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Is life in Kuwait similar to that of the UAE ?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by chocolat, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. chocolat

    chocolat New commenter

    What are the similarities and differences in terms of the lifestyle between Kuwait and the UAE ?

    Anyone hear about a universal school that is "American" ?
  2. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    UAE is much freer than Kuwait - dress code, alcohol, entertainment. I would like to say 'more Westernised' but I was shot down by somebody for using this term. There is still the option of being put into jail for misdemeanors and you should be aware of this.

    Kuwait is a lot stricter/less Westernised.
  3. musikteech

    musikteech Occasional commenter

    I haven't been to Kuwait but I have lived and worked in the UAE. You can party the night away in many of the UAE'S bars and restaurants. I used to play a lot of darts when I was there. If you don't mind the quiet life, Kuwait could be alright but there is no alcohol there I've heard. I call the UAE little India myself, as a lot of Indians and Pakistanis work and live there (usually on low wages). Taxis are cheap in UAE. You can go miles for a fiver. That's about all I can tell you.
  4. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    There's actually a lot of alcohol in Kuwait, it's just illegal. Raises a lot of issues.
  5. chocolat

    chocolat New commenter

    Ok...besides the alcohol issues, are there any similarities ?
    Are both cultures similar ?
    Is it true that Kuwaiti beaches are filthy ?
    Is Kuwait more like Al Ain ?
  6. crinauk

    crinauk New commenter

    It depends where you are in Kuwait. I worked there for a year out on the edge of the city and it was not a pleasant experience. I was unable to walk anywhere with my daughter as we often got spat at and things thrown at us so we had to take taxis everywhere. We had to take care in the local mall in the evening as we would be followed by large groups of young Kuwaiti males which was very intimidating. Two of my female colleagues were physically attacked and the police did nothing saying they should not have been out alone - they were attacked late afternoon. It is almost impossible to go onto public beaches because of the males that hang out on them and it feels very uncomfortable. The hotel beaches are fine and clean. I would say that the teaching in Kuwait was really enjoyable as the school I was at the pupils were dedicated to their studies.
  7. chocolat

    chocolat New commenter

    Is there anyone in this forum living in Kuwait now that I can PM ?
  8. Roseea123

    Roseea123 New commenter

    I turned down a job in Kuwait because of the location. After researching online it seemed very dangerous and very unpleasant especially for females. I was advised that if I was to accept a job it must be in Kuwait city not the outskirts! Apparently it all depends on the area. I chose not to take the risk. Do some research online and go with your gut.
  9. chocolat

    chocolat New commenter

    Oh ....this school is located in the city....so it is near to everything....
  10. Roseea123

    Roseea123 New commenter

    I was told as long as it's Salwa and those areas close by then all is fine apart from it not being a very clean country. School I was offered was way out and was like the ghetto of Kuwait
    I used Expat Kuwait which had lots of people living out there providing info. There are lots of posts/ forums with great detail. Good luck
  11. musikteech

    musikteech Occasional commenter

    is the salary good?
  12. desertestrella7

    desertestrella7 New commenter

    you can PM me, chocolat - I've tried to PM you but this new layout has confused me....

    Kuwait divides most people on here! I am here for the money, but teach great kids, have some great friends and escape to Dubai regularly. I have many colleagues in their 20s who are whacking away the cash, travelling every holiday and will be here for 2-3 years max, but with a hefty deposit for a flat/house back in the UK, and still young enough to go and live somewhere else with more of a social life that is more suited to their age. I would never have survived here in my 20s - I spent 5 years in Spain, had a fab time and went home with £2000 to show for it.... Not quite enough for a deposit, even back in those days...

    I've got friends in the UAE and I love going to visit - Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But one of them came to Kuwait to work in my school last year as she was going to be on £800 a month more, and spending less due to no Friday brunches or new dresses/shoes/accessories to bother about buying. It's all about being clear on why you are making the move and what you want out of it.
    stopwatch likes this.
  13. peakdj

    peakdj New commenter

    I currently work in Kuwait but am leaving this year. Similar in some ways here to UAE, but different in many ways too. There is a lot less going on, so a lot less to spend cash on here. The money is also often better here than UAE, but there's a good reason for that IMO...you will need it for decent housing and to escape to somewhere nicer every holiday. I will have been here for just two school years in June and that's two years too long ;). Whether you love it or loathe it here depends very much on the kind of person you are. If you like the idea of wandering around shopping malls often, and having domestic help do pretty much everything for you, and paying them peanuts in return, then you could love it. If you'd like to live somewhere with any natural beauty, with welcoming and friendly locals, then forget it! Many of the schools have a lot of Egyptian and other Arab students enrolled and they are very much into teaching to the test. If you like that approach, you'll like the work here. Think about it carefully before coming and consider visiting for a few days to check out the place. I didn't think about it enough and it's the only international post that I have regretted taking in quite a few years of international teaching.
  14. chocolat

    chocolat New commenter


    Hello, I have PMd but you……but it seems you may have not figured out the layout?
    Hope to hear from you soon!
  15. desertestrella7

    desertestrella7 New commenter

    Noooo! I can't find it!!! How on earth do I get into my messages?!
  16. MrDirector

    MrDirector New commenter

    If you have been approved you won't see it, but click on a username and then click on start conversation. As I'm 'new' here I don't have rights to start conversations, so if you are like me and can't see the link, hard luck I'm afraid. Until you are out of quarantine three's nothing you can do.

