Common misconceptions and clichés about life in the United Arab Emirates

Hello everyone,

Old clichés die hard, as the saying goes... and living in the United Arab Emirates can generate lots of misconceptions in the eyes of the people.

What are the most common misconceptions about the expat lifestyle in the United Arab Emirates?

What are the most common clichés about life in the United Arab Emirates in general?

Did you have a biased view of the country before moving there? What is you view now?

Thanks in advance,


Tnx Priscilla. i came from France so i knew nothing about the place. Here is a place for business, people come from all around the world, it's all new.

I thought i would have tough time to adjust, make friends, withstand the climate. people here are always busy so making friends is not easy. Then, i felt that people would be too traditional for me, coming from Europe.

Finally, u adjust, u develop ur habits, u discover u can love anybody, u can adjust to anything.

So, i would say, be open, try to control ur apprehension and misconceptions. Thus u will adjust to Dubai.

Misconception: Arabs are racists, not nice people, unapproachable

Well i had to prove it myself. I prefer discovering stuff on my own rather than a word of mouth.
I'm this african dark-skinned lad from Uganda, if it was an experiment, i was a perfect apparatus.
The only method i opted for was; real life experience. my mind fell for this one.

1.1: The time was 11:32pm, a Tuesday. I was from window shopping in DM (Dubayy Mall).
I was heading to the metro. all i had on me was my metro card; i didn't have no cash on me. and i don't drive either.

The moment i reached at the metro; it was shut down. the last metro had left 3mins earlier. The distance from the metro and where i stayed was about 11km, Here i am, poor thing. Loool. I like to laugh at such scenarios. don't mind the Loool.

I went back inside DM and took the taxi/private vehicle exit. All i could ever think of was to hitch hike or hike the 11km on foot since i was starting to run out of smooth options.

Tick tock, it's 12:14 am. I'm outside DM sitted on one of the benches, thinking of plan b. These are peak shopping times for most arabs-that i took notice.
Across the bench, there's another lad sitted on another bench. He looked arab. he was texting.
My mind was all like; that lad sitted over there is your plan b back home.
It took me over an hour while sitted on the bench as i was thinking of an approach plan. Loool. i had to sweep all negativity i had in my mind about arab people under the carpet. it was such a quick process in my mind.

It's 1:10am, finally i gather myself altogether for an approach. I stand up from the bench i was sitted on to approach this lad. i get to him;

Me: Marhaban
Him: Ahlan
Me: As salaam alaykoum. Ismee Abubakar.
maa ismuk?
Him: (he mentions his name.)
Me: Atakallamal arabiyyata qaliilan.
(i speak a little arabic) do you speak english?
Him: Sure sure.
Me: I'm from uganda. where are you from?
Him: ohganda. great! am from Jordan.
Me: Amman. how great!
Him: yes yes yes
Me: well i got stuck while i headed to catch a metro. I do need your help to get home.
Him: you stay in dubai? you work or study?
Me: Sure i work & stay here in dubai.
Him: can i see some I.D
Me: sure (i reach for my I.D from my wallet and show it to him.
Him: well, where are you staying? my friend is shopping with his family inside the mall. so am all here waiting for them & we can drive home. I can drop you fast and get back here.
Me: (my mind went on a trip for a few seconds after hearing what he had just said) am staying at Alquoz 4.
Him: okay. let me come back. (he goes on the driveway and call for a taxi, they exchange some words, reaches for his wallet and pays this taxi lad)
abubakar! come my brother, this guy will drop you where you are going.
Me: oh my god. shukran ya'habibi. shukran jaziilan. shukran shukran.
(i reach for his hand, shake it as i thank him)
Him: abubakar, this is my number my brother, call me once you get home. let me know if you've reached well.
Me: sure sure sure sure.
(1:44 am. i get inside the taxi & i was driven off to home)
(while inside the taxi)
Taxi lad: are you related to that gentleman? you must be related.
Me: Loool. he was only a perfect stranger. we ain't related. C'mon.
Taxi lad: oh my god. he is so nice.
2:03 am
(i get home, call my new arab friend, i was so so happy) since then we're good friends indeed.


What a post, God bless..

Misconception: Arabs are racists, not nice people, unapproachable

2.1: I'm a member of many meetup groups. There's this meetup group, almost every member was an arab. There was few europeans in it. No African in it.
So i decided to give it a shot. I hit the join button. They accepted me to join, i went through their meetups.
I was looking for one that was in proper timing with my off days from work.
Luckily i got one.
It was a saturday;
I reached at kite beach- the venue of the meetup. It was a volleyball meetup.
So we was gonna play volleyball alldayer.

I get introduced to the meetup members. Most were emiratis, a few yemenese, iranians and some europeans.

Well we started playing. It was all fun. I sucked at it. Loool.
I wasn't good at it. It was a century i last played volleyball. Loool.
The thing i needed most was to make friends.
After the game; it was late in the evening, we sat down as a group, got to know one another more and more. It was all fun.
They asked me all about Africa. Looool.
The emiratis were so interested in me more. It was all mind blowing.

We're told by friends all the negative things about the locals.
Forreal; they're down to earth. They like to chat, chat and chat.

Well something to note; they said that us foreigners fear to approach them. Loool.
They were so right.

And btw they like jokes. They have red blood just like us. Looool.

If you ever want to approach one, sweep all the negativity you've heard about them & leave your shell.

My conclusion; Well i must admit, i was wrong about the misconceptions of arab people and so were my friends

Thanks. 😊

Thank you. God bless you too. have a good one.

Tnxxxxx so much....

Thanks priscilla, well i am zaid alhamed Jordanian with bachelor degree in genetics engineering and master in MBA i am new to UAE / dubai world so i am still interfering with it since there is the business life and the personal life which the last one can have alot of branches such good one or bad one .

For people generally they are good ( due to restrictions rules ) u know but seems good .
Hope to know more about this thing and have good friendship.


As a person lived in three main GCC countries like suadi, Qatar and U.A.E, I can say U.A.E is the best place to work and live. Expats are much concerned about their sponsors, citizen’s behavior and culture when they wish to move to any GCC countries. News about sponsor’s harassing, ill-treating etc. are some of the facts that people are afraid of. But I am really surprised with emarati people’s friendly approach and dealing which encourage me to prefer U.A.E as my second home land to work and live.

UAE is the best place to work n live all in GCC country's because here is only one rule one law for all weather you are foreigner are you are citizen if you be straight then you can do whatever you want no one will harass you no will touch you as per UAE Law and here you can live freely happy life if you want...

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