Kuwait is an Islamic country which is becoming increasingly influenced by western traditions. The capital of the country is Kuwait City and it is becoming a lively city. The country is bordered by Iraq and Saudi Arabia and there are nine islands in the Persian Gulf which are controlled by Kuwait. The country is mostly desert though the areas around the coast consist of more fertile land. The climate is a hot one and temperatures are usually high.
The country is located in the Middle East and sits in the GMT + 3 time zone. The population consists of approximately 3 million people. Nearly half of the population is resident in the capital city. The country has a monarchy though was under British rule until 1961. The official language is Arabic, although English is widely used for business.
The country has an elected government while the Head of State is Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah. Kuwait was the first of the Arab states to have an elected government and in 2005 women were given full political rights. The head of state appoints the Prime Minister and selects the cabinet. There are 50 elected members of parliament and elections take place every four years. People stand as individuals as political parties are not permitted.
The economy is built on the oil industry and this is what draws most expats to the country. The currency is the Kuwait Dinar, which breaks down into 1000 fils. There are around 2 Kuwait dinars to each British pound and around 4 to each US Dollar.
Expats are growing in number in the country and are welcomed. They are mostly resident in the capital city although there are some communities in other areas where expats can be found. There is a tendency for them to live in the same areas, particularly if they have moved to the country for work, though this is by no means compulsory.
The country is still a relatively conservative one, even with the increasing influence of the west. Newcomers are expected to respect and follow Arab traditions, such as dressing modestly in public and generally behaving respectfully to others.
There are still strong threats of terrorism in Kuwait, particularly against western companies that have a base there. Your home government will issue guidelines on the safety levels for travel and offer advice on the best way to remain safe.