Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Bahrain

As part of its strategic vision to establish a centre for international education and training, the Bahraini Government, through his Royal Highness Prime Minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, invited the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to establish a centre for medical and para-medical education and training in Bahrain.

RCSI Bahrain opened its doors in 2004 in a temporary facility in the Seef District, with the first cohort of medical students joining in October of that year. As a constituent university of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, RCSI Bahrain delivers undergraduate courses in Medicine and Nursing and a Masters in Nursing programme, as well as the Institute of Leadership (IOL), to the highest international standards, with qualifications recognised around the world worldwide.

Construction of a purpose-built, state-of-the-art campus commenced in 2005 on a site provided by the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and staff and the official opening was carried out by then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese and His Royal Highness Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa.

RCSI Bahrain graduated its first cohort of students in June 2010, with degrees recognised by the National University of Ireland, and since then, more than 1,300 graduates have successfully passed through its doors. The university continues to build on its strong relationships with local hospitals and government entities, including the adjacent King Hamad University Hospital.

Living in Bahrain

Bahrain is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. It is an archipelago of 33 islands between the Qatar peninsula and the north eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. It is approximately 23 kilometres east of Saudi Arabia, connected by the King Fahd Causeway. Manama, home to RCSI's campus in Bahrain, is the country's largest and capital city. The currency is the Bahraini Dinar; 1 BD = 2.55 EUR (, December 2016). Bahrain attracts a large number of foreigners and foreign influences, with just under a third of the population hailing from abroad.

  Bahrain location

Facts and figures

  • Population: Circa 1.4 million
  • Temperature (summer): 35-48C
  • Temperature (winter): 10-20C
  • Timezone: GMT +3







The official language of Bahrain is Arabic. However, Bahrain is bilingual and English is very widely spoken and used for business communication.

Transport and getting around

Cars drive on the right hand side of the road i.e. left hand drive. The roads in Bahrain are good with minimal traffic. All traffic signs are printed in both Arabic and English. It is highly recommended that you rent or buy a car if relocating to Bahrain. A large variety of high-quality models of cars are available in Bahrain at prices which are relatively low comparable to most European countries.

Food and dining

Bahrain has a large variety of restaurants and food available. It ranges from Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Arabic traditional food to European dishes, and prices are quite reasonable. A number of restaurants have a buffet lunch and a-la-carte for dinner. Many of the larger restaurants have a liquor licence, while the majority of smaller ones are not permitted to sell alcoholic beverages.

Religion and culture

Islam is the official religion of Bahrain. Whilst Bahrain is a Muslim country, it is tolerant of other faiths. Despite this, respect should be shown towards Muslim practices, particularly during Ramadan. Non-Muslims do not need to wear Bahraini national dress but should dress respectfully.


Ramadan is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is believed to be the month in which the Qur’an began to be revealed. During Ramadan, Muslims from all continents unite in a period of spiritual reflection, community, family bonds and fasting during daylight hours.
When Muslims are fasting during Ramadan, non-Muslims are expected to refrain from eating, chewing gum, drinking and smoking in public places where they may be visible to any Muslim. Anyone may eat after the moon has risen and before it sets again.


Bahrain has excellent healthcare facilities. There is no shortage of hospitals (both public and private) and doctors, and unless you need highly specialised treatment, there is no requirement to return to your home country in case of illness. Doctors are highly qualified and the majority of them speak English – in fact many of them are expats themselves.


Generally speaking, you will find many of the same department stores available in Europe and the USA. In the markets, Souq Area and in some stores you can bargain for the 'best price'. All types of clothing can be bought in Bahrain, including good quality shoes, dresses, and shirts. Tailors are fairly inexpensive. There are five large shopping malls that have an excellent selection of high street stores with the City Centre Mall the largest in the country.

Sports and family clubs

There are a great number of sports and social clubs in Bahrain where excellent facilities are available for a wide range of activities such as tennis, squash, football, swimming, sailing, diving, riding, golf etc. For additional information on clubs available, please visit the following links:


Entertainment and social

In addition to cinemas showing current release Western and Asian films there is also a Bahraini National Theatre. There are numerous bars, night clubs and discotheques. There are occasional exhibitions of local painters' work. Several times during the year the British Council, Alliance Française and some of the larger hotels arrange cultural evenings when international entertainers perform in plays, classical music performances, opera and even ballet.


