The Best and Worst Things About Living and Working in Dubai

For many would-be expats it’s hard to get a succinct but comprehensive overview of a given overseas location to help you decide whether to move there or not. You can search for feedback on forums for example, but you’re likely to be met with either a whole host of complaints from dissatisfied expats, or a whole host of complimentary posts from those who have a vested interest in selling a certain destination – usually written by estate or relocation agents!

For many would-be expats it’s hard to get a succinct but comprehensive overview of a given overseas location to help you decide whether to move there or not. 

You can search for feedback on forums for example, but you’re likely to be met with either a whole host of complaints from dissatisfied expats, or a whole host of complimentary posts from those who have a vested interest in selling a certain destination – usually written by estate or relocation agents!

So how can anyone ever get a good idea of whether they should move abroad?  The simple answer is – visit a potential country first before committing to relocation!  However, for anyone contemplating a move to Dubai, here’s a breakdown – albeit a subjective one – of the best and worst things about living and working in Dubai.

The good news is I don’t hate Dubai, nor do I have some ulterior motive to sell you superlative nonsense about the emirate!  Therefore, you can read the following list and hopefully make your own mind up about whether it’s worth visiting Dubai to see if it could offer you the employment and lifestyle opportunities you’re seeking.

THE BEST THINGS ABOUT LIVING AND WORKING IN DUBAI

1)  Dubai is rammed full of expats from multiple nations and myriad backgrounds, making it a true cultural melting pot.  This is a massive plus for anyone who wants to learn more about the world – particularly anyone who wants to do so from the comfort of an air conditioned bar in just one single nation!

I.e., you don’t have to go further than Dubai to see and learn so much more about the world.  You will make many friends – some of them lifelong – because you will all have a shared experience of living and working in this exciting yet challenging, truly foreign environment.

2)  You can never ever suffer from boredom in a city within an emirate that has more activities, events, services and facilities than you could get around to enjoying in one lifetime.  There is always something new to do, try, taste, see, encounter or experience in Dubai.

Also, because expats come and go, there are always people to try out new experiences with – some of whom will show you the ropes because they are seasoned expats, and some of whom will be seeing things for the very first time just like you are.

3)  The quality, luxuriousness and attention to detail in Dubai makes it a comfortable place to live, work and explore.  It will colour your view of the world too, and when you travel or go back home you’ll be constantly comparing everything from shoddy service to tatty hotel rooms with what you can get in Dubai!

4)  One shouldn’t underestimate the appeal of a climate that’s predictably hot almost year-round”¦nor of the fact that every shop, bar, restaurant, place of work and expat home has amazing air conditioning!

Living in a climate like Dubai’s allows expats to enjoy an outdoor-centric lifestyle for the majority of the year.  And even when it’s too hot to do much more than sit about, at least you can sit about outside, cooled by a fan, enjoying the fact that you can dine al fresco without ever freezing your butt off!

5)  Dubai is still a land of opportunity – because despite the fact that it burned too brightly and therefore unsustainably for a brief period of time, it has learned many lessons, and is unerringly committed to becoming and remaining a hugely successful international centre for business in many diverse spheres.

This means that there remain many opportunities to find well-paying employment in Dubai for anyone looking to enjoy a tax-free lifestyle – in what is a truly unique environment!

THE WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING AND WORKING IN DUBAI

1)  There is racism and discrimination in Dubai that’s absolutely unspoken of.  If you have the wrong passport and/or you’re the wrong sex in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may experience hardship and unfair treatment.

This reality is generally not talked about, and certainly not challenged – and for some it is unpalatable.

2)  Dubai is nothing if not expensive, and your attractive tax-free expat salary can quickly be eaten up by rent, luxury goods, school fees and too much socialising if you’re not exceptionally and concertedly careful.

Too many expats get wiped out by Dubai and leave after their assignment with little more than memories – if you do decide that Dubai’s the right place for you, do guard against this!

3)  Getting around Dubai can be hazardous and frustrating!  This may sound like a small gripe, but when you and your family have to take their life in their hands to get to work or school, you will remember what I said and realise the significance of just how bad the driving is in Dubai. 

And it doesn’t matter if you decide to get around by taxi instead, whilst you won’t be at the wheel when you crash, you will crash!  Hopefully it’ll be a minor scrape”¦but getting around Dubai is stressful and dangerous.

4)  Red tape and ever changing rules make living in Dubai a challenge for anyone who doesn’t have extreme patience and someone permanently available to queue for them. 

It will be important to have a sympathetic and informed employer, as well as expat and local friends who can help you make sense of the red tape you have to unravel.

5)  Forget integration – for the absolute vast majority of expats, Dubai is a posting with an end date, even if that end date isn’t written in stone.  You won’t “˜integrate with the locals’, you probably won’t learn the language and won’t find much need to anyway because Dubai is just so “˜international’ – and because of all this Dubai can feel transient, and the impermanence of your life can start to irk after a while.

Few expats put down significant roots in Dubai because it just isn’t conducive of true integration.

Published http://britishexpats.com/articles/uae/best-worst-dubai/

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