Welcome back to the series where, thanks to the help of other expats, I can share you the top tips to move to a specific Country.
Today Esra is guiding us to Dubai
Esra and her life abroad
Hi, My name is Esra, a Swedish expat who moved to Dubai about 7 years ago to live with my husband.
I am a mother to a little son who takes up most of my time and I enjoy photography and writing.
Iam currently living between Stockholm and Dubai. On my page mylifeabroad.blog I share photography from UAE, living abroad, motivational reflections and life as a mother.
Things to know about Dubai
• It’s the second largest city and one of 7 emirates in the United Arab Emirates. (UAE)
• Arabic is the official language, but English is the most spoken language.
• Dubai is a very safe city with street crime being rare.
• It is home to the largest building in the world, Burj Khalifa.
• The best time to visit Dubai is in the cooler months, around November to April.
Dubai is a fast-growing city with several attractions to visit and is a dream destination for many. You may have this idea about a luxurious city with massive skyscrapers, iconic attractions, and huge shopping malls.
The city offers a lot beyond that.
Dubai is multicultural where almost 80 percent of the population are made up from expats and immigrants.
This is a reason why it has become a global city with many different cultures represented. Finding a community from the same country you come from is pretty easy and you will notice how international society is.
The Emirati culture and heritage is, on the other hand, an important part of the country’s identity. It has a strong islamic influence as well as traditional Arab culture. For instance, the Emirati attire is distinctive and can be seen across the city. To explore the history and culture of the UAE head to Dubai creek where the traditional styled buildings, a historical district with several museums and alleys. When in Dubai is a must to try Arabic sweets and try authentic Emirati food.
Visa and cost of life
To move to Dubai, you need to check what kind of visa you need.
There are different visas, but the most common is the work visa where you get a resident permit and can stay in the country if you have a job, and which is renewed every 2 years. The private sector makes up the largest part of the labor market for foreigners because society is very privatized.
Once you have a job offer/contract the work visa is organized and processed by the company you are going to work for. Usually, the company also arranges medical insurance, which is very important because healthcare costs in Dubai are high without insurance.
Dubai is an expensive city, and it depends on where you prefer to live, what your work field is and what you do in your free time. There is no tax on salaries and that is among the reasons why Dubai is an attractive place to work in.
One misconception about Dubai is that it only consists of a luxury lifestyle but that is not really the whole picture. How people live vary from place to another and is a matter of personal choice and preferences. It is true that a lot of things is attached to how much money you have but you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy your time as there is a range of budget friendly activities the city.
In general, Dubai is pricey but if you can afford a living it will not disappoint, and you will most likely have an amazing time.
What aspect do you like the most and the one you like less? Is it a kids/family friendly city?
There are a lot of things I appreciate about Dubai.
What I like most about living here is that it is family friendly, safe and there is always something to see. Places and attractions are being built all the time and you will discover all the amazing things that you can do in the city.
Dubai is famous for its beaches, food from all over the world, shopping, and glittering skyline. You never run out of things to explore, from visiting big shopping malls to having an Arabian night in the desert, strolling in colorful old Dubai or simply take a walk in the lively Marina.
One aspect I miss while in Dubai is the greenery and nature that is in Sweden at a walking distance from home. I love palm trees, but I do long for lush greenery and natural forests a lot.
During the summers, it is hard to enjoy the outdoors due to the extreme heat and humidity, but much thanks to many ventilated indoor places and entertainment it is possible to find things to do as well. Another aspect I like less is how crowded Dubai is. Chances are high that you will be stuck in traffic during the rush hours or during the weekends were most people make themselves out.
Was it difficult to move there from Europe?
The transition from Europe to Dubai has not been easy and I was prepared for the adventure.
Shortly after moving, I became a mother and suddenly had another role to master. Not only adjusting to the new environment but also trying my best as a new mother. I could feel lonely at times and was often homesick.
I Remember that time as both enriching and challenging and it has been so until today.
Living far from home makes you appreciate your home even more. You become more open minded and learn to handle challenges in a multicultural environment.
Even though society looks different from Sweden I love the fact that I can live in the Middle East, experience the Arabic culture, the kindness of people and meet people from different backgrounds and cultures.
While living in Dubai I don’t have to choose parts of my identity. I can be both Swedish, Muslim, speak Arabic and by myself, which is liberating. Dubai is an open and vibrant society filled with many opportunities and new experiences.
Thank you Esra for your article and for sharing with us a bit of your life and experience.
On my YouTube account you can also listen to the story of an italian in Dubai as well
If you are moving to Dubai with kids, you might be interesrted in the artivcle about the school system written by Esra as well.