Sharon Greaney moved to Kuwait in May 2014 when her husband found an opportunity to work in the Middle Eastern country. It's not been an easy transition, but she says the best thing a potential expat can do is read as much about their destination as possible before making the big move.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Portsmouth, UK
Q: Where are you living now?
A: Salmiya, Kuwait City
Q: When did you move here?
A: May 2014
Q: Did you move with a spouse?
Q: Why did you move?
A: To be with my husband.
About Kuwait City
Q: What do you enjoy most about Kuwait City?
A: The seafront
Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: If you don’t have a car, you are basically stuck. It’s also a different way of life – very isolated. There isn’t a lot for the mature woman who isn’t working to do. And it’s dirty.
Q: Is the city safe?
A: It is worse than the UK.
Q: How would you rate the public transport?
A: I have tried to get a bus time table, but there’s no such thing – you just have to wait for a bus to turn up and then ask the driver. Taxis are expensive for Westerners and the drivers here are very bad.
About living here
Q: Which are the best places in Kuwait City to live as an expat?
A: Jabriya, Salmiya and Messila – but it depends on your needs.
Q: What’s the cost of living compared to the UK?
A: Most things are more expensive, but bread and meat are generally cheaper or the same.
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?
A: No it is very hard if you do not go out to work or have a young family – even if you go to expat functions.
Q: Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: Learn as much as you can before you come out. Rules and regulation change at a drop of a hat. There are different rules for commercial visas and visitors visas. If you are a married woman with no family and you do not work and you have a civil ID, you can’t get a Kuwaiti driving licence, as they think you don’t need one. Socialising is done in malls or family centres. The summer is very, very hot. Petrol may be cheap, but it is generally more expensive here. There are no pavements as such, and if there are they are badly maintained or cars are parked on them.
~ Interviewed in December 2014