Relocating to the cities of Dubai or Abu Dhabi? What you need to know…
We appreciate how difficult it can be relocating to a new country. As expats in the Emirates ourselves; we know only too well the challenges that lie ahead and how beneficial it can be to be clued up the host city before you move, so you know what to expect.
See below general information on the UAE.
Located in the heart of the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to over 150 nationalities. The formation of the UAE came after the discovery of huge oil reserves in Abu Dhabi in 1958. The UAE is considered the second richest Arab country with just fewer than 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves and the fourth largest natural gas reserves.
The country comprises of seven emirates – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. Abu Dhabi is by far the largest emirate, occupying over 80% of the country with the emirate of Dubai being the second largest, although they have similar populations.
In the last 10 years, the UAE has been firmly marked on the map as a popular choice of location for expatriates to settle, and as a holiday destination for people from all over the world. Whilst proud and protective of its Islamic culture, it is also one of the most progressive, cosmopolitan and open-minded countries in the region.
Last year (2016), Dubai alone had a reported 14.9 million visitors, which was a record number for the country.
Location & Climate of the UAE
The United Arab Emirates is situated on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman.
Dubai has a subtropical and arid climate. Sunny blue skies and high temperatures can be expected most of the year. Rain falls on an average of only 25 days per year, mainly in winter (December to March). It rarely rains very heavily or for long periods.
Temperatures range from a low of around 15°C (50°F) in winter to a high of 48°C (118°F) in summer. Humidity is usually between 50% and 65%; however, when combined with the high summer temperatures, even 60% humidity can produce extremely uncomfortable conditions. The most pleasant time to visit the UAE is in the cooler winter months, when temperatures are perfect for comfortable days on the beach and long, lingering evenings outside.
Culture & Religion in UAE
The UAE has managed to establish a healthy balance between western influences and eastern traditions. Whilst still maintaining its strong cultural roots, the UAE has progressively become a more liberal country with a modern, openminded outlook. Although aspects of the local culture can be different; you’ll soon realise it’s the many different nationalities residing in this diverse country, that makes it such a fascinating place to live.
Whether a passing visitor to the country, or a residing expatriate living in Dubai, Emirati’s demand utmost respect of there Islamic culture and beliefs. Whilst the locals are tolerant and welcoming to foreigners, allowing bars, clubs and restaurants to serve alcohol (which is against their religion and forbidden in some neighbouring countries), rules are put in place and can have severe consequences when broken so it is important to be respectful of your local surroundings.
Language spoken in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
The official language of the UAE is Arabic. However, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu, Tagalog, Russian and Farsi are commonly spoken.
Arabic is the official business languagFFe, but English is so widely used that you could conduct business here for years without learning a single word of Arabic. Most road signs, shop signs and restaurant menus are in both languages. The further out of town you go, the more you will find just Arabic, both spoken and on street and shop signs.
The United Arab Emirates currency is called the Dirham. Arab Emirate Dirham (DHS or AED) 100 Fils = 1 Dirham. The UAE dirham is pegged to the US Dollar, with a constant conversion rate of 3.66. It is important to be aware that there are no restrictions on import or export of currency in the UAE.
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