cant go on trips they can't take pictures they cant carry mobile phones. 1 year after moving my children I still feel regret and anger and so much hate towards this school they made their lives a living hell - especially miss Hanifa who was the deputy head," remarked another parent with kids at Nanarat-Al-Riyadh International School for Girls in Riyadh.

"Tiny tots has a very good reputation in Riyadh but the only disadvantage from my point of view is about the transportation," explained one expat living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

"To survey all schools and choose a school that will suit their culture and their mentality and of course their affordability," said another parent with children at Al Manarat Al Riyadh International School (eng) in Riyadh.

"EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO GET KIDS INTO B.I.S.-R, AS NEARLY FULL, EXCEPT IF ENGLISH AND DUTCH PASSPORT HOLDER. START WHEN KIDS ARE YOUNG AND BOOK EVEN COUPLE YEARS BEFORE SCHOOL ENTRY. DESPITE HASSLES AND COST THE ONLY SUITABLE CHOICE IN ALL RIYADH UNLESS YOU HAVE A RIDICULOUS INCOME OR BENEFIT FOR U.S.A SCHOOL, AND THINK YOU WILL END UP IN THERE SYSTEM FOR LONG TIME! GO AND SPEND SOME TIME WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS FRESH KNOWLEDGE ON THE BRITISH EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM: VERY ORDERED, VERY STRUCTURED, WHICH LEAVES PRONE TO INFLEXIBLILITY. DO YOU HOMEWORK RE HOURS OF FACE TO FACE TEACHER CONTACT: IN RIYADH WE HAVE 176 STUDENT TEACHER CONTACT DAYS[NOT INCLUDING THE WEEKEND], WHERE THEY GET 5 HOURS AND 40 APPROX MINUTES [MINUSED THE BREAKS: WHICH ARE USELESS AS THEY DON'T GET WIND DOWN, PLAY, THEY ARE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO GO LAY ON "BEAN BAG" AND QUIETLY READ IN HOME ROOM!!! THE LIBRARY IS THE ONLY ESCAPE SO DIFFICULT FOR REAL "BOY, BOYS ACTIVITY AND ADHD KIDS!!!!!"] WE LEFT 24 TEACHER STUDENT CONTACT DAYS...LONGER BREAKS IN SCHOOL DAY...FULL ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY...A SELECTION OF MATES...NOT BEING HASSLED AND TEASED BECAUSE WHITE [ONLY THIS GROUP IN 15 YEAR OLDS] DO YOUR HOMEWORK BUT ULTIMATELY HAVE TO WORK WITH WHAT YOUR GO! NOTE: IF YOU CAME FROM A PRIVATE SYSTEM WHERE YOU ARRIVE AND EVERYTHING IS PROVIDE FOR AND INCLUDED IN FEES INCLUDING: ALL STATIONARY; ALL SCHOOL TRIP;ALL DAY TRIPS; MOST AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES AND YOU HAVE A GOOD SECOND UNIFORM SHOP BURSTING WITH CLOTHES; PRINTED AWARDS;PRESENTS MADE FOR SPECIAL DAYS; MORNING TEAS; THEN BE AWARE THAT ALL OF THE ABOVE WILL COST YOU, ESPECIALLY THE HOLIDAY!!," commented one expat when asked about British International School Riyadh in Riyadh.

"The school has always hired highly qualified teachers that have taught at other overseas schools. Unfortunately the director of the school (2003-04) has removed some of the highly qualified IB teachers in high school which makes one wonder if the high school IB program is as qualified as it was 2 years ago. Because of the terrorist attacks in Riyadh, many Westerners have left the Kingdom; thus, there are less students from Western countries attending the school. My child (American) had a great experience at the school and had close friends from the Middle East, Asia, and Europe... after 3 years, he didn't want to leave Riyadh because of the school," explained one expat in Riyadh , Saudi Arabia with kids at The American International School of Riyadh KSA.

Rental Properties in Saudi Arabia

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Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Riyadh?

Live in Riyadh? Answer this Question

"My sponsor always paid for my insurance. I ended paying an extra amount for higher end insurance so I could go the Kingdom Hospital, and found out that the medical staff there are not adequately trained," commented one expat living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Expats share their experiences living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and offer advice about meeting people, schools and more.

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An expat in Riyadh recommends returning to the US or Europe for medical treatment should the need arise. She found that medical care, even at the top hospital in Riyadh, was substandard.

Expat Report: Culture Shock in Riyadh

A woman from New Zealand accepted a job in a hospital in Riyadh. Although the hospital and job was English-speaking, she enrolled in Arabic classes at a university. She found the culture and treatment of women extremely challenge at times, but knew what she was getting into when she accepted the job.

Moving-to-Saudi-ArabiaMoving to Saudi Arabia

Expats who want to move to the Saudi Arabia should fully explore what it means to move and live there. Read a lot of comments from people who live in Saudi Arabia, and have for a number of years.

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaGuide to Living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia Forum Saudi Arabia Forum
Join our Saudi Arabia forum to meet other people living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Riyadh.

Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaHealthcare in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Expats and global nomads in Riyadh share their experiences with health insurance, healthcare in Saudi Arabia, local hospitals and specialists, quality of medical care and more.

Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaMoving to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Riyadh: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaPros and Cons of Living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Real Estate RiyadhRentals in Riyadh

Rental listings in Riyadh. Plus, advice about renting and buying real estate in Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaExpats Talk about Living in Riyadh

Expats share their experiences living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and offer advice about meeting people, schools and more.

Expat Healthcare & Health Insurance Expat Report: Healthcare in Riyadh

An expat in Riyadh recommends returning to the US or Europe for medical treatment should the need arise. She found that medical care, even at the top hospital in Riyadh, was substandard.

Expat Report: Culture Shock in Riyadh

A woman from New Zealand accepted a job in a hospital in Riyadh. Although the hospital and job was English-speaking, she enrolled in Arabic classes at a university. She found the culture and treatment of women extremely challenge at times, but knew what she was getting into when she accepted the job.

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