You’ve accepted a position with the American School of Kuwait. Let’s talk about your new apartment. You can find out about the neighborhood and the precise location of your apartment by viewing our previous posts:
Here are some photos of the inside of a family apartment at the Dina Dana Tower.
Some notes on the differences between a family apartment (like this one) and a singles apartment:
- Family apartments are essentially two singles apartments put together.
- There are two family apartments per floor, they do not share walls.
- There are four singles apartments per floor which do share one wall.
- In family apartments the kitchen is at one end. In singles apartments the kitchen is open and in the middle of the apartment – the room where the kitchen would be for a family apartment is converted into the second bedroom instead.
The first thing many people notice is how big the apartments are. With lots of tile, there is a bit of an echo in such a large space. The second thing you will notice is that there is no shower curtain, nor is there even a shower curtain rod. This is peculiar. In our time at ASK, we believe that every teacher has installed a shower curtain rod in each bathroom, with few exceptions. Yet – somehow – each year new teachers come in and find that there are no shower curtain rods.
Where do they go?
Are teachers leaving and deliberately unscrewing the shower curtain rods from their walls to spite the new teachers that will take their apartment?
It seems that these are being removed by maintenance staff over the summer. No one knows why. But plan for your first few showers to be sans curtain and for water to go everywhere. You will need to go to a store and buy an L-shaped curtain rod and find a drill in order to screw it in. If you can find a drill to borrow and are a bit handy, then you’re good. If not – then the friendly maintenance staff at the towers will be happy to install the shower curtain rod for you – for a fee. Perhaps removing the shower curtain rods ensures a steady stream of income when teachers arrive each August…
Other things of interest
The linens on your bed will not be pleasant. Pack some nice sheets in your carry on so you can go to sleep on nice bedding the first night. Trust us – it makes a difference.
The air conditioning works quite well usually. This was not always the case. If we were writing this post 2-3 years ago, we would probably have quite a lot to say about very hot apartments with repeatedly malfunctioning air conditioning units. Fortunately, the school did replace every air conditioning unit and they tend to function quite well.
Your windows are gigantic, and your curtains are gold. You can replace the curtains if you don’t like the color. The huge windows let in more than light – they let in heat. You may wish to purchase more opaque curtains in order to help keep the apartment cooler.
In addition to heat and light, your windows let in dusty air. Get down on the floor by the bottom edge of you windows. Chances are good you can see outside through the gap between the window and the wall – many of them were not sealed properly. Ask to have this sealed – sealing your apartment properly makes a huge difference in both air quality (which we know is not good) and temperature control.
There is a swimming pool. Remember – no glass around the swimming pool. The parents will complain when their kid steps on a piece of broken glass in the pool. Enjoy that pool, its nice to have. There will be a few times each year where the pump breaks and the water gets dirty – it usually takes a while to repair – so enjoy it every day that it is available.
There is a gym. The equipment is outdate, and much of it is broken. Teachers have asked ownership for new equipment, but have been declined. Teachers have attempted to pool funds to pay for repairs, but there has not been much success here. We at ASKR know that administrators like to advertise the pool and gym facilities at ASK when recruiting – it would be nice if they maintained the facilities that they promise. Many new hires come, excited to have such amenities, only to buy expensive memberships at gyms or at The Hilton because they find the amenities they expected were not up-to-snuff.
There is a lounge. It has table tennis, air hockey, foosball, and dartboards. It’s nice. A lot of teachers spent a lot of money to put those things there for you – they were not school provided. Take care of them.
Fire safety: Check your apartment’s stairwell for fire extinguishers. Inspect the tag to make sure they have been either inspected or replaced recently. Or even to make sure that the extinguisher is still sealed – you may find a used and empty extinguisher. Put in a maintenance request to have it filled and replaced. You’ll want these, because the buildings sprinkler system doesn’t actually work. The fire alarm goes off for false alarms (in the middle of the night) and does not go off for actual fires.
In conclusion, there are some nice things about the apartments. The lounge is great for socializing, and you will have a gigantic amount of living space. You may even have a nice view, depending on which floor you live on. But you should expect to have problems – appliances break, and their repairs or replacements do not always last. You may find that you are submitting maintenance requests quite frequently, or that the amenities you expected to have after your recruitment are not exactly the way that they were described. We hope that all ASK teachers and future teachers will continue to push administration for excellence in this area. We believe the school has an obligation, as your landlord, to follow through on the promises that you were given during your recruitment and that all teachers and their families deserve to live in a well-maintained home that is safe.