Moving to Abu Dhabi, the UAE

GeoBlue International Health Insurance

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 24, 2021

Summary: Moving to Abu Dhabi, UAE: Everything you need to know before moving to Abu Dhabi.

What do I need to know before moving to Abu Dhabi?

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

"Make sure you negotiate with your employer to cover your accommodation or include high accommodation allowance. Living in a compound in a villa is the best choice - one can find many European expatriates to be among with," added another expat who made the move to Abu Dhabi.

"You will need to make a trade-off between living "on-island" at a higher cost for a smaller place, or "off-island" for more space and a yard. Since social isolation is a big hazard, I would put a very high priority on living "on-island" rather than out in the boondocks where you need to drive long distances for amenities," explained one expat living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Abu Dhabi?

Live in Abu Dhabi? Answer this Question

"Villa; no. Most live in apartments or townhouses; some live in villas (equivalent to a single family house)," said another expat in Abu Dhabi.

What is the average cost of housing in Abu Dhabi?

Live in Abu Dhabi? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Abu Dhabi, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Much Much higher. A four-bedroom house or apartment in a convenient area can cost $100,000 a year. Most expats negotiate a relocation package where their employer pays for their housing," mentioned another expat when asked about moving to Abu Dhabi.

What should I pack when moving to Abu Dhabi?

Live in Abu Dhabi? Answer this Question

We asked people living in Abu Dhabi to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:

"I would definitely bring some shampoos from Europe as the quality of them over here is doubtful unless you buy them in salons. I would take many of my own language books to read - however one can easily find English good literature. I would take hair color as I am blond and the choices of blond hair colors in shops is poor. I would take plenty of patience over here especially while driving. Leave clothes, shoes, bags and cooking pots home," remarked another expat who made the move to Abu Dhabi.

"Bring: Another voltage converter, more garden tools and gardening supplies, and hair color Leave home: bicyles, blankets, winter clothes," explained one expat living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

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Cultural Blunders

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"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," said another expat in Abu Dhabi.

"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," added another expat who made the move to Abu Dhabi.

"Well, don't offer up your left hand (even if the right hand is holding things) to shake someone's hand. All 'dirty' things happen w/ the left hand, and people are quite sensitive to it when it comes to eating," explained one expat living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Why do people move to Abu Dhabi?

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When we asked people why foreigners move to Abu Dhabi, they responded:

"Usually for job opportunities. The UAE is growing at an impressive rate and the majority of their work force is expat," mentioned another expat when asked about moving to Abu Dhabi.

How are healthcare services Abu Dhabi?

Live in Abu Dhabi? Answer this Question

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Abu Dhabi, they replied:

"Advanced recon on the ground is very important. Do not expect to find the perfect doctor straight away. The American hospitals are the most expensive but usually have the best standards of care. Find a doctor whom you like and stick with that person. If your company does not provide medical insurance, there are plenty of options to receive based on budget," added one expat living in Abu Dhabi.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in UAE from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in UAE from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  


 

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GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in UAE from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in UAE from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  

Abu Dhabi, UAEGuide to Living in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Abu Dhabi

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

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi, UAEHealthcare in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Expats and global nomads in Abu Dhabi share their experiences with health insurance, healthcare in UAE, local hospitals and specialists, quality of medical care 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 share their experiences living in Abu Dhabi, UAE and offer advice about meeting people, schools and more.

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.

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