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Retire in the UAE

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AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Retirees share their experiences living in UAE. What are the challenges and rewards of retiring in UAE?

How do I meet people in the UAE?

When we asked people living in the UAE about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"American Women's Network, Women in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Womens Group, Abu Dhabi Ladies Group, all send newsletters to members," commented one retiree living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

"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!)," explained one retiree living in Abu Dhabi.

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What is life like in the UAE?

When we asked people living in the UAE what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"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," said a retiree who moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE.

"Al Ain is a great city to live in and offers many things to see and do. Expats get together frequently for quiz nights, to watch sporting events, meet for coffee in the malls. Life is varied and interesting," said another retiree in Al Ain.

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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.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What do I need to know before retiring in the UAE?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to the UAE, they said:

"Negotiate a VERY comprehensive relocation package with your prospective employer, including school, housing, transportation and travel allowance, in addition to a generous salary, because the cost of living is not cheap here," said a retiree who moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE.

"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," said another retiree in Abu Dhabi.

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What type of recreational activities are there in the UAE?

"Golf at yas links golf club, the al ain golf, equestrian and rugby club is popular, crossfit gym with some of the worlds top athletes at Vogue fitness on yas island, a huge array of water parks and theme parks that offer memberships..," said another retiree in Abu Dhabi.

"Abu Dhabi has several golf clubs that we frequent. As well as several hotels that have fun brunches that are fun to attend. There are many hiking and outside activities in the northern Emirates. Not so much in Abu Dhabi. There is one club, the Tourist Club that is very popular with the expat community," remarked another retiree in Abu Dhabi.

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Where will I buy groceries and do other shopping in the UAE?

"Most people get their groceries from large chains such as Geant or Carrefour. British brands such as Marks and Spencers, Spinnies and Waitrose are also very popular. Lulu's is hugely popular but seems to be a local brand that import a lot of American products and are quite reasonably priced. As far as clothing stores go, there is very little that you can't get," remarked another retiree in Abu Dhabi.

"Shopping malls are a big deal here. And in most cases there is a large grocery chain attached to each mall. Waiters, Geant and Carrefour are the biggest names. There are other little shops all over the city to grab quick things," explained one retiree living in Abu Dhabi.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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