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How did globalization change Bahrain over the past 20 years? Introduction In simple terms, globalization can be defined as elimination of human boundaries and the opening up of countries into a one world system. Bahrain, like any other country in the Gulf region, has experienced a tremendous impact of globalization in diverse ways. Bahrain has experienced a major influx of immigrants. By 2008, the Island had an expatriate population of nearly half of its population. In 2009, foreign workers accounted for 75% of Bahrains work force. This influx has impacted on Bahrains culture and social life in diverse ways. In this paper, impact to clothing, language, education, and cultural habits is analysed. Clothing Bahrain has a long history of Islamic way of dressing. However, this trend has been greatly altered in the past 20 years. The immigrants who do not subscribe to Islamic way of life have introduced new ways of dressing. New cloth lines have emerged to meet foreigners demand. Therefore most of the dressing among immigrant workers leans towards western lifestyle. Food Due to the influx of significant number of immigrants, Bahrain has witnessed a shift in its food traditions. Western eating lifestyle has influenced the emergence of upscale restaurants mainly selling foreign foods. Shopping malls selling foreign foods have also been introduced. This is to tap into the growing expatriate population who have a preference to western foods. It therefore has effectively introduced a habit that will in long run impact on the whole of Bahrain. Language Globalization has had a significant impact on language in Bahrain. English has developed into a primary means of communication. This is essentially because employers look for English or

HOW DID GLOBALIZATION CHANGE BAHRAIN OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS? English and Arabic speaking employees. It demands that Bahrainis learn English in order to

gainfully be employed. Additionally, English is the predominant foreign language in the education system. Most schools and universities offer teaching lessons in English. English is therefore a language that dominates everyday life throughout the country. Education Like other dimensions, education in Bahrain has significantly been influenced by globalization. Foreign private schools have been established and they offer an international based curriculum. Higher education is also influenced by the presence of foreign universities. This are the most favourite choice among the young Bahrainis. Cultural Habits Bahrain is predominantly an Islamic country. The influxes of non-Muslim immigrants who are not ready to be assimilated to Islamic cultural habits have introduced a new culture. For instance, the upscale of nightclubs to meet the immigrant consumers has altered the Islam cultural way of life in a significant way. It is presently a hotly contested issue in the Bahrain parliament. Conclusion Globalization has had a significant impact on Bahrain. It is evident that this impact is going to alter the overall way of living to even greater dimensions as the world becomes more and more integrated. The question therefore is, how can Bahrain embrace the inevitable changes? It is a question that policy makers and legislators must find answers to.


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