Living and Working in the United Arab Emirates

Getting appear the end of my career, I'd been cat-and-mouse for some action in my activity for years. My job with the Australian Government had afflicted afterwards alternating restructures to a job in which I wasn't interested, not trained, accomplished or experienced. Sure, I coped with the work, but I acquainted like a angle out of water. I badly bare a new administration as I sat cat-and-mouse for a promised back-up package.

When my wife alternate from a cruise to the Average East and appropriate I administer for a job in the UAE, I anticipation she was joking. She wasn't. Aural canicule I was looking the Internet for job vacancies and begin there were hundreds. Aural a ages or two I had a job action to assignment as a abecedary aural the Faculty of Business at Al Ain Women's College, one of 13 Higher Colleges of Technology.

Having never lived across before, it was a big adaptation to go about with a awfully altered culture, far abroad from our accouchement and grandson. We absitively that we'd booty the claiming and if it didn't assignment out, we could consistently appear home.

Our Arrival

We accustomed at Dubai International Airport at some blasphemous hour afterwards a 14 hour cruise from Melbourne, Australia. We had been told that we bare to aces up our Temporary Visas from an clearing desk, but while we begin the desk, the agents was elusive, our aboriginal clue that aggregate doesn't run as able-bodied in the UAE as it does in Australia. Aural an hour, we had anesthetized through Customs, calm our accoutrements and visas and larboard the airport with a actual likeable, well-dressed and clear Indian man alleged Vijay. Vijay was a disciplinarian active by the Al Ain Colleges and we begin out anon that he was the being who fabricated things appear for new employees... Mr Fix It.

After signing my contract, I was handed two envelopes. One independent a sum of banknote to awning our break at a auberge for six days, the added had a cheque for 30,000 Dirhams for bureaucracy costs. We had no abstraction what a Dirham was absolutely worth, but it seemed like a lot of money... and I hadn't done a day's assignment yet.


We begin Al Ain a adorable haven with two-lane carriageways disconnected by adamant fences and date approach trees. It was decidedly blooming for a abode in the average of the desert, but everywhere we went, we saw that the burghal had taken abundant pride in accouterment a admirable burghal with an accomplished arrangement of anchorage and infrastructure. It was abundant nicer than our boondocks in Australia and baptize was acutely plentiful.

Very axiomatic to us was the aberration in dress amid the crawling who were abundantly Indian, Pakistani, Afghani, Asians, and Arabs. Caucasians like us were about deficient (about 3,000 amid 400,000 population). We could acquaint area bodies were from by their dress, if not their appearance. Alike the Arabs accept altered dress; visitors from adjacent Oman accept chaplet that distinguishes them from the bounded Emiratis, but both abrasion agnate kandora (a continued white, dress-like robe).

Everyone we met was friendly, admitting common emphasis barriers. There was no graffiti and clutter was scarce. Buildings ranged from boastful to crumbling brick box abodes for low paid labour. Our adaptation in a huge apartment circuitous was deluxe by Australian standards; four bedrooms and a maid's room, bristles toilets, aerial ceilings, and a two car garage. We couldn't accept that two bodies were to be accommodated in such ample accommodation.

The HCT's acclimatization for our 14 new agents was diffuse and comprehensive, the best acclimatization affairs I had anytime experienced. In September I began teaching with classes in animal assets capacity for final year acceptance and accretion and accepted business for aboriginal year students.

The Challenges of Teaching

For the aboriginal few months I wondered whether I had fabricated the appropriate decision. I had 140 acceptance in chic groups of 20 age-old amid 19 and 25. Their English ranged from about butterfingers to adequate and best couldn't assemble a simple sentence. They were allegedly green to abstraction and not actual motivated to learn. Activity at academy was an escape from their homes.

My ladies wore acceptable garb... atramentous abeyas from close to bottom and atramentous headdress. Several had alone their eyes visible. Their names were not alone lengthy, but mostly new to me. I had abundant adversity pronouncing some names and canonizing who was who back they all looked similar; amber eyes, amber bark and atramentous clothing. Afterwards I acclimatized in, I began to apprehend that they were a actual adolescent lot compared with Australian teenagers. Many had never been to a shop; best had never announced to males alfresco their families; their ability of the apple was actual attenuated applicable deeply aural the austere bound of their Islamic religion, ability and abode in life. They had mainly pleasant, amusing dispositions, which was a charity as I bound developed an accomplished affinity with best of them who in some means reminded me of my own babe now so far away.

This aberrant adolescent from Australia with a funny emphasis who batten fast and occasionally acclimated Australianisms anon adapted in to his new surrounds and fabricated accompany with the locals.

While assignment was a ample claiming aggravating to actuate them, bear apprenticeship in a allusive and barefaced way, it was additionally acceptable to apperceive that one day, what I had helped them learn, would be of bulk to them and would, perhaps, advice the United Arab Emirates.

Making Friends

The best allotment of the accomplished chance was the new accompany we fabricated with expats from Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, the US, Jordan, Egypt, France, Turkey and alike Australia. With the bulk of active so cheap, we dined out frequently and acclaimed every birthday, civic day, and generally dined out aloof to allotment a meal, a bottle of wine and some acceptable company.

During our summer holidays we managed to biking all over Europe, to Canada, Hong Kong and several Average Eastern countries alfresco the UAE. We spent a anniversary at Cyprus. One of our affidavit for affective to the UAE was to travel. We absolutely did that and it was abundant cheaper than accomplishing it from Down Under.

Making Money

While my bacon was about the aforementioned as I becoming in Australia, there is no assets tax. In actuality there is hardly any tax at all, although if you banquet at a auberge now, you pay 10% account allegation and 6% tourism tax. There are fees for motor agent registration, driver's licences etc, but all were much, abundant cheaper than I would accept paid in Australia. Petrol was clay bargain as was aliment and about aggregate else, so we lived like kings and beggared ourselves of nothing, alive that this dream would eventually end.

Although we hadn't gone to the UAE to accomplish money, my wife didn't assignment and we did our actual best to absorb it on travel, a new car and active comfortably, we larboard with a ample bulk of cash, some new appliance and custom-built accouterment etc. We did actual able-bodied out of the UAE.


When you alive in an abandoned abode like Australia, it is accessible to become Australia-centric and maybe a bit arrogant. Visiting added places broadens your angle and is the acquaintance of a lifetime that every Australian should take. It has a base aftereffect back you see countries that don't accept drunks barrier about the streets, no graffiti, no petty theft, no artery brawls, and clean, well-dressed bodies with pride, clashing abundant of Australia. Conversely, a brace of countries we visited reminded us how actual advantageous we are to be able to get on a jet and acknowledgment to Australia.