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An Expat Talks about Living in Al Ain, UAE

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Al Ain

How long have you lived there?

3 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

1) Al Ain Toastmasters Club 584495 to meet other professionals (while developing other useful skills). Check out www.toastmasters.org to find the club.

2) For those who like to sing, join the Al Ain Choral Society.

3) Join in at social activities at lounges/pubs in the local international hotels, such as trivia contests, karaoke, etc.

4) Go to the cafes (Starbucks, Coffee/Bean/Tea Leaf, etc.) in the local malls on weekend afternoons (11 a.m. - 5 p.m.). You'll be certain to see people you know or make new friends. (Evenings it gets too crowded.)

5) Join one of the clubs are the local international hotels where other westerners go to swim, exercise, dine, tennis, etc.

6) For sports enthusiasts, especially men, you can find rugby and other intramural sports.

7) Join the Emirates Natural History Group (www.enhg.org), an interesting way to not only meet people but have an opportunity to explore the natural histories of the UAE and Oman.

8) Your workplace may organize social activities including trips to the other Emirates for shopping, sightseeing, etc. You may also be able to join activities at some of the other organizations/companies in the area.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

There is definitely a lot of diversity. The universities, private schools (K-12), and hospitals are one reason for a lot of diversity and a lot of Westerners in Al Ain. A lot of Arabic and East-Asian nationalities are employed in Al Ain. However, there is an over abundance of men, living far from their families, often milling around down town Al Ain on their day off from work. The country as a whole is tolerant of the diversity and Western Ways (to a limit). Women should be sensitive to the imbalance of the genders, and all should be respectful of the local culture and customs.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Life definitely revolves around work.

Otherwise, it depends on if you are single, have children with you (and their age), etc.

Singles often like to go to Dubai on the weekends for fun, sun, dance, shopping, friendships, etc.

Families usually stay in the Al Ain area. With the clubs to join at the hotels, and other activities that many of them discover, there is sufficient activities for people not to get bored. There is a lot of socializing, too. Schools have a lot of after school activities, sports, dance classes, etc., and often have recitals and presentations.

Married couples, and singles who do not enjoy the party/night life, join clubs and organizations in Al Ain, socialize among themselves, etc. We spend a lot of time at the mall, sitting and talking, too.

Many people like to camp in the various Emirates as well. There are churchas and religious gatherings. Some of us organized Bible Studies, and were active in our churches. Some did volunteer work organizations such as Feline for Friends.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Since you will probably be far from family, be sure to connect with people in Al Ain who come from your country. You need to have friendships and contacts with those who have something in common, your holidays, traditions, religion, etc. These people become your 'family.' They will help you adapt to your new homeland. Someone told me this before I moved there. he was right. I didn't realize how right he was until my 2nd year there when I met and befriended some people, who were like me in many ways (fun, easy-going, like to dance, willing to be patient with our new home country and embrace it), and found more satisfaction than I did my first year with those I befriended in my first month in UAE. It did a lot for my morale to find 'the right friends.' But, don't be too picky about friends.

Do not expect your job and life to be wonderful all by itself. You may have to be tolerant of things taking a long time to get addressed/answered. Patience will go a long way in UAE. It's better for the blood pressure if you learn to be patient, to the utmost.

Find activities to become involved in so as not to always be 'stuck' inside.

Enjoy everything around you, camel rides, the Al Ain air show, beauty of the desert, the mountain Jabel Hafeet, the date palm trees, etc.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Sep 28, 2010 07:37

Very awesome! Fantastic list you put together here, and I like the others you have on your site. Keep up the good work, I learned a lot.http://www.bayut.com

guest
Jan 22, 2011 20:53

Thanks,

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