Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Report of what it's like to live there - 10/21/23

Personal Experiences from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 10/21/23

Background Information:

1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?

My children attended the school.

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2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?

6 & 8

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3. What years did you live here?

2021 to now

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4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?


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5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?

At the time of our arrival, ASD was the only option. However, the British International School Al Khobar (BISAK) is now available and highly recommended.

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Admissions & Welcome:

1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?

No. In our experience, admissions was, and continues to be, a disaster. The requirements are obscure and since everyone at the school disappears for the entire summer, no one responds to questions as you start to get closer to your arrival.

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2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?

0 out of 10. We asked, several times, about orientation/familiarization. No one ever responded. Apparently, it did happen but no one decided to tell incoming students.

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Administration & School Procedures:

1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?

In our experience....awful communication. This is the root of the issues. As mentioned earlier, no one works during the summer. You don't know about uniforms, school supplies, or schedule until about one week prior to school starting. During the school year, there are several different websites that parents need to check and the reason for these websites isn't explained or intuitively obvious. As a bonus, the school assigns you another gmail address for all communications so make sure you check that! The excessive use of Google Classroom is interesting. We asked, repeatedly and in person, to be added to the Google Classroom to help track assignments. But...we were never added.

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2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?

The week without borders is on the parents and is several thousand dollars.

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Academics & Resources:

1. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?

Yes, there is a gym and pool and the school is building a second gym.

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2. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?


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3. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?

Students have to take Islamic Studies. School is challenging, particularly with non-English speakers teaching the courses.

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4. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?


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5. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?

Supposedly, but that wasn't our experience.

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6. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.

None. The school is going to start a special needs program for maybe 2024/25.

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Social & Emotional Well-Being:

1. What is the climate for LGBT+ kids at this school? Are there resources they can draw upon? Does there appear to be any exclusionary behavior?


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Overall Impressions:

1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?

F. Coming to Dhahran was a bad idea since the decision was based on this school. If you can go to BISAK, then Dhahran is a good location. If you choose ASD, I'd recommend to keep your kids in the US.

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2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.

We find the challenge to be the administration. A new superintendent is arriving next year and hopefully everything will improve then. But, we find that for now, it is a poorly run school.

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