Kuwait at a Glance
Living in KuwaitiStockphoto
Islam plays an important role in Kuwaiti society.
Kuwait has the fifth largest oil reserves in the world. The export of oil and petroleum products has made it the eleventh richest country in per capita terms. With the enormous oil revenues, the government provides Kuwait’s citizens with extensive social welfare services, employment and housing.
Its booming economy has made it a popular destination for migrant workers and expatriates. Currently, Kuwaitis only make up just over one third of the people living in Kuwait. The other two thirds consist of immigrant groups from India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Syria and many other countries. Living in Kuwait, you’ll join a large, professional expat community.
Living in Kuwait, you are basically surrounded by desert. The average annual rainfall is about 125 mm. During the summer months, temperatures can climb up to 50° C in the shade. Nevertheless, extensive use of air-conditioning makes expat life in Kuwait possible even for those who are not used to the heat. However, do not forget to pack some winter coats for your life inKuwait, too. Temperatures can be as low as 0° C in winter.
Living in Kuwait: Culture and Everyday Life
The majority of Kuwaitis are Sunni Muslims. Islam remains an important part of everyday culture and influences most aspects of social and personal life in Kuwait. Inshallah – if God wills it – is a phrase you will hear most frequently during daily life in Kuwait. Alcohol, pork and pornography are illegal.
At the same time, cultural influences of immigrants living in Kuwait are visible everywhere, from international cuisine to the colourful dresses visible on Kuwait’s streets. Kuwait has also developed quite an extensive Western-style expat infrastructure. There are many international schools, English-language newspapers and television programs. Living in Kuwait, you may not even have to miss out on your favourite groceries from home, either.
Expats starting their life in Kuwait are recommended to familiarize themselves with the most important Islamic traditions. Learning some basic common phrases in Arabic also makes living in Kuwait much easier.
Life in Kuwait: Health Care
Kuwait has a reputable public health-care system which provides free or low-cost health care to all its residents, including expats living in Kuwait. In addition, some employers offer expatriate employees private health-care plans as part of their remuneration package.
Medical facilities and treatment at both public and private hospitals are usually comparable to North American and European standards. For very specialized treatment, however, those who can afford it – both expats living in Kuwait and citizens alike - seek medical care outside of the country.
Vaccinations are available free of charge at public clinics. All children need a tuberculosis vaccine in order to attend school while living in Kuwait. Pharmacies are usually well-equipped, though they may sell medication under different names than you are used to. A quick look at the main pharmaceutical ingredient will help that.