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Good things about Kuwait

 
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orbit720



Joined: 04 Feb 2014
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:37 pm    Post subject: Good things about Kuwait Reply with quote

I'm about to leave for Kuwait within the month for a teaching position. When I first got the position I looked up the basics about Kuwait and talked to some friends who had lived in the Middle East and was fine with the decision. Now that it's coming closer to leaving I'm researching a little more and finding almost nothing but negatives. There has to be good things that people just aren't talking about.

Here's a little more information about my situation: I'm an American and will be going with my Irish wife, who's teaching at the same school, our 7 month old daughter and my mom, to watch the baby while we're working. Our school is in Al Fahaheel and will be living in a fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment near the school that they're paying for. We're both making just under 900 KWD which I've seen is on the low side but given that neither of us have teaching degrees (I have a certTESOL and she has a CELTA) and that we love the 2 months of summer and month of winter paid vacation, I feel like it balances out. Plus it's better than we're used to having taught in Korea and China previously.

Please tell me we haven't made a huge mistake and there are good things about Kuwait. Expat sports? Private tutoring? Cheap contacts? Anything?

Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10159
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Good things about Kuwait Reply with quote

orbit720 wrote:
I'm researching a little more and finding almost nothing but negatives. There has to be good things that people just aren't talking about.

You don't state what negatives you expect. However, having your family with you is a huge plus.

For activities and such, check out this Kuwait guide. Also do an Internet search on expat Kuwait forum for general forums focusing on expat lifestyle and work.
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orbit720



Joined: 04 Feb 2014
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advise

Just curious but why is having my family a plus? Anything besides the obvious?

I previously didn't post any of the negatives I found because I was hoping someone would respond explaining all the reasons they like Kuwait. By writing them I thought they would only cover what I mention. But since you asked....

I've read bad things about the area i'm living in. That is is dirty and unsafe.
I've read that it's very hard to find friends and have a good social life.
I've read that my pay is too low for Kuwait's cost of living and worry that we're just going to get by.

And to top it off I found an article saying Kuwait was surveyed by expats in 2015 as the worst country to live in out of 64 countries!

Please give me some good news about moving to Kuwait?
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 671

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I go through Kuwait quite a lot and some parts are nice like Marina Mall and Marina beach. Good quality of life there and lots of shopping malls and restaurants around the city. I haven't worked in Kuwait so can't comment on the market and general conditions..

I recommend joining some expat forums and looking at recent posts. InterNations another good option for info and making contacts:

https://www.internations.org
http://www.expat.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=417
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10159
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The positives about moving to Kuwait:

orbit720 wrote:
I'm an American and will be going with my Irish wife, who's teaching at the same school, our 7 month old daughter and my mom, to watch the baby while we're working. Our school is in Al Fahaheel and will be living in a fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment near the school that they're paying for. We're both making just under 900 KWD which I've seen is on the low side but given that neither of us have teaching degrees (I have a certTESOL and she has a CELTA) and that we love the 2 months of summer and month of winter paid vacation, I feel like it balances out. Plus it's better than we're used to having taught in Korea and China previously.

The negatives about moving to Kuwait:

orbit720 wrote:
I've read bad things about the area i'm living in. That is is dirty and unsafe.
I've read that it's very hard to find friends and have a good social life.
I've read that my pay is too low for Kuwait's cost of living and worry that we're just going to get by.

And to top it off I found an article saying Kuwait was surveyed by expats in 2015 as the worst country to live in out of 64 countries!

No one can make this call for you. You and your wife are fully capable of determining the pros and cons of Kuwait based on your particular situation, personalities, spending habits, needs/wants, etc. Besides, what's fine for others may not be okay with you. Different strokes for different folks. So if you're on the fence, then simply don't go. If you have to ask, then simply don't go. No one is forcing you and your family to physically board the plane to Kuwait.

If you plan to stay in TESOL/teaching, seriously consider bumping up your qualifications so that the two of you can compete for jobs with better pay and benefits to support your family. If you're both reasonably young, it's worth the investment to get proper US k-12 licensure and a couple of years of public school teaching experience as a stepping stone to international schools abroad. That's where the job stability is.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17376
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught in Kuwait many years ago and a perusal of my old posts would show that I didn't much like the place and only lasted one year... but it was mainly because of terrible issues at the job.

Negatives? Lots are bothered by the lack of open access to alcohol. The traffic is horrendous and dangerous. Most, if not all, of the surrounding waters are too polluted to enter. Compared to places like the UAE, Qatar, or Oman, it is rather tatty and ramshackle in many areas. (I was surprised by this fact considering its wealth back then... and even now) The bureaucracy is horrible to deal with. Hopefully your employer has a decent fixer because there is lots of paper to chase for the first month or so. Again it was the worst of the countries that I had been in before.

That said, it is not horrible. It could be argued that I was just spoiled by my time in Oman and the UAE. Since you are married, new baby, and your mother to help with child care, you will likely not be desperate for a social life as the singles that arrive are. The Gulf is quite child friendly, there is plenty of shopping, and the expat sites can lead you to various activities that might interest you.

As to the pay... yes 900 is low, but when people say that they mean for a family to live on. But since the two of you are making double that number, you should be able to save a good chunk of that second paycheck... for travel or whatever.

Has your employer agreed to assisting you to bring over your mother? If they are not, there might be a delay in getting her a visa. You need to stress that she must come over with you.

