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Kuwait with a toddler. Any thoughts?

(21 Posts)
PetitChou Tue 31-Jan-12 16:51:57

Hi All! My DH is interviewing for a job in Kuwait. I have never visited or lived anywhere similar so would really appreciate any of your thoughts on the place.

Our DD is nearly 2 and we were planning to start her at a Montessori nursery school in 6months time. I have heard/ read that the education in Kuwait leaves something to be desired? Is this right?

I found a website of a montessori nursery called Happy Chappies there which looks quite nice but aesthetics don't quite cut it when you're considering education, do they? Has anyone heard of this nursery or had experience of it?

We were also shocked to discover it is a dry country!!! Does anyone know anything to the contrary? Is alcohol not even available in hotels??hmm

Also somewhat shocking is the heat in the summertime. How do you cope?? Leave the country?!!

TIA for any advice at all you can offer, it is most appreciated!!!xx

PetitChou Wed 01-Feb-12 14:38:22


kreecherlivesupstairs Wed 01-Feb-12 16:27:45

I have a friend who lived there for four years. She even gave birth to a child there.
The country is dry. They drank Eth and coke and there was a black market in smuggled alcohol.
With regard to the heat, you get used to it and adapt. We lived in Oman which is equally hot. We used the ceiling fans and a/c at home and in the car.
Hopefully there will be someone along soon who has lived there themselves.

PetitChou Wed 01-Feb-12 20:23:27

Thanks so much kreecherlivesupstairs. Eth & coke???!! Sounds scary!!

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 02-Feb-12 10:33:31

It can blind you.

MOSagain Thu 02-Feb-12 13:55:06

Lol at Eth & Coke. We had sid and coke and DH warned me not to drink it as he was worried I'd go blind!

OP, I lived in KSA for over 5 years and had DC3 and 4 there. They were 4 and 2 when we moved back to the UK last summer.

KSA was also a dry country so no alcohol anywhere, not even in hotels. It used to drive me mad when people used to keep telling me 'well in Dubai you can get it in the hotels'. Yes, I'm sure you could but KSA and Kuwait are not Dubai. We used to be able to get the real stuff at the British Embassy if we went to functions there and there were quite a few brewers on our compound. My DC's chemistry teacher made a passable house red wink

Not sure about Kuwait but in KSA I had to wear an abaya and headscarf.
If you are on a compound I would imagine there will be quite a few families with young children so hopefully lots to do.

Have a look and see if there is a British International School there. If so, quite a few may have a nursery or else someone on a compound is bound to run a good one.

Most people I knew used to return to the UK for the summer as too hot for most people to remain. Also, as ramadan falls entirely in the summer this year it is probably best to go home.

Good luck if you go, it can be an interesting experience.

PetitChou Thu 02-Feb-12 14:03:17

Thank you MOSagain. Wow, KSA for over 5 years? An interesting experience I'm sure!

Apparently Kuwait is more liberal than KSA especially with regard to women's rights but not when it comes to alcohol it would seem! May have to make friends with a chemistry teacher grin

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 02-Feb-12 14:06:41

My friend was (is) a teacher at an International school. Oddly enough, her DH is a chemistry teacher. I wonder if that was his attraction.
FWIW, they had a great quality of life, no ababya for her and she could drive.

PetitChou Thu 02-Feb-12 14:35:18

Good to hear your friends had a great quality of life. Definitely need to hear lots of positive things like this because it's just so hard to imagine what it would be like...

alp Thu 02-Feb-12 14:47:46

I have nothing to add except my Dad lives in Kuwait and has done for years.

I don't know too much but women don't have to wear a headscarf, there are ways and means of getting alcohol and many of Dads friends were teachers at an International School.

Oh and there is a Pottery Barn Kids which has great kids stuff that Dad brings back!

PetitChou Thu 02-Feb-12 14:54:32

Yes, I do believe the shopping is very good. Pottery Barn Kids is a-mazing!!!

IdontknowwhyIcare Thu 02-Feb-12 15:10:51

Info here KuwaitWe have a number of freinds who live there. Most enjoy it. Cant comment on schools or certainly not for that age. People do decamp, the middle east is stiffling in summer 50c+ on occassion. However EVERYWHERE is a/c., cars, malls, homes, schools. You will need scarves, pashminas because the ac is so cold. Compunds friendly and your child will love it.

PetitChou Thu 02-Feb-12 15:21:06

Thanks IdontknowwhyIcare, great link, very helpful x

MOSagain Thu 02-Feb-12 15:33:28

durr, just realised that a FB friend of mine who is a MNer is in Kuwait. will send her a message and ask her to post on here.

PetitChou Thu 02-Feb-12 16:03:19

AMAZING!! Thank you sooo much!!!

bodemiller Thu 02-Feb-12 21:29:08

I lived there a while back (2000), but still have friends with kids who live there now. For what it's worth, I lived in Dubai afterwards and much prefered Kuwait.
Yes, it's dry (alcohol-wise), but it's not really. You make your own (apartments are big so usually one room is the bar), or you smuggle drink in (not as dangerous as it sounds - if you're caught, they just take it off you at customs).

Eating out is great, and much cheaper than you think because you don't pay for over-priced alcohol. There are some fantastic restaurants, with very high standards and the range of cuisine is amazing.

It's hot, no denying it, over 50 degrees in the summer, but you just need to make the most of the other seasons and accept that you do not have a great amount of outside time between June and September. However it does get dark relatively early (7pm) so you can swim in the evening without getting burnt! Most friends with children do come back to cooler climes in the summer during the school holidays and visit friends and family.

Schools vary, there are a number of English speaking schools, some are great, some less so. Friends are teachers at Kuwait English School, they send there own kids there and are very happy with the standard of education.

The driving is crazy and you need to be a confident driver to take it on. Roads are good, but many people have extremely powerful cars and think they own the roads. Driving on the hard shoulder was commonplace as was overtaking on the inside and people drive extremely fast.

We didn't live on a compound, there was no need. Its very safe, and people are very friendly. You are a little limited in what you can do -i.e it's a small country, but for a couple of years the beach/pool/bbq/desert life/shopping is enjoyable. You are also quite centrally located for reasonably cheap flights to other parts of the world for holidays. There are no real dress restrictions, you wouldn't wear shorts out in the souk, but at the beach club, bikini's are fine.

Hope this helps.

hereandthereandanywhere Fri 03-Feb-12 08:38:47

Hi, I'm MOS's friend. We've been here for 3 years now. My kids are older but I have a friend who's little one goes to Happy Chappies Montessori and she is very pleased with it.
Bodemiller's info above is good.
Don't be scared about the driving - yes there are idiots and there can be horrid accidents, but if you adopt a slightly agressive approach yourself you will be fine. I have a powerful car and I own the road - lol!
PM me if you would like more detailed info - areas to live, schools etc. I'd be happy to help.

MOSagain Fri 03-Feb-12 09:31:49

<waves at hereandthereandeverywhere> grin

PetitChou Fri 03-Feb-12 13:41:05

Really helpful, brilliant advice, thank you so much Bodemillar (absolutely love him, by the way!), I feel much more reassured!!! It definitely sounds like it could be a pleasant place to be for a year or so.

And, Hereandthereandanywhere, I really appreciate your kind offer of more detailed info. I'll definitely be in contact should things progress further.

Thanks MNers!!!thanks

hereandthereandanywhere Mon 06-Feb-12 10:51:55

OP, have PM'd you.

laetitiadupon Mon 11-May-15 12:45:17

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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