What to expect when moving to the United Arab Emirates

Hello everyone,

Is there anything you wish you had known before moving to the United Arab Emirates? For example, transportation, internet speeds, types of housing, aspects of the culture or social life.

In your opinion, what's the most important thing to know about the United Arab Emirates?

When would you recommend someone should begin planning their move to the United Arab Emirates?

What were the most helpful ways you found to get organised? For example, did you use a checklist, were there any particularly useful websites or apps?

What advice would you give to future expats preparing to move to the United Arab Emirates?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Hello Priscilla, Moving to UAE would be one of your best decision as life is so convenient and easy here. It has one of the best public transportation in the form of RTA, internet speed will be good too, you can either take your own studio or share an apartment

The most important thing to know here are the laws as its quite strict.

The best time to move here is between Septemeber to April.

The most useful app we would recommend is www.dubizzle.com www.indeed.ae as that's where you will find the most job postings.

The best advice to give for the future expats is to budget themselves when they come here and just bepositive even if you don't get any interview calls.

Moderated by Priscilla last year
Reason : no free ads here please + register in the business directory

Try to live alone independently as long as you can, you will be a better organised and away from useless waste of time / effort.
Good Luck


Fortunately for me I was a bit informed and I did my own research about almost everything before coming to Dubai. But sometimes no matter how well informed you are, it's different when get to experience it.

The first few months I got very home sick, even though I was very excited to be in a new environment with endless  possibilities- I missed home. I missed home food, because UAE is a desert-there is very little fresh produce coming from here. The food is very international and very safe but it is different(taste & smell), perhaps due to different soil, climate, etc.

I missed home natural landscapes,our rough seas and dry mountain, different seasons of the year especially- the beautiful flowers that blooms freely during spring time, the fresh fruits that welcomes summer, the smell of rain drops as it touches the souls, the cold winter nights  that are perfect for soups and warmers.

I missed my people, South Africa is very diverse, which makes it more colorful and exciting and we seem to all share the same values and spirit of community. I missed the clicks in our mother tongues.

The UAE locals are very warm and gentle but in most cases there is a language break down ,and also because this city has a lot of different people from all over the world speaking different languages and most only learning to speak English once they get here as a medium language.

You also have to complete a year in a company before going on vacation, I think it's like that with most places, but that year can be very long if your family(parents,children or spouse) are not with you. So you have to use every technology possible to keep the communication and relationships going.

Depending on your job discription, the accommodation is shared with one or more people working for the same company in the same level of employment, but with an option for live out, but outside accommodation do not come cheap,some are cheap according to the UAE currency but expensive if you have to convert to your own.Oh that goes the same with food, clothes, education and entertainment. If you planning to bring your family here you need to consider all the cost of living for everyone involved and see if you can afford.Also all depend on your lifestyle as well.

You also need to be very disciplined when it comes to money, there are a lot of places to see, things to do, high end fashion/home appliances specials almost all year round that can lead you  to spend more if you not careful.

But other than that, expert to see one of the most beautiful nations in the world, the gentle and humble. The biggest malls, tallest buildings, beautiful hotels, medium to highest standard in education in all levels.Expert PEACE and HARMONY.Expert growth all around you,tolerance,heat,culture, religion,discipline and LOVE.

At the end of the day it's all worth it.


Hi Priscilla

I was well aware about the culture and life style of UAE as many of my family members are living their.

As i was decided to move to to UAE i was informed by my family that comparing to other middle eastern countries, UAE is have a mixed culture. Expats are the most dominant in UAE. There are peoples from 180 different nations who are working for doing business in the UAE.

Compaired to other muslim countries UAE is musch free and friendly. Their is not much restrictions in clothing, food or alchol consumption. In the province of Dubai the infrastracture and transportation facilities are eqaly compatitive to big europian cities. Local arabs are well mannered and educated peoples. Using an RTA card u can make most of the transportation in Dubai.

Even though Abu Dhabi is the biggest amoung all 7 provinces, it may feel little slow and little draggy.
Abu Dabi is best suggested for family. Night life shorter similar to  other Emirates expect Dubai.

Sharjah is one province strictly follow rules similar to Saudi Arabia, since alcohol and pork meet is strictly prohibited.

Ras al-Khaimah is smallr and less populated, Rules are similar to Dubai. They have some of the best Hotels and resorts. Rak bank and Rak ceramics are from here. Restrictions are quit moderate.

Umm al-Quwain also quit small province with very less population. They are known fro beaches and resorts. You can also go for mountain rides here.

Ajman is the smallest of them all. But its the best place to hangout. Nice beach, resorts and best cellars. So many party halls. Nice sea food shacks are available.

Fujairah is also one of the smallest Emirates still the city is beautiful. Their are some locations to visit.
resorts and hotels are plenty. Drive from Dubai to Fujairah will be bliss.

Al-ain is the last province. They are known for their beautiful villas. Even though the city is small, the shorter buildings and the round abouts and boulevard reminds me about some small European cities.

Once i decided to move to UAE it was my family their who helped to settle down. Most are opportunities are available in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjha (still u can find good in other Emirates too). Its always to good to seek help of your friend and family before you move their, to arrange necessary accommodation facility. Their is an opportunity for every expect in UAE. Association with local influential Emraties can help business peoples in huge way. In my 4 years of living in UAE i never had a single bad experience. UAE is a well recommended place.

We were posted to Fujairah. It is not the UAE you hear of. There is basically nothing to do in Fujairah.  Even if you are an outdoors type of person, it is too hot to venture outside. A simple 10min walk to a mall requires a taxi because of the heat during the day. In the evening it is more bearable. 
I miss having my own transport which was a given back home.
Everything is also so slow over here, ie getting things done. Everyone is on their own time.
Staying in Dubai or Abu dhabi would be a better option just with regards to the many more things you can do or see.

New topic