Dubai is a cosmopolitan city that attracts expats from all over the world. Europeans, in particular, make up a large percentage of the expatriate population in Dubai. The city’s sunny weather, pristine beaches and upscale lifestyle are some of the reasons why Europeans choose to move to Dubai. If you are a European looking to move to the city soon, here’s what life is like for European expats in Dubai.
LIVING IN DUBAI AS A EUROPEAN EXPAT
Dubai has a lot to offer expatriates who are looking for better opportunities. As a result of this, people from around the world come to Dubai to live and work. If you are debating a similar decision to move to this vibrant city, here’s some insight into what life as a European expatriate in Dubai entails.
One of the most unique things about Dubai is its diversity. The city is a melting pot of cultures, as over 200 nationalities live and work together in harmony here. As a European expat in Dubai, you won’t be a minority. You’ll easily fit in and be able to make new friends.
Connecting with people in Dubai is also super easy! There are plenty of Facebook groups and apps which you can join to connect with for people who have similar interests as yours. ‘Meet up’ is a popular app which is used by residents in Dubai to find friends and join group activities like yoga.
Dubai is also a very tolerant city. Although Islam is the national religion, as a resident you are free to practice any faith. You can find plenty of mosques, temples and churches in Dubai located right next to each other around the city. There is also no segregation based on culture or cast which is why many people choose to live in Dubai. Moreover, men and women are offered equal opportunities in the workplace and can build a strong career here.
Dubai has a hot desert climate, with year-round sunshine. The months from April to October are the summer months in Dubai and duration from September to March is when the temperatures dip. During the summer months, temperatures can approach highs of 50°C, accompanied by high humidity levels. During the winters, the weather is more pleasant with temperatures dropping to a pleasant 20°C, with occasional rainfall. If you prefer these temperatures, you’ll truly enjoy living in Dubai as a European expat.
However, if you are someone who prefers cooler weather, adjusting to the high temperatures in Dubai can be a challenge. But on the bright side, everything in Dubai is air-conditioned (even the bus stops!), so adjusting won’t be difficult.
The cost of living in Dubai is more or less similar to other European countries. But since Dubai is, for the most part, tax-free, European expats in Dubai can end up saving a considerable amount. The only form of tax that expats in Dubai pay is the Value Added Tax (VAT) of 5%.
Rents in Dubai are also quite affordable compared to European cities like London, Paris and Vienna. Most of Dubai’s popular areas for British expats like Dubai Marina or JBR offer upscale apartments for as low as AED 40k annually – a fairly affordable rate, compared to flats in most European countries.
THERE’S PLENTY OF THINGS TO DO
In the past decade, Dubai has flourished into one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. Thanks to this, there are countless attractions to explore and tons of activities to try out. Weekends in Dubai, which fall on Friday and Saturday, are always fun and exciting. From brunches to picnics, you can always find something to do. Many of these activities are also easy on the pocket. For instance, you can enjoy a beach day at the amazing public beaches in Dubai for next to nothing!
Dubai also has an amazing nightlife that can be compared to many cities across the world. The areas of Dubai Marina, JBR, JLT and Palm Jumeirah have some of the best nightclubs in Dubai, which are open throughout the week. You can also find some great bars in Dubai where you can enjoy a relaxed drink with your friends. There are also some great restaurants in Dubai serving cuisines from all over the world.
But it’s not just the upscale attractions and man-made wonders that Dubai is famous. The labyrinthine souks, heritage homes and age-old forts are excellent diversions for culture vultures who may be missing out Europe’s rich historic treasures.
THERE ARE SOME GREAT SCHOOLS
Dubai is a great place if you want to start a family too. From nurseries to higher education, the city has some great educational institutions that are all vetted by the government.
For the little ones, there are some great nurseries in Dubai such as British Orchard Nursery and Toddler Town British Nursery that offer UK National Curriculum. For higher education, Europeans moving to Dubai will have to enrol their children in private schools since public schools in the city mainly cater to Emirati students.
There are some amazing schools in Dubai offering international curriculums. However, if you are specifically looking for schools offering the British curriculum, some of the popular British schools in Dubai include The Cambridge International School, GEMS Wellington School and Regent International School. For further studies, there is a great selection of universities in Dubai offering diploma and graduate courses, in various disciplines as well. There are also French and German schools in Dubai to cater to expats from these locations.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
There is a lot of misconception when it comes to the rules and regulations in Dubai. The city is quite liberal, however, to ensure the safety, security and well-being of residents, the government has certain rules for expats in Dubai which must be followed.
Since Dubai is an Islamic country, one of the basic rules to follow is to wear modest clothing – shoulders and knees should be covered and see-through clothes should be avoided. Swimsuits can be worn at Dubai’s beaches or pools, but you should cover up after.
There is also a zero-tolerance policy for drug use in Dubai. Public intoxication, as well as drinking and driving, are also offences punishable by law. Moreover, public displays of affection as well as making offensive comments about the authorities or any religion are also against the law. As a European expat in Dubai, abiding by these rules are important.
As a European expat in Dubai, you will also have to follow certain etiquettes during the month of Ramadan. During Ramadan in Dubai, many restaurants across the city close off dine-in sections and operate on a delivery only basis. Some restaurants do stay open, but they will usually have discreet dining areas which are not visible to the public. Eating, smoking or drinking from sunrise to sunset in public is also prohibited. If you are found violating these laws you can face fines of up to AED 500.
Although the city has its rules, the experience of living in Dubai is unlike any other. The quality of life in Dubai and the standard of living is quite high, so if you ever have the chance to move to the city, it’s a great opportunity. Before you plan to make the move, make sure to check out this guide for moving to Dubai from the UK to get a good idea of what to expect.
We hope this article was able to give you some insight into how life in Dubai is for European expats. If you’d like to receive more updates about life in the UAE, make sure to subscribe to MyBayut.