The United Arab Emirates, often referred to as the UAE or Emirates, is a country located in the south-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, and sharing sea borders with Qatar to the west and Iran to the North.
UAE consists of a federation of seven emirates (also called principalities). A hereditary emir governs each emirate with a single national president. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaima, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Abu Dhabi is the capital and center for political, industrial and cultural activities. Dubai, on the other hand, is a global city and a business hub.
If you are an expat moving to the UAE, you will find a country with modern architecture, awesome beaches and a subtropical climate. You will be awed with the desert landscape, which contrasts its coastlines. [Learn more about Expat Life in UAE]
Foreigners are attracted to move to the UAE due to the ever-booming oil industry. The UAE is also a hub for job opportunities in construction and financial sector. Other expats work in real estate and the petroleum sectors. The UAE has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and with a lot of international offices headquartered here.
Living in the UAE:
The UAE is often called an expat paradise. More than half of people living here are foreign born. As an expat, you will enjoy amenities which you may not have in your home countries. For instance, telecommunication system is excellent; most of the modern buildings are equipped with hi-tech air-conditioning and safety systems. Media, such as newspapers, TV, radio stations, are available in Arabic, English, Urdu and several other languages.
The UAE is progressive with modern infrastructure around, yet they are still rooted in their religious traditions. This means that an expat in the UAE must be adhere to their etiquette, dress more modestly and be sensitive to an Emirati limitations. Be respectful towards their traditions. The Muslim month of fasting called Ramadan is taken very seriously and most expats may be surprised when they experience reduced office hours, closed restaurants and other disruptions in their daily routine during this tradition.
Dress and etiquette in UAE:
Most Emirati males wear a kandura. It is an ankle-length tunic woven from wool or cotton. Women wear an abaya, a black over-garment covering most parts of the body. Because of the large expatriate population, Western and modern clothing is popular, and is also beginning to grow among the Emiratis.
Accommodation in UAE:
The number of rental properties continues to increase, although rents are high and it is a common practice to pay one year rent in advance. The cost of living in the UAE depends on the location and size of the accommodation. Apartments and houses provide a high standard of living compared to many Western and European countries.
If you are planning or moving to the UAE as an expatriate, your considerations will range from business etiquette to social security. Be prepared and soak up as much as information as you can to avoid being surprised. Remember that expat life in the UAE will be more pleasant if you know how to respect their traditions and etiquette.