Saudi mothers' attitudes towards their children's bilingual language practices in the United States

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The largest scholarship program of its kind worldwide, the King Abdullah Scholarship Program, which began in 2005, allowed any Saudi Arabian citizen admitted into an approved higher education institution worldwide

The largest scholarship program of its kind worldwide, the King Abdullah Scholarship Program, which began in 2005, allowed any Saudi Arabian citizen admitted into an approved higher education institution worldwide to receive a full scholarship, allowing more than 200,000 students to study abroad. A large portion of the Saudi scholarship students commonly study abroad with their families; either they have young children or are newly married and have children while they are in the United States. Since these children are primarily exposed to English environments in their communities, daycare centers and schools during their time in the United States, they often face challenges to learn Arabic other than at home with their parents. This dynamic can pose many challenges for the children and their families when returning to and adapting back to life in Saudi Arabia, linguistically, educationally and culturally. This research aims at: 1) investigating the language context of the Saudi mothers and children abroad, 2) understanding Saudi mothers' attitudes towards their children’s bilingualism in the United States and, 3) highlighting Saudi mothers’ roles in supporting language skill and the development of their children while living outside of Saudi Arabia. To achieve this, data was collected using three qualitative methods: interviews and brief surveys with Saudi mothers, and observation of their children in their playrooms. The findings suggest that educators in Saudi Arabia should be aware that those returning may sometimes need assistance to be able to fit linguistically in the community.