Moving to Bahrain
Often referred to as "Middle East lite", Bahrain can be considered a starter course set out to introduce foreigners to the characteristics so commonplace in many Persian Gulf nations. The country is considerably more liberal than neighbours Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but is still rooted in an Arab belief system.
There is a sizeable expat community of more than 500,000 individuals, but not enough of a population to overshadow the local Bahrainis.Thus, expats relocating to this Gulf state will still have to contend with elements of culture shock and make some adjustments to their lifestyle.
Most expats moving to Bahrain do so for improved career opportunities. The earning potential for expats is high in Bahrain and expats report enjoying a higher standard to living than they had experienced in their home country.
As the financial centre of the Middle East, highly-skilled foreigners will find plenty of positions available in the banking and construction sectors. Furthermore, as Bahrain had made intense efforts to diversify its economy beyond the petroleum industry, jobs in many multinational firms exist as well.
Moving to Bahrain also means bigger houses for many. Properties of all shapes and sizes designed to suit all budgets and tastes eagerly await new tenants. Expats can choose between towering high-rises, stand-alone villas or even homes enclaved in a secure compound.
While expats with children won't be able to enrol their little ones in any of Bahrain's public schools, plenty of excellent private and international options exist; though spots disappear quickly so be sure to make registration a priority upon relocation.
The largest challenge for most new arrivals seems to be adjusting to the intense Middle Eastern heat, Bahrain temperatures can reach 45°C and the humidity more than 95 percent. However, as the "Kingdom of Two Seas" there's plenty of shallows, and air conditioning and pool facilities abound.
As far as Middle Eastern destinations are concerned, Bahrain is increasingly becoming an expat favourite, and a fantastic alternative location for those based in neighbouring countries looking to situate their families in a more liberal environment.