Useful links

Relocating to Bahrain

As is the case when relocating to any new location, there is a lot to consider when relocating to Bahrain – where to live, schools, cost of living, visas, etc. The RCSI International Talent team are available to assist with providing detailed information on all aspects of relocating, from the logistics of flying out, transporting personal effects and other support services available. A brief overview on some topics can be found below.


Bahrain has accommodation options to suit any taste or budget, be it a modern apartment, a villa outside of the city centre, or a home in a secure expat compound. The first factor to consider is the preferred location of a property. Expats will need to decide whether they want to be in the city centre of Manama or further out in the suburbs. The process of renting a property in Bahrain is straightforward and rental contracts are available from one month to a year.


Education in Bahrain is of a high standard, and to meet the needs of a growing expat population in Bahrain, the country has seen growth in the number of international schools. There are a number of schools for expats to choose from, however classes fill up quickly so registration should be completed as early as possible. Generally speaking, smaller class sizes are the norm in Bahrain and most have modern facilities and healthy extra-curricular programmes.  

Cost of living

Due to inflation and a growing expat population, the cost of living in Bahrain is on the increase. However, the cost of living in Bahrain is still reasonable in comparison to many of its neighboring destinations. As with relocating to any destination, the cost of living in Bahrain can vary depending on the lifestyle one chooses to lead. Accommodation is typically the largest expat expense. Food costs in Bahrain are generally reasonable, with fresh and local products extremely affordable.
Litre of milk  BHD 0.51  €1.70 
Dozen eggs BHD 0.77 €1.91
Loaf of bread BHD 0.38 €0.94
Three course meal (mid-range restaurant) BHD 15.00 €37.35
Cappuccino BHD 1.70 €4.23 
Petrol/gas (per litre) BHD 0.13 €0.32


Useful links


Working in Bahrain

As an RCSI international employee, there are many support services available when relocating to Bahrain. The international talent team and dedicated HR support will work collaboratively to ensure all necessary visas, work authorisation paperwork is arranged. As a result of Bahrain's economic growth, many multinational companies have established their regional headquarters in Manama, its capital and commercial centre. Bahrain is regarded as a wealth hotspot among expat professionals and most people report experiencing a higher standard of living with a larger disposable income than they had in the their home country.

Work environment

Expats make up a very high percentage of Bahrain’s population, however they are encouraged to familiarise themselves with local Bahraini customs. Business days are generally Sunday to Thursday and although Arabic is the official language, English is commonly spoken in business. The business dress code is formal and modest, and both men and woman should dress conservatively.

Work authorisations and visas

The RCSI HR support in Bahrain ensures all necessary arrangements of work authorisations and visas for all RCSI international employees, as the entry of foreigners into Bahrain is tightly controlled. RCSI aim to have all appropriate documentation in place in advance of arrival to Bahrain.

Central Population Register (CPR)

Once an expat arrives in Bahrain with a work permit, they will need to apply for a Central Population Registry (CPR) card. This card is required for setting up a bank account, completing official transactions, buying a car, setting up utilities etc. The dedicated HR support in Bahrain will also provide assistance in making these arrangements.


The tax structure represents a significant benefit of working in Bahrain. There are essentially no deductions from monthly salaries for expats given the absence of personal income tax, capital gains and withholding tax. As expats do not qualify for most of the government's social security schemes, these are also a considerable financial benefit. Expats working in Bahrain find the salaries with no personal taxes an extremely attractive incentive. There is a 1% social insurance deduction, capped at BD40 per month, which applies to Expats.


In order to open a bank account in Bahrain, you must already have the relevant visa and CPR card in place – this will be arranged with the RCSI International Talent team and the dedicated HR support in advance of relocation. An element of paperwork will be required, with which assistance will also be provided. There are several international banks in operation in the region. Banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank and HSBC have some branches in the country and using one of these may make it easier if you wish to transfer money back to an account in your country of origin. Some banks offer the facility to open an account in another currency such as GBP or USD.


Useful links

RCSI Medical University Bahrain

Visit the RCSI Bahrain website