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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Abu Dhabi, UAE

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

Abu Dhabi

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

Nothing official, but I have been living and/or traveling overseas for nearly 30 years.

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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

Arabic is widely spoken, as are a variety of expat language. English is the lingua franca. I do not speak Arabic, nor do I plan to learn more than I speak of it now.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No.

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How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

Not overly significant, as it is the same as my earlier experiences. Abu Dhabi is a great place to be an expat, as nearly everyone is from somewhere else. As a woman, we have an extraordinary amount of freedom here as compared to other Middle Eastern countries. We do not have to wear abayas and we can drive. I consider this liberating and it makes the culture shock much easier to deal with.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

Of course there are stages of adjustment, just as there are stages with any move, whether domestic or international. Once the adrenaline rush of the move is over and the everyday settles into place, there are always things from home that you would prefer. It's human nature.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Some depressive mood, fear (which is valid when you see some of the drivers here), dislocation, as well

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

The warmth and care they show their families, especially their children, is truly heartfelt. Americans could learn a lot by watching the time the Emiratis devote to family.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Time is just a variable here. An appointment really is not as specific as we expect, especially between friends.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

Asking a woman to meet me for a coffee, without realizing that she could not do that without a family member as escort. I don't know what I was thinking!

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Don't make these sites your only source of information about a culture. Read, go to university lectures, art exhibits, music concerts. Learn about the culture, not just others' opinions! Develop an appreciation and respect for where you're going, and be open to it. If you do this, you will find happiness wherever you go.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Dec 31, 2010 06:00

English is almost a first language in UAE, in Abu Dhabi all subjects at school are tought in English. you do not need to learn Arabic at all. everything is in English. you get three local news papers in English. you do not need to worry about that what so ever.

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Debugging Information
ColdFusion Server Enterprise 9,0,2,282541
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Time Stamp 02-Jul-20 03:21 PM
Locale English (US)
User Agent CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
Remote IP 172.69.62.46
Host Name 172.69.62.46


Execution Time

Total Time Avg Time Count Template
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55 ms 55 ms 1 /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm
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1 ms  STARTUP, PARSING, COMPILING, LOADING, & SHUTDOWN
144 ms  TOTAL EXECUTION TIME
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getarticlesection (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=336) in /home/www/html/breadcrumb_ctygd.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
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WHERE section = 6
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getphotos (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/rspnet.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT DISTINCT img, photocaption, summary, hpimg, twimg
FROM answers 
WHERE answers.answerid = 25630 
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SELECT *
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	Where networkid = 112 
getnatadtype (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
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FROM natadoptions 
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getguidesummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
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gethealthsummary (Datasource=expert, Time=4ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
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FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 80153
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
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getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=4ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
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getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
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getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '112'
gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=9ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
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and allreports.networkid = 112
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4242
and allreports.topicid = 11
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
getslugs (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
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FROM topics
WHERE topicid = 11 
getanswerstext (Datasource=tipripper, Time=5ms, Records=12) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 80180
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
and topicquestions.qid <> 62
AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
and answerstext.answer <> ''
AND topicquestions.qid = questions.qid
AND topicquestions.qid = answerstext.qid
AND 80180 = answerstext.answerid 
ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT summary
	FROM answers
	WHERE answers.answerid = '80180'
getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=3ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.answer, answerstext.answerid, answerstext.qid
	FROM answerstext
	WHERE answerstext.answerid = '80180'
	and qid = 391
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT hpimg as photo
	FROM answers
	WHERE answerid = 80180 
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '112'
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 95
            
         and allreports.answerid <> 25630         
         and networkid = 112
          and citynetworkid = 4242
         and city <> ''
         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 45404 
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 24825 
gettaxgeneral (Datasource=expert, Time=4ms, Records=3) in /home/www/html/rspnet_ctygd_readnext.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement
	Where hitopic <> ''
	and articlePlacement.networkID = 112 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
	and hidescript <> ''
    and type = '3'
    and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes'
   	and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes: Answers'
    and general <> 'bb'
    and hpimg <> 'none'
    and keycity = '0'
   and cityintro = 'n'
    and summary <> ''
    and publishdate < "2020-07-02"
    and publishdate > "2014-01-01"

    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
    
gettopbanner (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	Select *
	From banners, bannerPlacement
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND position = "eebannercountry"
    and toDate > "2020-07-01"
    and fromDate < "2020-07-02"
    and bannerPlacement.networkid = 112
    and bannerPlacement.bannerid = banners.bannerid
    and banners.promised = ''
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=2ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 850 
gethpbox (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	Select *
	From banners, bannerPlacement
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND position = "eehpboxcountry"
    and toDate > {ts '2020-07-01 15:21:28'}
    and fromDate <{ts '2020-07-02 15:21:28'}
    and weight > 7
    and bannerPlacement.networkid = 112
    and bannerPlacement.bannerid = banners.bannerid
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
gethpbox (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	Select *
	From banners
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND position = "eehpbox"
	and weight > 7
    and toDate > {ts '2020-07-01 15:21:28'}
    and fromDate <{ts '2020-07-02 15:21:28'}
     and banners.type <> 'swf'
       
