Expats guide for Visiting and Working in Kuwait
About the Country – Kuwait
Kuwait is the eighth richest country in the world per capita and Kuwaiti Dinar being the highest valued currency in the world., Kuwait has attracted a lot of expats from developing countries like India, Sri-Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh , Egypt, Syria, Philippines, Malaysia, China and Sudan. As a result Kuwait’s population was estimated to be 2.7 million people, which included 1.3 million non-nationals. In 2009, 580,000 Indian nationals were residing in Kuwait, making them the single largest expatriate community in 2009.
I am going to write down my experience in Kuwait, which might help you know more about this place. I have been in Kuwait for more than 8 months and during my stay was very different. This was the first time I was living on a sea shore. When I arrived in Kuwait in April the weather was moderately hot which then became unbearably hot in July and August. Luckily, all the buildings in Kuwait are air-conditioned.The summers are too dry and it is advisable to carry water with you all the time.If you are visiting Kuwait I would suggest not to try to drink water during the month of Ramadan at a public place. Well, I did not thought that winters would be so cold in Kuwait as a result I have to buy some jackets and pull-overs from the local stores. You can find all the international brand in Kuwait, I would say that Kuwait is the Americanized Arabic country in terms of consumer goods. From Starbucks in Coffee and Dodge in Cars, Kuwaiti love the “Brand America”. Initially , I had to look for vegetarian food here and there, as I was new and most of the cuisine in Kuwait is Non-vegetarian. It is easy to find kebab’s on the streets. If you are vegetarian and planning to visit Kuwait read this post about where to find vegetarian food in Kuwait.
Lifestyle in Kuwait
The lifestyle in Kuwait is very conservative. Though Kuwait is considered to be the most liberal country in the region ( feels like I would never try to visit those other countries in the region with my current experience in Kuwait). You should always carry your passport/ Visa with you , no matter wherever you go. Arabic is the native language, so you have to figure out the basic Arabic words. Learn how to greet in Arabic (Salaam!!) and how to say Thank you (Shukran!). The most important word that you should remember is Arabi Muafi (I do not know Arabic). However, if you know Hindi or English you will be able to survive in this country with a prominent number of South East Asians here.
People are mostly friendly however you may run into some arrogant people here and there, if you are an expat. Most of the native women are veiled and it is considered inappropriate to look towards women (forget about talking to them). Also take care not to touch any of the women accidentally (usually in lifts or markets). There are not enough means of public transport in Kuwait except the KPTC buses which have a good frequency. Taxi’s are the easiest way to travel through the city which charge no less than 1 KD even for small distance. Food is easily available. Yes, you can survive easily in Kuwait if you are a vegetarian (see- Being Vegetarian in Kuwait). There are plenty of restaurants which serve Indian, South Indian, Pakistani, Lebanese, Arabic, Korean and Philippines cuisine. There are lot of cafes and you will find most of the crowd in the famous Avenues mall on Friday. Kuwaitis seem too fond of cars, you will find all the brands of cars and bikes on the roads of Kuwait. You should not break any traffic law in Kuwait.