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American International Schools in Riyadh – How to Choose One for Your Child?

American International Schools in Riyadh – How to Choose One for Your Child?
american international school, pre kindergarten

The capital city of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, can be a big culture shock for some ex-pats. While many features of daily life are excellent compared to other places in the globe, some are unique. You will spend much of your time with ex-pats, and gender segregation will be a regular feature of your day. In addition, Saudi Arabian schools only offer instruction in Arabic and do not accept other students. Therefore, an international school may be the only viable alternative for your child’s education in Riyadh. Here are some crucial considerations when looking for an American international school.

Things You Should Know

  • Most foreign schools in Riyadh use English as their primary language of instruction and adhere to the American educational system and curriculum.
  • The British curriculum and the International Baccalaureate are both offered by a wide range of schools.
  • A limited number of institutions provide curricula from Australia, France, Australia, and India.
  • The size of foreign schools in Riyadh varies; some have a few hundred pupils, while others have a few thousand. Therefore, it is essential to remember if your child is transitioning from pre kindergarten to primary school.
  • It’s uncommon to find a classroom with more than 25 children in each class, providing your child with a hands-on learning atmosphere and more chances to interact meaningfully with pupils and teachers.
  • Saudi Arabia has a Sunday through Thursday work week with a Friday and Saturday weekend. This timetable is also used in schools.
  • The national school calendar in Saudi Arabia, which consists of two terms per year with a brief winter break and a lengthier summer vacation, is often followed by foreign schools there.
  • In Saudi Arabia, Islam plays a significant role in daily life. For example, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan. As a result, some schools may change the times that lessons begin and conclude to accommodate Ramadan.
  • Due to Riyadh’s huge diplomatic community and lack of segregation compared to its public equivalents, international schools can have a reasonably varied student body.


Children traveling with their families are ideal for an American international school. However, it all depends on your circumstances and personal preferences. The best match for the student and the institution is what matters most in any decision about a school. International schools are a good fit if you appreciate the variety and a global perspective. Additionally, if you want your children to continue using the second language, they are more likely to offer education in languages other than English.


The cost of education is a critical deciding factor for several ex-pat families when selecting an international school. The total cost of enrolling your child in an international school is not included in the yearly tuition. Many institutions charge an extra enrollment fee for the initial year, and the annual costs frequently rise with each academic year. 

Considerations when Choosing an International School

  • Curriculum: Always verify a curriculum’s portability before transferring it to another nation or institution.
  • Experience of teaching staff: The teaching personnel should be highly competent, has extensive expertise in teaching the subject, and be well-trained.
  • Extra-curricular activities: Always acquire a complete list of what is available since activities like the Duke of Edinburgh awards, sailing, and debating are essential for a youngster.
  • Academic achievements: This is crucial since you need to be aware of a school’s prior successes. Public exams will determine where your child attends college in the future, and you have the right to request the exam’s result tables.

Final Thoughts

As an ex-pat, it is advised to prepare a comprehensive list of all the top schools, like an American international school in your vicinity, and then narrow it down to a select group of schools using your criteria. Next, visit the schools. You’re on to a winner if the visits give you a favorable impression of one of the schools and if your youngster shares that opinion. You know your kid better than anyone. You may choose an international school with certainty if you concentrate on what makes your child their best selves.

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