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 866 
GetMessages (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
  SELECT *
  FROM comments m 
  WHERE m.tpcid = 25630 
  and m.commenttype = 2
  and m.isapproved = 1
  ORDER BY msgid ASC
GetUser (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
  SELECT *
  FROM users
  WHERE userid = 2 
getguidesummary (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	Select summary, hiimg 
	From articles, articlecityplace
	Where  articlecityplace.citynetworkid = 4242
	and articlecityplace.articleid = articles.articleID
    and articles.cityintro = 'y'
 
gethealthsummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	Select summary, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement, articleCategories
	Where articlePlacement.networkID = 112 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
   	and articleCategories.articleID = articles.articleID
   	and articleCategories.section = 9
   	and articles.sectionintro = 'y'
    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=9ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
and Networks.networkid = 112
and allreports.networkid = 112
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4242
and allreports.topicid = 7
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
getslugs (Datasource=tipripper, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT topics.slug, topics.slugcity, topics.slugstate,topics.slugcitynostate, topics.slugcountry, topics.slugentry, topics.topicqid, topics.topicqidanswer, topics.promolinktext, topics.articletitle
FROM topics
WHERE topicid = 7 
getanswerstext (Datasource=tipripper, Time=4ms, Records=5) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 80153
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
and topicquestions.qid <> 62
AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
and answerstext.answer <> ''
AND topicquestions.qid = questions.qid
AND topicquestions.qid = answerstext.qid
AND 80153 = answerstext.answerid 
ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT summary
	FROM answers
	WHERE answers.answerid = '80153'
getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=4ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.answer, answerstext.answerid, answerstext.qid
	FROM answerstext
	WHERE answerstext.answerid = '80153'
	and qid = 391
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT hiimg as photo
	FROM answers
	WHERE answerid = 80153 
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '112'
gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=9ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
and Networks.networkid = 112
and allreports.networkid = 112
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4242
and allreports.topicid = 11
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
getslugs (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT topics.slug, topics.slugcity, topics.slugstate,topics.slugcitynostate, topics.slugcountry, topics.slugentry, topics.topicqid, topics.topicqidanswer, topics.promolinktext, topics.articletitle
FROM topics
WHERE topicid = 11 
getanswerstext (Datasource=tipripper, Time=4ms, Records=12) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 80180
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
and topicquestions.qid <> 62
AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
and answerstext.answer <> ''
AND topicquestions.qid = questions.qid
AND topicquestions.qid = answerstext.qid
AND 80180 = answerstext.answerid 
ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT summary
	FROM answers
	WHERE answers.answerid = '80180'
getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=3ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.answer, answerstext.answerid, answerstext.qid
	FROM answerstext
	WHERE answerstext.answerid = '80180'
	and qid = 391
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
	SELECT DISTINCT hiimg as photo
	FROM answers
	WHERE answerid = 80180 
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '112'
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=2, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 95
            
         and allreports.answerid <> 25630         
         and networkid = 112
          and citynetworkid = 4242
         and city <> ''
         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 45404 
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 15:21:28.028
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 24825 


Scope Variables

CGI Variables:
AUTH_PASSWORD=
AUTH_TYPE=
AUTH_USER=
CERT_COOKIE=
CERT_FLAGS=
CERT_ISSUER=
CERT_KEYSIZE=
CERT_SECRETKEYSIZE=
CERT_SERIALNUMBER=
CERT_SERVER_ISSUER=
CERT_SERVER_SUBJECT=
CERT_SUBJECT=
CF_TEMPLATE_PATH=/home/www/html/rspnet.cfm
CONTENT_LENGTH=
CONTENT_TYPE=
CONTEXT_PATH=
GATEWAY_INTERFACE=CGI/1.1
HTTPS=on
HTTPS_KEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SECRETKEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SERVER_ISSUER=
HTTPS_SERVER_SUBJECT=
HTTP_ACCEPT=text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING=gzip
HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE=en-US,en;q=0.5
HTTP_CONNECTION=Keep-Alive
HTTP_COOKIE=
HTTP_HOST=www.expatexchange.com
HTTP_REFERER=
HTTP_USER_AGENT=CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
PATH_INFO=
PATH_TRANSLATED=/home/www/html/rspnet.cfm
QUERY_STRING=rid=95&answerid=25630&networkid=112&start=25630
REMOTE_ADDR=172.69.62.46
REMOTE_HOST=172.69.62.46
REMOTE_USER=
REQUEST_METHOD=GET
SCRIPT_NAME=/rspnet.cfm
SERVER_NAME=www.expatexchange.com
SERVER_PORT=443
SERVER_PORT_SECURE=1
SERVER_PROTOCOL=HTTP/1.1
SERVER_SOFTWARE=Apache
WEB_SERVER_API=
Session Variables:
cfid=30740857
cftoken=90141126
sessionid=IBEXPATEXCHANGE.COM_30740857_90141126
urltoken=CFID=30740857&CFTOKEN=90141126
URL Parameters:
answerid=25630
networkid=112
rid=95
start=25630
Debug Rendering Time: 56 ms