Bahrain has been recently named as the number one destination for expats living the Middle East, according to recent surveys by HSBC and Expat Insider, which also rated Bahrain as one of the top ten locations in the world for expat residents.
More than half of the population in Bahrain are expat residents from different parts of the world mainly Asia, Europe, the United States and other parts of the Middle East. The below comments are a representative sample of a broad range of expat views on how they find Bahrain and why they choose to live here:
“Bahrain feels like home more than anywhere else”
“I have been living in Bahrain for almost two decades and it simply feels like home; not only because I’ve grown used to the country and its people but also because Bahrain has a unique character that you may not find anywhere else in the region;” said Adam, age 48, a British resident.
“Bahrainis are very welcoming and humble and this is what I believe makes Bahrain very attractive to us foreigners. You can see Bahrainis sitting in cafes with their expat friends, some who they’ve gone to school with and others who can be work colleagues. The people of Bahrain are very open to other cultures, I have gone to school here and I chose to come back after finishing my studies abroad, because Bahrain feels like home more than anywhere else to me,” said Suresh age 34, Indian resident.
“When I first came to Bahrain years ago, I was surprised to find that Bahrainis work as taxi drivers and the more surprising thing was that Bahraini taxi drivers, who are generally from the older generation, actually speak English. Bahrainis are a lot more down-to-earth and welcoming than other Khaleejis I’ve met. It was surprising to see that Bahrainis who are born in the 40’s of the last century are very well spoken and open to conversation in English which is not their mother tongue. Something that haven’t seen elsewhere during my time in the Middle East,” said Philip, age 45, American resident.
“It’s a liberal country that has created the suitable environment for people with different cultures and faiths. As a devoted Christian, I can go to Sacred Heart Church every . I can go to mass on Christmas Eve and I feel that my rights are respected and preserved by the people and government, so what else would one want to feel safe in a foreign. Bahrain has surely provided me with the best,” said Anita, age 39, Indian resident.
“Leaving this country has never been an option to me”
“Having lived for a while in other countries in the Middle East, I have always thought that Bahrain comes top in comparison to other places where I’ve lived and spent time. Simply because you can do whatever you wish to do as long as you abide by the laws of the country. The laws of the country are respectful to people from different cultures. As a woman I feel that my rights and privacy are respected and I can live and dress the way I want, without harsh or restrictive rules. In other Middle East and north African nations you come to take it for granted that as a Western woman you’re going to get a certain amount of hassle and unwanted attention, but I’ve never had this in Bahrain” said Julia, age 32, British resident.
“Bahrain is a very open society and this why leaving this country has never been an option to me. It offers the best, you can live a simple and happy life in this country. You can go out and enjoy your weekends, smoke Sheesha or have a drink with your friends without being judged by the society. Manama is like the Beirut that we can’t see anymopre in Lebanon,” said Marwan, age 40, Lebanese resident.
“Something which makes Bahrain special and unique for someone like me is the size of the country. Everything is simply close to you, life is easy and unfortunately many people don’t seem to realize that maybe because they haven’t experienced the tedium of working in large countries where it takes you hour or two to get to work. The maximum time you spend getting from one place to another in Bahrain is one hour during heavy traffic. This is nothing in comparison to other countries. There are also a couple of very good British curriculum schools for my kids. The one thing which worries me is that the subsidy cuts and all that stuff will make Bahrain a more expensive place to live in the future – until now with no taxes, cheap places to eat and paying almost nothing for petrol, this place is pretty close to paradise for many of us,” said David, age 36, British resident.
“Safe and welcomed wherever you go”
“It’s a very cozy country. Everything is provided with cheaper prices than other countries in the region. We don’t pay taxes and even with the recent level of inflation and subsidy cuts, the expenditure in Bahrain is much lower than neighbouring countries. My one criticism is that people can sometimes be a little arrogant or talk down to Asian residents, which I don’t like,” said John, age 37, Filipino resident
“Bahrain provides a very safe and secure environment for residents and citizens. You feel safe and welcomed wherever you go. There is no aggressiveness towards outsiders, even those who are conservative and not too exposed to the outside world tend to be very warm and welcoming. I was in Dubai before where life was very fast, expensive and stressful. Bahrain is so much more laid back,” said Silvia, age 45, French resident.
“It’s a country where people say “al salam” (peace) when they walk into a supermarket, a barber shop or to the guy who works at the gas station. Bahrain is a respectful nation and its people are very friendly, while not nosy being or invasive of your personal space. It is common to see a Bahraini pulling to the side of the road to help if your car breaks down. These kinds of things are what makes Bahrain such a pleasure to live in for many of us,” said Marc, age 47 American resident