12 Tips for Living in Dubai, UAE
An expat talks about what it's like living in Dubai - the extreme heat, air conditioning everywhere, low crime rate, many expat clubs and organizations, great nightlife, high cost of living in Dubai and much more.
Expat Life in Dubai
Work. There are a ton of job opportunities and most companies provide really favorable employment packages.
Cost of Living in Dubai, UAE
The cost of living is fairly high. Schools are expensive, as is housing. A housing allowance is often included in an employment package though, and depending on your level of employment and the company you work for school can be included too.
As far as groceries go, it depends on where you shop. There a lot of shops that cater to expats and hold imported products from the UK and the USA. There are certainly a lot of options. Expats make up the majority of the work force and so they are catered to very well.
Local Clubs and Organizations
There are loads of expat groups and clubs. A lot of the groups are on social media. There are golf clubs and sports clubs, British club in Abu Dhabi... Non profits include the red crescent. Some clubs require a monthly or annual fee. Groups on social media are free and are used mostly for the buying and selling of used items.
International Schools in Dubai
There are many international schools throughout the UAE. They are private, english speaking schools that run from pre k - grade 12. English and Arabic are mandatory, french is often offered as well. GEMS academies are everywhere, british, American and Canadian schools are most common. Schools buses are provided and there are a lot of schools, so every district has a few schools to choose from. The standard is very high and teachers and students are international, which creates an amazing experience for students and gives them great exposure to different cultures.
Shopping in Dubai
There are big grocery stores, like Carrefour, Geant, Spinnies, Waitrose and Marks n Spencers. As the majority of the population is made up of expats, they are catered to very well and a lot of products are imported. There is very little that you can't get. Park n Shop is a store that imports exclusively from the USA and from the UK. Malls are amazing and have a lot of international stores.
Public transport is improving constantly and is reliable. There is a metro that runs through Dubai, a tram runs through parts of it and connects to the metro, public buses are pretty reliable and taxis are reliable, safe and common.
It is HOT. Summer temps reach over 50 degrees centigrade and humidity gets quite high too. Winter is gorgeous. Temps drop to about 10 degrees centigrade and reach around 25 degrees during the day, It's very comfortable. Everything is air conditioned and the city has adapted its walkways and bus stops etc in a lot of places to be air conditioned.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Restaurants and night life vary great and are vibrant. There is a huge variety of restaurants and bars, pubs and clubs... everything is available. Most places deliver, there is really not much that you can't get. There are award winning restaurants that are unbelievably expensive as well as tiny little local shops that sell amazing local food which is very inexpensive.
What are local hospitals and emergency services like?
Hospitals are varied, there are really good private hospitals with a high standard of care. Doctors, nurses and staff are international, as are the hospitals available. There are some award winning hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic. Government hospitals are available and provide free vaccinations to residence.
Expat Health Insurance in UAE
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Recreational Activities in Dubai
Golf at Emirates golf club, Els Club, Jumeirah Golf Estates, A qudrah golf club and many more. Swimming at Al Qudra sports complex, Horse riding at Arabian Ranches Equestrian Club, Tennis at Sports city, Rugby at the Rugby 7s stadium... There are many varied activities with options for all ages and interests. The city is vibrant and cater for everyone
Residency and Visa Requirements
In order to get a residency visa, you need to be sponsored, either by an individual, or most commonly, by your employer. The employer will apply for the residency visa on your behalf. You will have to have a medical examination and police clearance etc...
Crime in Dubai, UAE
Crime rates are incredibly low and there is very little to worry about. Petty theft could be an issue, as with anywhere else in the world. you need to be careful about drinking alcohol in public. Alcohol is available in bars, clubs and some hotels, but drinking in public is illegal.
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