The most common cultural differences between the USA and Kuwait

When moving from one country to another most people need some time to get used to the new lifestyle. The greater the cultural differences between cultures the more time it takes to adapt to the new culture. Well, when you’re moving to Kuwait from the USA or vice versa, let’s just say that you should expect to experience a culture shock. A culture shock is nothing bad. It’s just an experience you may have once you move to a different culture than the one you are used to. However, if you go prepared, or in other words, if you learn about the most common cultural differences between the USA and Kuwait you’ll be able to prevent some of the things associated with culture shock. So let’s start!

"Don't panic" sign - Cultural differences between the USA and Kuwait
If you experience culture shock you can feel disoriented, overloaded with information, homesickness, boredom and so on.

Kuwait and the gender gap

Many have a misconception that being a woman in Arab countries like Kuwait is hard and that you would lose your basic human rights. However, that’s not true. The Global Gender Gap Report has ranked Kuwait as the third country among countries in the Middle East and North Africa for gender equality:

  • Israel
  • Tunisia
  • Kuwait
  • Qatar
  • Algeria

Kuwait has been trying for a while now to close the gender gap and it shows. Especially in the public sphere where they’ve been trying to empower women and now Kuwaiti women outnumber men in the workforce. Furthermore, the Internet is full of stories of expats who even go as far as to say that women are treated like gold.

Cultural differences between the USA and Kuwait – censorship

Some compare Kuwait with Hollywood and go as far as to call Kuwait “Hollywood of the Gulf”. And they do it rightfully. Because when you compare countries in the Gulf Kuwait is the one that is the most similar to Hollywood. Its soap operas are the most-watched soap operas from this region. Kuwait also has a very developed theater and music life compared to the other countries in the Middle East.

"Freedom of the press"
Journalists can criticize the government and ruling family members, but they can’t criticize the Emir.

But then we come to one of many cultural differences between the USA and Kuwait and that is censorship. Showing provocative and nude scenes is forbidden in Kuwaiti soap operas, whereas you can find it in a lot of films in the USA. Furthermore, you can also find censorship in press although Kuwait has probably the greatest press freedom in the Middle East. So you should keep that in mind if you’re trying to find a job in Kuwait in that field.

Cultural differences between the USA and Kuwait – dress code

This is one of the cultural differences between the USA and Kuwait that women will be more eager to learn about. But it can also be important to men. And the difference is that the dress code is more controversial in Kuwait than it is in the USA. So before you just pack and move, find out a little bit more about this. You will have to dress modestly for work, no matter the profession. And that means that your sleeves should be below your elbows and pants or skirts below your knees. Your clothes should be loose and your tops should be a little longer than average. The dress code is not so strict when you’re not at work, but I wouldn’t recommend wearing shorts, miniskirts or crop tops either.

So these would be the most common cultural differences between the USA and Kuwait you should expect when you move from one country to another. And we hope that your culture shock won’t be so big now that you know all this!