Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The opulent city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is known for luxury, heat, extravagant buildings and the place to take all aspects of life to the extreme.
With the most impressive skyline in the world set up in the middle of the Arabian desert with the tallest man-made structure in the world The Burj Khalifa. The sleek modern architecture has set apart the city to stand out from many drawing people from all over the world to not only explore the city out of intrigue but also live there and experience a different life from the Western world.
1) International City
Dubai is a relatively young country with the population being made up of over 85% expats and the rest Emirate natives. 64% of the population is between the ages of 25-54 years old.
With many people residing in the city from their home country people are open and more welcoming to make friends. With so many nationalities and ethnicities it is a lot easier in Dubai to find friends to feel more at home in the city and go out and participate in activities in and around the city.
Dubai is a tax free country. Whatever you earn in the country is free from tax which means you can enjoy the whole paycheck you are owed!
With this being said, be prepared to spend a lot of money for monthly expenses. Rents are high, groceries are expensive and utility bills will take a large amount out of your monthly budget. Before you reallocate, be prepared to spend a lot to live in the city and understand your reality. You may not be able to afford the fancy sports car and eating caviar everyday but, you will have a good quality of life and be able to find a beautiful studio apartment in the city of Dubai.
3) Public Transport
There are buses, trams and metros in the city. The buses are air conditioned and the metros are clean. The public transport network runs on one card that can be used across the networks called the NOL card.
Transport runs very regularly at max every 3 minutes but the downsides are that the metro only has 2 lines and does not cover the whole city very well.
4) Getting A Driver's License
As stated above the public transport in the city is not very expensive. In order to move more freely around the city, having a car makes movement much easier. Once you get a residence permit in Dubai you can apply for a UAE licence.
There are a few countries that can automatically get a UAE driving licence. Countries such as the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Japan and Singapore to name a few. Be prepared, the traffic is bad and unescapable. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time make sure you give yourself at least double the time so that you can account for the traffic you come across.
Dubai is in an Islamic region which means that if you are from a Western country what is perceived to be ok in your home country. In addition things such as the weekend if you are from a Western country you may be used to the weekend being Saturday and Sunday in Dubai the weekend is Friday and Saturday. This is because Friday is an Islamic holy day.
Other than the way you dress as a man and women, shoulders and knees need to be covered in public spaces. Be sure to research the rules of what you are allowed to do and do not assume as this can get you in a lot of trouble.
6) Fun Fun Fun
In order to drink alcohol you need an alcohol license. If you are found drunk in public you will face a large fine or jail time, do not risk it! Alcohol is only allowed to be consumed in permitted areas with in licensed venues and at home.
The city is full of many activities you will never be bored. The city of innovation is full of opportunities from extremes such as bungee jumping, sky diving, sandboarding to something more chill to Dubai's miracle garden, the worlds largest floral garden, hot air balloons in the dessert or a chill day at one of Dubai's shopping malls.
7) Cost of Living
The average salary in Dubai is 55,000 euros therefore the price of items that you can buy in the country is reflective of this. Here are a few figures:
- A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs 11 euros.
- Coca cola costs 1 euro.
- A loaf of bread 500 grams costs 1.41 euros.
- 12 eggs cost 3 euros.
- Bananas 1kg costs 1.72 euros.
- A mid range bottle of wine costs 15 euros.
- A gym membership costs 70 euros.
- Access to a tennis court costs 35 euros.
- A cinema ticket costs 12 euros.
Dubai is located in the safest country in the world. You can leave your card door unlocked, windows open at night and walk around with no issues or fears for your safety.
The country is extremely safe with very little crime with police on many corners of the city and many CCTV cameras around in order to protect citizens.
9) Follow The Rules
You should always abide by the rules of the country you are residing in. Things that you may deem ok and normal the mindset and norms are completely different in Dubai. If you break the laws you will be either, fined, deported or arrested. Avoid making a silly mistake and follow the rules of the country.
Here are a few things you can get in trouble for in Dubai:
- Swearing in public.
- Kissing in public.
- Being drunk in public.
- Showing someone the middle finger.
- Eating and drinking on public transport.
- Taking images of people without their permission.
- Making and spreading rumors.
10) Brunch Is A Big Deal
Brunch is a regular weekend activity from people in Dubai. Usual on Friday the first day of the weekend. Don't be surprised by the amount of brunch events you attend and when you make friend one of the first activities you will do is go for brunch.
There are a lot of positives living in Dubai, here are a a few you can take into consideration before the move:
- Diverse community.
- Low tax and high pay.
- Safe country.
- Islamic country but other religions are tolerated.
- A lot of new housing.
- English is widely spoken.
- A lot of professional development opportunity.
There can't be positives without the negatives and it does not serve you well to only see the good in a city you are about to move to. Here are a few negatives you should be aware of before you make the move to Dubai:
- Strict laws adhering to Islamic practices.
- The heat is strong, temperature can reach 40 degrees Celsius and up.
- Culture adjustment to the Islamic country.
- Traffic jams.
- A lot of noise. From the call to prayer 5 times a day, a lot of construction around the city and the city never sleeps.