VS
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orbit720



Joined: 04 Feb 2014
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

currentaffairs wrote:
I recommend joining some expat forums and looking at recent posts. InterNations another good option for info and making contacts:

https://www.internations.org
http://www.expat.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=417


Thanks for the info.

nomad soul wrote:
No one can make this call for you. You and your wife are fully capable of determining the pros and cons of Kuwait based on your particular situation, personalities, spending habits, needs/wants, etc. Besides, what's fine for others may not be okay with you. Different strokes for different folks. So if you're on the fence, then simply don't go. If you have to ask, then simply don't go. No one is forcing you and your family to physically board the plane to Kuwait.


I never asked for help on whether or not I should go to Kuwait. My family and I are going. Again I just want to know if there are people out there who actually do like life in Kuwait.

Thanks for the suggestions on bumping up our qualifications though. We have both thought of doing that in the near future.

veiledsentiments wrote:
Has your employer agreed to assisting you to bring over your mother? If they are not, there might be a delay in getting her a visa. You need to stress that she must come over with you.


Good to know. We are actually in the process of discussing that right now.

And also thank you for your input. I really appreciate it.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10159
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

orbit720 wrote:
nomad soul wrote:
No one can make this call for you. You and your wife are fully capable of determining the pros and cons of Kuwait based on your particular situation, personalities, spending habits, needs/wants, etc. Besides, what's fine for others may not be okay with you. Different strokes for different folks. So if you're on the fence, then simply don't go. If you have to ask, then simply don't go. No one is forcing you and your family to physically board the plane to Kuwait.

I never asked for help on whether or not I should go to Kuwait. My family and I are going. Again I just want to know if there are people out there who actually do like life in Kuwait.

My point was that if any of the negatives you listed are a complete deal-breaker (that "huge mistake" you mentioned) based on your wife's and your specific needs/wants, personalities, backgrounds, and spending habits, then don't go. Otherwise, just be prepared to patiently navigate the cultural differences and restrictions, ambiguities, government bureaucracy, heat, traffic, dust, etc. And definitely join a couple of those general Kuwait expat forums, which reach a wider, more diverse audience than this EFL-focused one.

Good luck.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1405
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:23 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Here's the skinny.

I lived in Mangaf/Fahaheel back in 2011/12 for 6 months while evacuated from my normal job in Libya.

The area's a bit grotty on the Mangaf side but there's an OK compound right by the beach in Fahaheel, so I hope you are there because it had a pool and a wee private beach. There's a public beach in Fahaheel but it's got lecherous Pakistanis on it most weekends, although you might find a quiet spot at the end for you and your family. The mall at the end is quite nice and there's a Starbucks. That's all there is to do in Fahaheel. We played poker and drank flash at the weekends and one or 2 of the men indulged in the Chinese takeaways-not for you. You could invest in the beach club membership of a hotel but it'll cost.

Occasionally, we went to Salmiyah to walk anround malls and drink in Tsche Tsche and Starbucks like we did in Fahaheel.

I've lived all over the Gulf and have to say that place bored the pants off me. It isn't cheap either.

I'm trying to think of 1 positive thing to say about the PLACE and I really can't think of anything. I met 4 or 5 really nice people and the usual Gulf loons.
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CVN-76



Joined: 28 Mar 2014
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuwait was the dumpiest place I worked in, and one of the trashiest places I have ever been, period. Very disappointing place, considering how wealthy Kuwait is supposed to be. It sure didn't look like it. It looked more like a back alley of Siam Reap.
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hhqassem



Joined: 18 Jan 2017
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Positives:

- Free accommodation is always provided
- People are friendly and mind their business for the most part
- It's a good place for shopping
- Central to Europe and Asia so you'll always be able to travel

Negatives:

- Zero social life
- Ban on alcohol and anything that allows people to have a good time
- Super boring. Literally all you can do here is shop and eat. The mall is 'where it's at'
- Religion is taken too seriously

To summarize, if you wanna gain new experiences and explore/broaden your horizons, this is place is NOT for you. If you wanna just live in a comfortable bubble where all you do is work, eat, sleep, and save some money, then go to Kuwait.
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Sleepwalker



Joined: 02 Feb 2007
Posts: 410
Location: Reading the screen

PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spent a loooooooong year in Kuwait. The Science Centre and Aquarium during weekend afternoons when most people were sleeping was my peaceful place.
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Gulezar



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 418

PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:00 pm    Post subject: Family friendly Reply with quote

Sleepwalker wrote:
I spent a loooooooong year in Kuwait. The Science Centre and Aquarium during weekend afternoons when most people were sleeping was my peaceful place.


Good things:
A good place for kids and families
The Corniche is a nice place to take the kids for a bike ride
I found that Kuwaitis really appreciated and respected American expats, forever grateful to George Sr.
Interesting suqs, real suqs, not the manufactured Emirati ones
OK, so share your home-made wine recipes at get-togethers, if you need to have a drink
My university ran the exit process very well, which it not always the case in the Gulf
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 1328
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in the area you are going to and probably worked for the same company. Incompetent and nasty Egyptian managers. The place is a dump. Constant strong smell of oil from the offshore rigs, sea is polluted by oil too. You can easily live (exist) on the money you're being offered and save as there is virtually nothing to do and so nothing to spend money on. Dead hand of Islam is everywhere. Oman is much nicer.
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