GeoBlue International Health Insurance

Living in UAE > Abu Dhabi >

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Abu Dhabi, UAE


Abu Dhabi, UAE

One expat who moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE explains that moving to a Middle Eastern country is so different to other European countries. And, he feels that the greatest challenge is understanding how and why things happen in the workplace.

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?

No formal training. However I was living in Spain for 3 years, which in the south has many similarities in culture because of the Moorish influence so although not prepared, I could understand what was going on

Expats in UAE may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, whose plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Get a Quote

Expats in UAE may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, a leader in international insurance for expatriates. Allianz's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Their flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget..

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?

No. My employer said I did't need to learn Arabic as translators are provided (some of the time). I went on an Arabic course run by the Brisih Council, however it was social Arabic. Whilst I can understand some conversations, my Arabic is not a great deal of use.

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

No

Moving to UAE?

Get FREE quotes from up to 6 international movers from The Relocator. Save up to 50% on your move to UAE! The Relocator offers an easy and free service to receive quotes from renowned and certified movers worldwide. They only work with qualified moving companies. Over 500 movers worldwide have already joined their service to help you get the best price and service for your international move. Get your moving quotes.

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

The culture shock is in the way work progress is achieved in the public services. Culturally there is little difference to Spain, however the short working days, the reluctance to make any decisions at all, the minor functionaries who prevent progress, are all still surprising to me.

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?

I think I probably did, although at the time I didn't recognise them as such.

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.

Certainly frustration, but none of the others.

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

The friendliness of the Emirati people. I have been made more welcome in the UAE that in several parts of the UK I have visited.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Moving to a middle eastern country is so different to other European countries, the greatest challenge is understanding how and why things happen in the workplace. One expects differences in food and the day to day shopping, bargaining etc. Working in Government I was and still am to a degree, challenged by the completely different way of internal working when compared to the UK. The language is a barrier, but it is also the unwritten codes of the tribes and families, the office politics etc which pervade every thing, every day.

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

I was visiting an office with a young Emirati colleague and was offered the customery Arabic coffee and dates. I had the coffee cup in my right hand, and took a date with my left hand. My young colleague was scolded by the more senior people, in Arabic, that he had not told me how to accept food - which he had indeed not. The correct way would have been to transfer the coffee cup to the left hand and then accept food with the right. The left hand is of course unclean, but early on, I just never thought and used both.

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

If you are moving to the Arabian peninsula, look for "27 Articles" by T E Lawrence (whose world are banned in the UAE). Although written for the British Army in 1917, if you strip away the military stuff and look beyond into the culture, the advice he gives for working closely alongside Arabian peninsula people is as valid (for me) in 2013 as when it was written in 1917. It helped me to understand some of the cultural issues.

Allianz Care Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote


 
Guide to Living in Abu DhabiGuide to Living in Abu Dhabi

Expats in Abu Dhabi enjoy a unique lifestyle in the Middle East, but the requirements for moving there are very specific. Find out what these are and what it is like to live in this truly diverse city.

UAE Forum UAE Forum
Join our UAE forum to meet other people living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Healthcare in UAEHealthcare in UAE

Expats and people moving to the UAE have lots of questions. Healthcare and health insurance are often on the list. Here are 7 tips about healthcare, health insurance in the UAE, having a baby in the UAE and more.

Abu Dhabi, UAEMoving to Abu Dhabi, UAE

Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Abu Dhabi: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

Abu Dhabi, UAEPros and Cons of Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Abu Dhabi, UAEExpats Talk about Living in Abu Dhabi

Expats talk about what it's like living in Abu Dhabi, UAE: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What Newcomers to Abu Dhabi Should Know

Expat Healthcare & Health InsuranceExpat Report: Healthcare in Abu Dhabi

An expat in Abu Dhabi talks about the quality of healthcare, recommends American hospitals for their standard of care, explains that many people skip the doctor and get prescription medicine from the pharmacy.

12 Tips for Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE12 Tips for Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE

An expat talks about what it's like living in Abu Dhabi - stifling summers, lots of shopping malls and very little crime.

Expat Report: Culture Shock in Abu Dhabi

One expat who moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE explains that moving to a Middle Eastern country is so different to other European countries. And, he feels that the greatest challenge is understanding how and why things happen in the workplace.

7-Important-Tips-about-Healthcare-for-Expats-in-the-UAE7 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats in the UAE

Expats and people moving to the UAE have lots of questions. Healthcare and health insurance are often on the list. Here are 7 tips about healthcare, health insurance in the UAE, having a baby in the UAE and more.

Allianz Care Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Guide to Living in Abu DhabiGuide to Living in Abu Dhabi

Expats in Abu Dhabi enjoy a unique lifestyle in the Middle East, but the requirements for moving there are very specific. Find out what these are and what it is like to live in this truly diverse city.

UAE Forum UAE Forum
Join our UAE forum to meet other people living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Healthcare in UAEHealthcare in UAE

Expats and people moving to the UAE have lots of questions. Healthcare and health insurance are often on the list. Here are 7 tips about healthcare, health insurance in the UAE, having a baby in the UAE and more.

Abu Dhabi, UAEMoving to Abu Dhabi, UAE

Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Abu Dhabi: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

Abu Dhabi, UAEPros and Cons of Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Abu Dhabi, UAEExpats Talk about Living in Abu Dhabi

Expats talk about what it's like living in Abu Dhabi, UAE: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What Newcomers to Abu Dhabi Should Know

Expat Healthcare & Health InsuranceExpat Report: Healthcare in Abu Dhabi

An expat in Abu Dhabi talks about the quality of healthcare, recommends American hospitals for their standard of care, explains that many people skip the doctor and get prescription medicine from the pharmacy.

12 Tips for Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE12 Tips for Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE

An expat talks about living in Abu Dhabi - from socializing in the golf scene to the shopping mall culture. Factors to consider: the heat and high cost of living.

Expat Report: Culture Shock in Abu Dhabi

One expat who moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE explains that moving to a Middle Eastern country is so different to other European countries. And, he feels that the greatest challenge is understanding how and why things happen in the workplace.

Copyright 1997-2021 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal