A visit to Kuwait is always enjoyable. However, you are likely to experience a totally different culture compared to what you are used to in the United States. So even before starting your application for Kuwait visa for U.S citizens, you should be aware of things to do and what to avoid when visiting Kuwait.
Arabs are understanding people and never take offense on social blunders done out of ignorance. But you will be more welcome in the country if you adhere to their culture, and do things the local way. Besides, there are several rules that you should strictly follow to avoid offending not only the people but local authorities in Kuwait.
Mode of Dressing
When visiting Kuwait, you will notice there are two modes of dressing—one for Kuwaitis and another for visitors. Most Arab women are seen with traditional attire when outside the home. This means most of their body is covered from head to toe. Some Arab women also have their hands and face covered to protect women from unwanted attention. As a visitor, you are allowed to wear western outfits, but you must dress conservatively.
Arab men wear a thobe made from white cotton. The thobe (loose, ankle-length robe) is normally worn for all occasions. It is not a requirement for western men to wear the thobe. However, avoid sleeveless shirts and shorts while in Kuwait streets.
Customs for Hands and Feet in Kuwait
It is respectful to accept refreshments whenever offered, but always use your right hand when drinking and taking your meals. In Kuwait, it is considered unclean to use your left hand for eating and drinking.
Likewise, never show the soles of your shoes in Kuwait. This will imply that you regard other people as ‘dirt', hence highly offensive in Kuwait. You, therefore, need to keep your feet flat on the ground—so no crossing your legs!
Invitations to Visit the Locals in Kuwait
You should always accept an invitation to an Arab home. This can be the best opportunity to learn more about Kuwait culture and avoid making mistakes in public. The Arab hosts will also be interested to know your views about the country. However, you should avoid making religious and political subjects matters of discussions—your opinions might be taken as offensive or ill-informed.
Other Dos and Don'ts When Visiting Kuwait
Here are a few additional things to keep in mind when visiting Kuwait:
- Don't take any alcoholic drinks in public, or even offer the drink to an Arab, unless you are certain that he takes alcohol. Otherwise, this can be disrespectful.
- Don't walk on a prayer mat, or stare at people when praying.
- Avoid entering a mosque without permission. Even if you ask for authorization, chances are you may not be allowed in.
- During Ramadhan, avoid eating, drinking or even smoking in public.
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