All children need to learn about friends around the world. Children at the King Faisal Preschool in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the South County Montessori School in North Kingstown, Rhode Island have a unique opportunity to do just that.
They have joined the Brown University - King Faisal School Partnership to enjoy a cross-cultural exchange and are learning about each other's lives and cultures. They are learning about what school and family life are like in very different parts of the world.
Adeline Before Judy had come to visit I didn't know much about Saudi Arabia. I had a type of mindset that in Saudi Arabia women were treated like slaves and not allowed to do much. I thought that there would be a lot of poverty. Maybe even still riding around on camels and covering their faces from the desert winds. I learned that they are nothing like that. They are very up to date on technology and have beautiful buildings. I was surprised to find out that they had so many nice things and welcomed the Americans in a nice manner. Judy explained to us that they were very friendly and greeted her with smiles. The schools there were very nice and had signs in English as well as Arabic. My view on Saudi Arabia has totally changed now, and I would visit there on any chance that I could get. I learned a lot from her visit and am glad that she came.
Kyle I learned that the schools are a lot nicer than I thought they were. I pictured everything being poor and dirty but everything was the opposite. I Didn't know they had Kentucky Fried Chicken and other chain stores like we have.
Do the students there learn about the United States? How do the boys like going to school without girls and how do the girls like it without boys? Do they boys and girls socialize out of school? I think that would be boring not being able to talk to girls. What kind of sports do they play? Do they have teams for their schools?
Shauna Judy, I learned very much from your presentation. Saudi Arabia was beautiful, not at all like I pictured it. Their school was much nicer than ours, but there are better schools around Rhode Island. I was also surprised to hear that the food was good.
I think that the cultural exchange is a very good idea. You really get to know about other places first hand. I think that it is very interesting to learn about. I can't wait to meet the boys from KFS. I really hope they're cute and maybe some of them will be going to school with me next year and I could help them out. You learn to be much more understanding when you encounter different people, and it's a learning experience for all!
Questions: Do they think school is fun? What do they do for fun? How many days a week do you go to school? What do your parents do? What do you think of women? Do you always listen to your parents?
Stefanie I was really surprised about some of the things that Judy Williamson told us about Saudi Arabia. Before she came I never gave Middle East schools or anything else any thought. When Mrs. Rollins brought up the subject the first thing I thought of was what you see in movies. I pictured Saudi Arabia schools to be little huts made out of clay, with dirt floors, and very little items inside. I thought that their schools would only be for the richest young men, and women stayed at home to tend to the children.
I was very surprised when Judy Williamson told us that their world is a lot like ours. Boys and girls have to go to separate schools but they have even nicer schools than we do. They live by phone and mall just like us. So really besides our language and way of dressing, schools in America are a lot like schools in Saudi Arabia.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not in school? Where are the different places you have visited? Does it bother you that you are not allowed in a co-ed school? What is your favorite subject in school? And why? What do you imagine public schools in the United States to be like? How old do you have to be to get your drivers license? Where do you shop? What types of things do you buy?
Steph How do you imagine the students in the United States are? What do you picture our schools like? What do you picture the U.S. like? We do you think we do for fun? Do you think good or bad of us? How old do you have to be to drink alcohol there? How old do you have to be to drive there?
Stephanie I thought the presentation was great. It changed my whole outlook on how I thought Saudi Arabia was. Before, I thought Saudi Arabia was poor, dirty, and strict. But I learned yesterday that it was nothing like what I expected. We saw pictures of the school, and it looked nicer than our school.
Some questions I have for the students there are: How is it going to an all-boys' school? Do they socialize with girls? Are the teachers strict there? What is forbidden there? Are the teachers allowed to hit the kids? How old do you have to be to date or get married?
Steve I learned from Judy's presentation that Saudi Arabia is not as poor of a country that I thought it was. The pictures that she showed were very similar to our schools here.
I wanted to know, what do they do in Saudi Arabia for fun? Do they have cars there? Or do they ride camels? How is it that you can deal with being in a one sex school?