[undergraduate] bioengineering curriculum [at UW] has prepared me well enough that I can keep up and be an active participant in these courses even though I am always the only person in the room without an MD.”
If it sounds like Hani is staying busy, he is. It’s not uncommon for expatriates like Hani who work in the private sector to work a 55-hour, 6 day work week. Even though his work hours are long, he explains that Kuwaiti culture often prioritizes family and social ties over work itself, which promotes a relaxed work atmosphere. “People generally seem more laid back than in America where work is almost always first priority.” He adds that in Kuwait, it’s not uncommon for people to take multiple hours for lunch break before going back to work.
When he’s not at work, Hani enjoys going to various social events at different embassies. In Kuwait, embassies are major sources of entertainment and play a large role in expatriates’ social lives. Embassies there host many events such as concerts, happy hours and parties. He also goes to markets to mingle with the locals. “There are surprisingly a lot of hipsters here, although they don’t resemble Seattle’s hipsters much,” he says.
He’s also taking time to enjoy the milder weather – while it lasts. “You are never more than 10 minutes from the beach and the weather is 75 degrees and sunny for half the year – the other half of the year, it’s closer to 125 degrees,” he explains. However, he admits that there isn’t much to do in Kuwait, “other than go to malls and cafes”, due to the fact that alcohol, bars and clubs are illegal.
Hani has taken advantage of the affordability and accessibility of traveling to other countries from Kuwait. “It is so much cheaper to travel the world from here than from the US,” he says. Over the holidays, he paid just $250 to fly to India and Turkey. He adds, “I could hop on a plane anytime to major destinations like Moscow, Johannesburg, or Singapore for $400 round trip.”