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Living in Kuwait City
A comprehensive guide about living well in Kuwait City
Kuwait’s capital is the country’s largest city, covering an area of 200 square kilometers. With over 2.1 million people, more than 80% of the country’s population lives in Kuwait City. Discover what expat life in Kuwait City can be like and read up on healthcare, education and more to get prepared.
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Life in Kuwait City
Healthcare in Kuwait City
The quality of healthcare in Kuwait City is high, with standards higher than in many other parts of the Middle East and comparable with those in many European countries or the US. Treatment is usually available promptly due to the high ratio of facilities and staff to patients. Local citizens are entitled to free medical care in public hospitals in Kuwait City, but expats are required to pay for healthcare, whether in a public or private medical facility. As such, expats should take out medical insurance before their arrival in Kuwait City.
Air quality can be an issue in Kuwait City because of the sand and dust. Anyone who suffers from respiratory conditions and is planning to relocate to Kuwait City should seek medical advice and take necessary precautions.
Education in Kuwait City
It is advisable to make plans for your children’s education as far ahead as possible. Many private schools are overfilled, so you may need to put your child onto a waiting list until a place becomes available. Teaching is a respected profession and commands a good salary in Kuwait, so it has attracted many teachers from abroad. The school system consists of four stages; kindergarten, primary, intermediate and secondary.
As a high income country, Kuwait also offers a good standard of education in its state schools. The majority teach in Arabic language only, although there are several public bilingual schools where some lessons are taught in Arabic and others in another language, usually English. Many expats living in Kuwait City opt to enroll their children in a foreign language or international school and there are plenty to choose from, such as the American International School, the Kuwait National English School and the Universal American School.
Safety and Security
In general, crime rates in Kuwait City are low. Crimes such as burglaries are rare. Many crimes are met with long prison sentences, which can act as a deterrent. However, women are advised not to walk alone at night, and are recommended to dress modestly (local women are required to be covered in public). There is a risk of terrorism by extremists in Kuwait, although very few incidents have actually taken place. However, it is wise to be vigilant when in public places, particularly those frequented by westerners.
Many expats advise against driving in Kuwait City because traffic accidents are common, with many drivers failing to observe speed limits and driving recklessly. If you choose to drive in the city you should be aware that you need to be very watchful of other drivers, and may need to exercise more caution than in your home country.
It is important to familiarize yourself with and respect local traditions and laws. Kuwait’s ruler, the emir, commands the utmost respect, and anyone found guilty of criticizing him may be punished with a custodial sentence.
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