Saudi Arabia/Arriving SA


Mark, Appreciated your views and opinions.  My family and I will be relocating to Saudi after handing over in Moscow.  One extreme to another!  I am from Texas, oil inductry of course and have lived in W. African (Nigeria) among others. Certainly aware we'll be faced with a different mentality and culture.  I always try to obtin as many contacts as possible so anything you can pass along regarding doctors etc would be useful.  I have a five yr old daughter who is in the American school here in Moscow and we will be wanting to get her placed in Saudi.  Can you explain process and timing regarding applications testing etc.  Placing her in Moscow was a real challenge as there is just not enough capacity for foreign students.  Were looking at Khobar for residence.  Any recommendations on compounds or places other than Khobar?

First, though I work for ISG, I am at the most far flung of the ISG network of schools, way out here in Yanbu.  We are about 800 miles as the crow flies from our main campus in Dhahran.

The website for DEMS (Dhahran Elementary/Middle School) is:

James Christy is the counselor there, if you send him an e-mail at, I'm sure he will get back to you with all the specifics you need.

Just for my two cents worth.  I don't really think you'll find the shift to Saudi all that strange.  It is a country were, because of the weather, most of what you do, you will do inside.  In Yanbu, though over the next few months the temperature drops to livable, the mosquitoes come out in such force that my daughter (6 years old) just can't stand them.  So, for most of the year, children are indoors.

I don't think there is any shortage of educational choices for students in the Khobar/Dhahran area.  DEMS is on the US Consulate grounds and, I think,  part of their charter is that they have to accept children with US passports.  Are you coming from Anglo-American in Moscow?

Even out here in the sticks we've not had any problems finding medical care.  My daughter has asthma and uses an inhaler and nebulizer.  We can't get quite the same brands of meds here as in the states, but it is the same chemicals and the pediatrician we have here seems to be pretty good.  Only strangeness I've found here is that you don't seem to be able to make an appointment with a specific physician.  All doctors here practice from hospitals and so, you show up at the hospital to see a doctor and they give you whoever is on duty in whatever department it is your there for.  Sometimes you can work it out such that you know when your favorite MD is on duty and just go then, but sometimes not.  There are a lot more clinics and hospitals in that area than over here, so maybe they do it differently.  

I think there is a lot more variety in living accommodations in DH and Khobar than over here.  I would recommend aiming for a compound with a good number of westerners, but that is just from my experiences to date.  Saudi is a country, where men don't have to make a lot of accommodations in terms of lifestyle. Life for women here is much more restrictive, living on a compound makes that much less so and lets foreign women connect with other women from similar backgrounds.  That is the biggest complaint I hear here, it can be very hard for wives to get around during the day and just find things to do when their husbands aren't home if they are living out in the community or on a compound that isn't western facing.

Saudi Arabia

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Mark Lasater


All kinds of issues dealing with children transitioning to Saudi Arabia (specifically Yanbu and Jubail). This is particularly the case if your moving from the US. Can I find special ed. services in Yanbu? How do my child's High School credits transfer from or to an American or Canadian school? What kinds of activities are available either independently our through schools in the Yanbu/Jubail area? What are the schools like in Yanbu and Jubail?


My wife and I have spent the last four years in Saudi, three years in Jubail and one in Yanbu. We both work for the International Schools Group. I'm a counselor/vice-principal and my wife is a teacher. We've worked abroad now for 8 years, spending four years in Taskent, Uzbekistan before coming here. However, as I'm part of ISG, I have access to a vast range of experiences and knowledge. ISG has several hundred employees in seven campuses, if I don't know the answer about something educational, I can find somebody who does.

National Education Association(NEA), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Association of School Counselors (NASC)

Bachelor degree in Elementary education-Licensed in Kansas to teach math, reading, science, elementary counseling and secondary counseling (12 years experience in the US), Masters Degree in Counseling, Certified Professional Counselor (Kansas Licensed), currently working on an administrative degree. My Wife-- bachelor early childhood special ed., Masters in Early Childhood Education, Masters in Early Childhood Special ed. 8 years working in early childhood Special ed in the US-- We both have course work in ESL, enough for a license endorsement, but we've not actually done it

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