I am like you, a restless Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). There are many things we are thankful for Kuwait. I moved here in 2012, to get a job, earn money and support my family back home. However, most of you forgot one thing – to LIVE. So far, it has been an amazing experience and continues to be a great place to work and live. In fact, Kuwait opened its door for us to many opportunities. It has allowed us to be the best version of ourselves. I viewed this as a gift, which I will never ever get from my home country- the Philippines. Coming from a less developed country, I would opt to live here for now. Don’t get me wrong, I value my country the most.
People ask me when will I go back home to the Philippines for good. Well, it is my long-term plan but as of writing this “I am already home”. Being away from the family is hard but it is harder when you don’t appreciate where you are right now. Live in the present and learn to be happy. It’s all about what you do that will make your experience shine.
We know that working abroad is not for everyone. Some of us may have bad experiences, some good and everything in between. Kuwait has its beauty and flaws same as other countries. We must learn to embrace it all. Many fellow expats say worst things about Kuwait irritate me. However, why wouldn’t they just leave? Why stay if they didn’t like it?
It is not fair to stereotype a country that feeds us. Yes! Racism, crime, violence, and discrimination exist here in Kuwait just like most places in the world. There is no perfect country. You may feel culture shock in the beginning but give it a chance. Once you get used to the life here, it will be smooth sailing.
Let us be honest, we as long-term Filipino expats are thankful for Kuwait.
Here are few of many things.
First of all, thank you Kuwait for welcoming us with arms wide open. Kuwaiti hospitality is very similar to Filipino culture that is very accommodating. One thing they all have in common is that they are friendly and generous. In addition, Filipino expats are loved in Kuwait.
We are enjoying tax-free life. Thank you Kuwait we save some real cash. While other countries imposing a high tax, in Kuwait you will get your hard-earned money in full. Not only that, Kuwait is a shopping haven for expatriates. We can easily buy our favorite sneakers that we cannot afford if we were in the Philippines. You would agree with me if I say gadgets are cheap here too. I found myself buying more gadgets than I needed. Electric and water consumption are subsidized too. All these we take advantage because of a tax-free environment.
Opportunity to Travel the World
Thank you Kuwait! You have made our dreams come true. With your geographical location being near to Europe, Americas and Asia, not to mention the cheap flights make it easier for us to travel. Many of us get to see the world spending our holidays. By the way, I have already visited 28 without compromising my job here.
Access to Healthcare Facilities
Thank you Kuwait for giving us adequate medical care to achieve good health. With the public health insurance, we expats don’t have to sell properties to pay for cancer treatments and other surgeries. In addition, consultation and medicine are subsidize. I remember a friend underwent C-section delivery to save her baby. Therefore, she just paid 2kd for a stamp. Such services to foreigners are much appreciated.
Thank you for showing us Kuwaitis are not bad people. Kuwaitis may come last in the Gulf for friendliness according to The Expat Insider survey. But if you get the chance to know them for real, they are warm and friendly. Well, what you see in media may be true or not. I don’t have to explain it but building bridges and having a good conversation is the key. I am lucky to meet few Kuwaitis that I trust. In the end, friendship knows no color, nationality, gender, and race. As an expat, we soon leave Kuwait, but one thing will last forever is the friendship we build.
Working in a Multinational Environment
In Kuwait, you immerse yourself to many cultures untouched by tourism. Also, the experience of working with people from all over the world is incomparable. I bet, the first foreign word you learn from them is a “bad word”. I learned that there’s no language barrier. Hence, love is the universal language. Thank you for teaching us the virtue of humility.
It is true that the oil-rich country spoiled us big time. Getting a job offer with 30-day annual vacation, paid plane tickets to home country, housing allowance, annual bonus, food allowance, transport allowance, private medical insurance etcetera is more than enough. Kuwait has endless opportunities. We cannot thank you enough for the opportunity that exceeded our expectations. Kuwait has been our platform to showcase our skills and talents. Thank you!
Looking at my life the past 5 years, there’s no regret living here. I realized that there were many things to be grateful. Furthermore, I have my ups and downs stories similar to you. Some Filipinos were frustrated that bubbled up to negativity. Others look into the positive side.
Please note that this article is my personal experience. It may reflect to some and dissatisfy others. Soon we consider leaving Kuwait, people will ask you what have you spent your money on? Cars, house, travel, clothes, jewelry? Whatever people say is not important. They are just bunch of bashers who lives unsatisfying life. What’s important is the values you get from the experience. You may not be successful in the eyes of the society, but you know you are successful yourself. You bring home the happiness and that is the real success in your life.