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From Bethesda, MD to Amman. Need to decide.


Dear members,

My husband is relocating to Amman this month. I’m considering joining him after our six year old daughter graduates from her Montessori kindergarten in May. However, before moving, I want to make sure our child would benefit more from being in Amman than staying in Bethesda for the next five years. I hope members can comment and give me some info that could help me decide. These are my concerns:

1)American Community School. My husband visited the school and liked what he saw, but we have more questions about the academics and the environment.

We like the fact that there are no uniforms and that it’s not rigid. If we stay in Bethesda, my daughter will go to a private school in DC that has very strong academics and is very competitive (if someone is familiar with Maret). I wonder if American Community School could match that. I want to be sure that we don’t fall behind academically while in Amman, because she’ll be going to the same school when we return in five years.

Also, in terms of the environment, my main concern is about the verbal and non-verbal messages that are conveyed to the girls, specifically. We raise our daughter knowing that there’s nothing a guy can do that she can’t, but I’ve heard that in some schools, especially overseas, girls are treated differently (sometimes is subtle ways) because of cultural influences. For example, they won’t have the same sports activities available to girls as to boys or they’ll read certain fairy tales that covey the wrong message. Can someone familiar with the school please comment on this?

2)Availability of activities. Here in Bethesda, there are all sorts of activities for kids. Last summer, our daughter went to an Art camp at a professional art school and really got into painting. Is there a serious art school in Amman, where she can continue to pursue her passion? She’s also been learning French for the past two years. Can we find an equally good program there? She’s also into dancing (ballet). Is there a professional dance school in Amman? Also, every weekend she has private reading and writing lessons. I wonder if we could find a similar program that provides private tutors with a tailored approach to help kids get ahead.

3)Socializing. This one is for me. I’m an international development professional and plan to work in Amman. We lived in Jerusalem for six years and I remember that it was a bit difficult to find expat women to socialize with, because most of them were the wives and stay-at-home Moms. I really have nothing against stay-at-home mothers, but unfortunately I don’t have much in common with them. So, if anyone can share their thoughts on this and maybe make some suggestions for finding other women of similar background mine, I’d really appreciate it. Is there a group for that?