    I have no idea how many posts / length of time / likes before you are considered free of disease. I'm trying to remember the name children used to use to insult people, when I was a boy, to suggest someone had an imaginary disease, similar to the American cooties. It may come back to me later. If you from up North in the sixties / seventies, please help me old brain.
    estrella7 likes this.
  17. Luvsskiing

    Luvsskiing Established commenter

    "If you don't mind the quiet life, Kuwait could be alright but there is no alcohol there I've heard."

    It's been a few decades since I worked in Kuwait. The first thing we were shown as part of our induction was how to make alcohol using buckets, fruit juice, sugar, bread yeast and a tea bag! There was never any shortage of alcohol for social visits and parties. There are just no bars although most Kuwaiti seem to know someone who can get cans of beer or whiskey. Quite a few expats who had drink problems were employed; they got jobs there because they thought it would help them dry out! I was surprised at the large underground gay scene in Kuwait because it often bubbled to the surface in private parties, although most Arabs there didn't see it as homosexual, just fooling around with friends! Very bizarre. It's easy to avoid. Kuwait is a country where anything goes, as long as it is not public. Corruption or 'wasta' is everywhere. Students are probably the worst I've ever taught and as a non-Kuwaiti, you are the lowest of the low. Cheating in exams in my school was a national sport and there was nothing you could do about it, even for the public UK exams that most were aiming to sit. Some tried and were sacked when parents complained. The money was okay but not outstanding. Some months the temperature can hit the high 40s and at other times it can be cold. An interesting experience for 9 months if you are really really really really desperate, otherwise I would look elsewhere.
  18. ameaney1

    ameaney1 New commenter

    This is my third year in Kuwait, and it is completely different to the UAE. Absolutely miles apart from Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
    The pay is better (depending on the school) but lifestyle takes a hit.
    PM if you need anymore details.
  19. desertestrella7

    desertestrella7 New commenter

    Mr Director - I got into my messages! I've been on here for ages and seem to be approved.... Chocolat, I've replied to you!

    Luvsskiing - yes, it is the same as far as anything goes as long as it's not on show. But the good schools, and I'm in one of them as opposed to the awful one I was in before, do not accept cheating in exams at all. In fact, all our students know the word 'malpractice' and the consequences of even looking at someone even when the exam paper has been handed in but you are still in the exam room! Year 7s up are very aware of what is expected. 2 years ago there was a cheating scandal in Kuwait as some CIE exams had been 'leaked'. Stupidly, whoever leaked them (and one school has now had their CIE exam status taken off them and have had to switch to Edexcel...) then decided to sell them on Instagram. Everyone was alerted, CIE were over here very promptly and every IG student had to resit a maths paper on a Sunday which had been emailed to the exams officers and the British Council. So as for cheating in external exams, the spotlight is very much on Kuwait and we are all now experts in invigilation policies - as it should be. After all, it's how the schools get the students - no external exams, no students, no jobs, no schools...

    But yes, Kuwait is very very different to Abu Dhabi and Dubai... and I know as I go there regularly!!
  20. Luvsskiing

    Luvsskiing Established commenter

    Good to hear, although everything I remember about Kuwait makes me somewhat sceptical of exam cheating being eliminated! I remember regular announcements that public corruption or 'wasta' had been eliminated according to the latest Government survey after the last drive, and of course it wasn't even touched. The fact that a school can be caught cheating with one exam board, then switch over to another the next day doesn't fill me with confidence. I still remember vividly the endless whispering going on in the exam hall and rooms with invigilators walking up and down, completely ignoring it. There were signs everywhere saying cheating would not be tolerated etc. Very Kafka-like.

    Then there were the young men in the Sixth Form, happily boasting about heavy drinking and using prostitutes in Thailand, only to return back to Kuwait to behave as model citizens again.

    Other memories include the way abuse of girls had to be handled. It was invariably the father or brothers but the school had to try and get the mother in to talk about it, and it was invariably hushed up. It seemed that men could do whatever they wanted to girls as long as it was in the home. Quite upsetting for many teachers I seem to remember, who had to listen to what the girls were telling them but knew they couldn't reastically help the poor victims. I remember leaving the place thinking it was a very dysfunctional, hypocritical and quite sick society and vowing never to return. I haven't.
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    Alice K likes this.

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