Since I am documenting my journey toward a life in Kuwait as an educator, it is inevitable that I blog about packing up my life. Seriously though… how do you pack your entire life into two 20kg pieces of luggage? The walls of my apartment are littered with photos of family and friends…the outside of my fridge is filled with touristy magnets… and like any woman, my cupboards are overflowing with clothes, shoes and bags. How does one person accumulate so much of stuff?!
In this post I am going to share some of the things I plan to pack for my move to Kuwait. Adapt the following according to your needs and requirements:
Lots of people think that you have to change your entire wardrobe when you move to the Middle East. From what I have read and the questions I have asked my school, that is highly improbable. I am packing all the formal clothes I wore to work in South Africa as well jeans, T-shirts and other essentials. Once I land and start work, I will see what is acceptable and shop accordingly.
UPDATE: One of my biggest regrets was not packing a single item of winter wear. Yes Kuwait gets cold (why did no one ever mention this to me?), below 10 degrees celsius in winter! This meant I had to go shopping for a whole heap of winter stuff come December. Oh and shopping for clothes in Kuwait is EXPENSIVE. Try to bring as much as you can from home. For more information on what to wear in Kuwait click here.
I am taking, my vitamins and all the usual medication for headaches and flu like Corenza C, Myprodol, Ibumol etc. as well my prescription medication with the prescription from my doctor. These things will tide me though the first few weeks/months until I can settle myself there and try out Kuwaiti healthcare. Even if you aren’t a person that usually gets sick, its good to carry a few things just in case… change in climate and air often results in a weakened immune system before the body adjusts to the new surroundings.
UPDATE: You hardly need a prescription for any medication at the pharmacies in Kuwait. And there are pharmacies everywhere. Public healthcare is decent and private healthcare isn’t as expensive as it is in South Africa.
Electrical Appliances & Plugs
There are a few electronic items that I have to take which are my Macbook, my kindle, my iPhone and my electric toothbrush. I am NOT taking a toaster/kettle/iron or any other household appliance. If I can’t get it there then I will do without it!
Apparently the plugs in Kuwait look like these…
So I have bought one of these ( you can find them in most stores like Cape Union Mart, luggage stores and even in Pick & Pay sometimes) and hopefully my devices won’t blow up or explode!
If you want more technical information on plugs, voltage and all that jazz, click here.
UPDATE: The plugs in Kuwait are only Type G (picture above). Sorry for posting inaccurate info initially (can never believe what you read online… except me.. trust me ok?!)
Keepsakes and personal items
I am definitely taking some photos, magnets and other items to make my new home feel like home. It’s hard to describe how alone you feel when you realise that your nearest family member is around 1000km away from you but it can hit you hard. A few things to make the place feel like home can put a smile on your face on those lonely days.
Again, I am only taking things to last me for the first few weeks/months. I heard about a person who took a year’s supply of shampoo and conditioner when they were moving abroad. I can’t imagine why… I have seen toiletry items in every country that I have travelled to. If they don’t have your favourite brand, try something new. If there is something specific/recommended by your doctor that you can’t live without then take enough to last you a while.
I am taking all of my vital documents (originals and copies) with me in my hand luggage. Not so important documents will go into my checked luggage. Also, save digital copies on your email in case your laptop crashes then you will still have a copy.
It’s an interesting question. How much money do you take to tide you over until that heaven-sent first pay cheque? Sensibility dictates that if you can take an amount equivalent to your first pay cheque then set it aside. However, not a lot of people can do that so try to save up as much as you can and take what you can afford to. I am planning to take just over $3000 to tide me through the first month. I have no clue whether that it is too much or too little but I am sure I will find out soon enough. Remember there is a cap on the amount of cash you can leave the country with (R25,000 for us South Africans). The rest of the money must be put in an account you can access overseas preferably something with a MasterCard or Visa card because those are the most accepted cards at most ATMs. Remember to tell your bank you are leaving so they don’t freeze your accounts when they see you transacting in a foreign land.
UPDATE: $3000 was way too much money for one month in Kuwait… you can get by comfortably with around $1000 or R14,000 if you don’t need to buy furniture.
I have read about teachers that took teaching resources with them when they moved… but honestly what do you take? Charts? Worksheets? I figure I am going to have all the digital copies of my resources on my laptop. And I will just take my own stationery. I can’t predict the level of English that my learners in Kuwait will be studying so I think that textbooks would be a waste of money and space. The Internet is a great mobile resource and I plan to maximise my use of it.
UPDATE: The learners in Kuwait have an exceptional grasp of the English language… remember that when you’re looking for resources!
The last time I moved abroad, I took linen and bedclothes. Bad move because none of the stuff I purchased in South Africa fitted the bed I had in Korea. So that is definitely not going with me. I want to take a few of my own towels, some spices (at least for the first months or so), some chocolates/chips to snack on when I have a craving and of course, my camera!
I will update this post once I am in Kuwait to let future expats know if I missed out on anything… but for now… time to get packing using some of these nifty tips!