A survival guide on moving to Dubai…

Man with suitcase and the Emirati flag illustrating moving to Dubai

For many people, moving to a new country is an exciting prospect, filled with wonder and opportunity. For others, the idea seems good at the time, but when the reality of moving starts to sink in, the nerves and anxiety take over. No matter who you are or how you handle something as big as an international move, we hope this post will go some way to ease the transition and calm those nerves.

Looking back on our personal experience, we did it the hard way. We arrived in Dubai with one suitcase, no job, but a bucket load of dreams and enthusiasm. We took the opportunities that came our way, settled, worked hard and left almost 9 years later with nothing but wonder at what we had accomplished.

For our candidates, all the hard stuff is taken care of for you. The majority of our positions provide you with accommodation, medical insurance, meals, uniforms and transport, as well as flight tickets and visas. Not much else for you to worry about other that making sure you pack some sun-cream!

Here are a few recommendations of resources for you to check out to make the move, and the subsequent settling in, that much easier to deal with…

Time Out Dubai: Time Out Dubai is a great resource for finding out just about anything that is going on in Dubai.

Expat Woman: Expat Woman is another great resource for finding out how things are done in Dubai. Tips on how to conduct yourself during the Holy month of Ramadan and much more.

Dubai Metro: If you’d like to explore on your ‘off days’ then using the Dubai Metro is a great way to do it. It’s cheap, fast, safe and extremely reliable. Explore the routes here!

UAE Exchange: If saving money or sending money home is your top priority then a visit to a UAE Exchange branch might be something to consider. They have branches all over Dubai and it’s quick and easy to set up an account with them to enable you to send money home.

Etiquette: Although the majority of Dubai’s population consists of expatriates (apx 80%), the fundamental rules of etiquette are governed by the local Emirati population. It is first a foremost a Muslim country and there are certain factors to take into consideration in terms of dress code and behaviour. In our time in Dubai, we were often astounded at the lack of respect of some tourists to the country, but for the most part, people who decide to make Dubai their home are much more observant and respectful of their host nation.

Weather: For those that aren’t aware, Dubai is hot! However, it is only insanely hot during the months of June-September. The rest of the time is really rather lovely. Just make sure to seek shade when you can and drink plenty of water and you will be fine. If you happen to move to Dubai during one of the crazy hot months as mentioned before, don’t let it get the best of you. Don’t think it will always be this hot and there’s no way you can cope. It won’t, and you will! You will be so busy with your new job and your new friends that the heat will fade before you know it. Hang in there, it will all be worth it!

Food: Dubai is an absolute melting pot for cultures from all over the world and therefore cuisine choices in Dubai are pretty much infinite! If you can’t survive without KFC, you’ll be fine. Whether you like Chinese, Indian, South African, Lebanese, English or American foods(to name but a few), you will find unending options to satisfy your hunger. A move to Dubai is also a fabulous opportunity to try something new, something you’ve never eaten before. Never heard of Baba Ganoush, Shish Tawouk or a Schwarma? Don’t worry…they’ll be firm favourites soon!

Currency: The currency of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates is the Dirham (commonly pronouced duh-rum). The international abbreviation for the currency is AED. Make sure you get some of your local currency converted before you go to make life easier on arrival. For current exchange rates against your local currency, visit XE.com.

We hope the above will be of use to you and hope you feel more prepared before your big move. If you are one of our successful candidates, you will likely have been recruited for your outgoing, “go get-em” attitude. Take that with you and make the most of everything that comes your way. Work hard, be true to yourself and be respectful of your new company and fellow colleagues. Dubai is a magical place for those that are willing to work hard and embrace new things. Good luck to each and every one of you!