On the northwest short of the Persian Gulf lies the nation of Kuwait. This constitutional emirate shares borders with Saudi Arabia and Iraq. More than two-thirds of the population of Kuwait are expatriates from other Arab nations, as well as Asia and Africa. The land is flat and arid, and the climate warm and windy. Oil spills and fires have rendered much of the eastern and southeastern territory uninhabitable. Despite the environmental damage it has caused, petroleum is the backbone of the economy and the nation’s number one export, accounting for nearly half of the nation’s GDP. The primary religion is Islam and the primary language Arabic, although English is widely spoken.
Much of the wealth generated by Kuwait’s oil field is used to fund education and modernization. Following secondary school Kuwaitis may opt to attend a vocational or technical school in preparation for joining the skilled workforce or to attend one of the nation’s numerous universities in order to obtain an academic degree. Students who wish to study business in Kuwait may attend the state-supported Kuwait University or one of 14 private universities.
Classes are held from Sunday through Thursday in Kuwait, with Friday and Saturday comprising the weekend. Most universities follow a nine-month academic calendar, which begins in September and concludes in May. The year is divided into two semesters with a break of several weeks in between. Students may relax from their studies during the three-month summer break or choose to attend the summer semester in order to graduate more quickly.
Education is free at all levels for Kuwaiti students, including for those who are accepted at universities abroad. International students studying in Kuwait will be expected to fund their own tuition and living expenses, but may be eligible for scholarships and grants. Housing is more affordable outside the city center, but the cost of transportation should also be taken into account.
Full-time students on a typical two-semester pathway may earn a bachelor’s degree in business in around four years. A further one to two years of study are required to earn a master’s degree, after which students may pursue a doctoral degree, which is the highest of academic achievements.
Kuwait is welcoming to international students, although visitors should be aware and respectful of the Muslim culture to avoid causing offense. Those who study business in Kuwait can benefit from a diverse student body, internationally renowned professors and guest lecturers, and universities that are respected and accredited around the world. The nation is interested in diversification and entrepreneurship, and academic programs may reflect that interest.