In addition to the information provided in brief below, the link below contains information about living and working in Kuwait.
Location: 29°21′ N, 48°00′ E, altitude 5m/16 ft.
17,819 square kilometers; 6,878 square miles (~90% the size of Massachusetts).
Borders: 240 km north & west with Iraq; 250 km south and east with Saudi Arabia; 290 km coastline on the Arabian Gulf.
Cities: Kuwait City (many suburbs); Towns: Jahra, Ahmadi, and Fahaheel.
Kuwait is very flat and close to sea level.
Al-Mutla Ridge is one of Kuwait’s few physical features and rises 306 meters to an unnamed point north of the city.
Sparse plant and animal life but tree planting programs are in place around the city.
Fairly dense city; people live in villas and other large homes and the expatriate population usually live in apartments.
A beautiful waterfront bricked “corniche” is about a ten minute walk from the school and staff apartment buildings and offers western restaurants, health clubs, and shopping. Running and biking occurs frequently on the corniche.
Heavy traffic at peak times throughout the country.
Twenty to forty minute drive, depending on the direction, to get outside the city or suburbs.
Ten to fifteen minute drive to most popular retail areas and souks (markets); walking and biking distance to local shopping. The largest mall, the Avenues, is a 15-20 minute drive.
Taking public transportation is an option, but not frequently used.
Biking is difficult and the city streets are not well designed for it. There are, however, avid cyclists in Kuwait.
One hour plus to Iraqi and Saudi Arabian borders.
Low-lying sunny and dry desert country lacking freshwater lakes or rivers.
Average annual rainfall about 125 mm or five inches – most rain falls between November and March. Umbrellas are useful.
Average number of hours of sunshine per day is seven to nine from November to April and ten to eleven from May to October.
Humidity levels are forty-five to fifty percent from July to September; sixty-five to seventy percent from October to November, February to June; and seventy-seven percent from December to January.
Mild winter temperatures with occasional cold spells due to northerly or north-westerly winds. Temperatures of 0°C may be reached in the winter. Due to hot weather acclimatization, 10°C may feel colder than expected.
Uniformly hot summers with very high temperatures due to winds from Saudi Arabia. Temperatures may climb near 50°C during summer. Discomfort levels can be high due to extreme temperatures from May to October.
Lower coastal temperatures but higher humidity.
Winds are typically light. 5-10 km/h is common. 10-20 km/h winds often pick up in the afternoon. Storms may bring winds in excess of 50 km/h.
Occasional sandstorms when strong winds occur. During these periods, which can last for several days, the dust and fine sand in the air can be an irritant to nose, sinus, throat, and lung tissue. Allergies tend to flare up.
In Kuwait there are four months of extremely hot weather, so lightweight clothing is most appropriate.
Kuwait does have a winter season. Temperatures can reach the single digit range. Heating is available in classrooms and apartments.
Teachers are expected to project a professional image; consequently the dress may be casual but conservative. Shorts may not be worn while teaching. Women may wear pants but they should be at least mid-calf length; similarly, skirts should cover the knee.
Sandals are acceptable but flip flops are not.
There are some occasions when formal clothing is required, so women should bring a few dressy outfits, and men should have suits and jackets.
Dress for parent conference days should be formal/professional.
Shoulders, midriff and knees should be kept covered.
Some teachers bring pets to Kuwait, but be aware that you are living in an apartment and that the neighborhood around the school is densely populated and has little open space. There is a large cat population in the country, so pet cats are restricted to their apartments. Dog lovers should be aware that, although there are many happy dogs in Kuwait, the population as a whole is not familiar with having dogs as pets. This, coupled with the densely built-up nature of the school neighborhood, makes it a community that is not very “dog friendly”. There is a long walking path across the highway from staff housing and often people run with their dogs.
Import and export licenses are required for your pet before entering Kuwait. These licenses are not difficult to obtain and the cost can range between $100-200. Pets who are brought into Kuwait can either be carried onto the plane or stowed as luggage, depending on the weight and size of the pet. Quarantining is not necessary.
Kuwait is Tax Free
Banks are very modern and transfering money electronically online to your home is easy. There are many investment firms that cater to international teachers, some of whom have representatives who visit Kuwait regularly. It is advisable to have electronic banking arrangements with your local/home country bank prior to arriving in Kuwait.
Kuwait has excellent medical facilities and quality healthcare is available. Public hospitals are open to expatriates once they have been assigned residency and have been issued a civil identification (civil id).
International Teachers at AIS, however, generally access private clinics and hospitals using international health insurance provided by the school. (It is activated once you are in country.) These clinics and hospitals offer excellent care on demand.