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An Expat Talks about Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE

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

Abu Dhabi

How long have you lived there?

12 years

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

AWN American Womens Network (primarily Americans, but all are welcome...can tend to be a bit highbrow), WIAD Women in Abu Dhabi (A very international flair, this ladies group does some serious traveling!)

William RussellWilliam Russell
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William RussellWilliam Russell

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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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.

This is the most diverse city on the planet, along with Dubai. Everyone, and I mean virtually EVERYONE is from somewhere else. Religions and cultures all intermingle peacefully and it's not a big deal to have a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim in a group of friends. They all get along just fine. Differences are what make this country the experience it is. Perhaps that's why as many as 60% of American expats who repatriate back to their home country encounter difficulty reassimilating and most find themselves coming back to the UAE for more of that openness.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

I.T., engineering, education, nursing, and the big cheese: petroleum company execs. If you aren't in one of these occupations, you can pretty much stay at home. There are a few sideline occupations that do well here like media and advertising, but by and large, it's limited in those fields.

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

Though Abu Dhabi is more traditional compared to its glitzy sister Dubai, and family values/activities are stressed, nightspots are available for singles as well. It's an easier gig for families, as so much of life for an American expat here revolves around the ACS American Community School. They have a veritable cornucopia of activities and events planned for both students and their parents.

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

Come with an open mind in regards to religion. Leave your cultural and racial baggage back home (figuratively speaking, of course). Show respect for the moderation of dress, even though you might see sooo many who rudely flaunt scandalous and scanty dressing. Be ready to deal with some heavy population and traffic situations that only get worse with time. Talk with an expat living here before you make any decisions about employment, housing, etc. They can give you tips to avoid getting gouged or led in the wrong direction.

William Russell
William Russell

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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William RussellWilliam Russell

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
Get Quote

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