Moving to Dubai(21 Posts)
Dh has been offered the opportunity to move outgo Dubai. He grew up out there from age 4-18 and is keen to move back with me and DD. I have visited once last year and I am happy to move there.
There is just so much I want to know!
Positives and negatives?
What's general life like?
Where is the best area to live?
How would I meet people?
Most worryingly, how do I deal with family? My dm & df are being fine about it but dsis just keeps telling me how taking dd away will break her heart. Dd is the only grandchild both sides and dsis can't have kids.
I know that's a real mix of questions but I'm trying to sort through my feelings and just spouting random questions!
I'm a police officer in the uk so I won't be working out there. I'd apply for a career break for 2 years initially so I have that security if I really hate it!
How do you go about organising furniture etc? Assuming we go for unfurnished accommodation.
hi, I'll try and answer for you, look up the expat woman forum too and read through some of the threads on there to give you a picture of what it's like out here.
positives to life here will depend on what you want, what you're used to etc, I'll be flippant and mention the tax free salary, cheap petrol (£15 to fill up a land rover) and sunshine but the negatives also include the extortionate mark ups on imported goods and shopping in general, the eye ball searing heat and humidity from June to October, the awful way people are practically graded according to their nationality, the fact that the people who built the city live in concrete shacks in the middle of the desert, that your salary is directly tiered according to your nationality and not your experience or qualifications etc.... In other words it's not a fair country.
where to live depends entirely on where your husband will be working, traffic is shocking in some parts of the city and whether DD will be going to school? I think people choose school first then choose an area after that.
make sure any offer includes full coverage (including repatriation) medical insurance that covers more than one hospital, flights home for all of you, nursery or school fees (if you can), ask them to pay for shipping so you can bring all your furniture with you, you could ask them to put you in a serviced apartment for a month until you find your feet and decide where you'd like to live... but then if you only want to come with your suitcase we do have an Ikea!
hope that helps a little... for some amusement look up gulf news or the national for some local "news"
A lot of people here on MN don't like Dubai, they equate it to the Daily Mail. A Mrs Gubbins says try one of the local papers for the bizarre local news. 7 days springs to mind. Ignore all the blather about women as second class citizens, yes you will be shocked at the need for a no objection letter from your sponsor (your husband) to get a driving license, bank account etc but you will be happy to do it standing in the ladies queue to speed up service.
IMHO after 6 years here and many trips back I don't think food is as expensive as it was, sometimes on a par with the uk, and def the same price as Australia by all accounts comparing threads on here. Life can appear to outsiders to be vacuous and empty but really it is whatever you make it. Friends of mine have just finished volunteering with the golf -Dubai desert classic, I'm volunteering at the emirates literary festival in March. We have cirque du soliel coming soon, Shakespeare at the local theatre, more sport than you could shake a stick at including polo showjumping, formula 1, marthons, swim around the Burj al arab and loads more.
As for where to live it depends, we have local land and old school expat where I live, chickens roosters and goats on the street, Um Suqeim and Jumeriah, then you have large gated expat communities like Meadows and Arabian Ranches. Then downtown near the Burj Khalifa and of course the newly built apartments in Dubai marina and JLT. It really depends on your husbands job. Do check out expatwoman, and for dd you will need to work on schools ASAP. How old is she?
Regarding family, ds is the only grandchild on either side and yes I do feel a bit guilty but then he goes back regularly, speaks weekly or more by Skype , sadly neither dgp can use a mobile or text.
Yes I know this city was built on the backs of poorly paid labourers so we do support various charities to assist and times are changing, not quickly enough but they are changing. Life is easy with help, people will say it cheap to have a maid but done properly with visa, her flight annually, medical insurance it can be a more expensive cost but fairer. My Filipina maid is lovely and now has 2 homes back in her home country, I on the other hand have 1. It is all relative.
And of course the opportunities to travel are endless, DXB is the 4th busiest hub in the world and we do now have cheap airlines. The world will be your oyster.
Really good feedback here Deep Purple! It's a ' funny old' place I do think it is certainly made easier with extra cash though... Costs rack up easily , utility bills can double on a whim ( In The Ranches) certainly... It's relative... Earn more but spend more. As for family - some people will just never understand other peoples ' wanderlust' or open mindedness to new experiences.
Schools are ridiculously expensive for the quality of education but again - it's across the board. You will find ' adequate' .
Thank you for your replies. I've been having a look on some of the websites. Some people have maids 6 days a week working 6-8 every day? What on earth does the maid do all day?
I'm aware it'll be a massive change. Especially after working all my life then suddenly just being mr purple's wife. I think I can handle that though.
Schooling is a bit of a worry. Dd is 3 so should start school in September 2014. When dh lived there there were only a few schools which were great. Now I suppose it comes down to which you an get in to!
Nursery seems like a worry too. Some of the discussions I've been reading are about having access to CCTV! Are they really that bad? Dd goes to nursery a few days a week at the moment learning numbers, reading, writing etc so ideally I'd like her to carry on. I suppose if I can't find a nursery I like there isn't any real need for one.
My parents have been in dubai years, as has my brother and both his children were born there (3 and 1 year old)
I spend months at a time there and love it.
You need to get good relocation package!furniture allowance etc so that all the kids schooling is paid for, your rent, full family healthcare (BUPA), a flight allowance per year, phone bills, great wage plus good commision rates.
My parents for example live on emirates gold course villas, they have a 3 bed (4 but needed as office) 6 baths, swimming pool and are literally right on gold course and that is 280,000dhs per year (£48 grand) We used to live at The Meadows which is a great area and my brother lives at JBR (jumeriah beach residence)the lakes, springs, emirate hills all good and central but depends where your husbands work is.
Oh and my mum has never had a maid and last villa was even bigger than current one!
My brothers wife has a maid in about 2 times a week though as she has the little ones.
I love it, loads for kids to do and the nightlife and resturants available are amazing, so much so that eating in is a rareity in our home.
My parents have visitors 95% of the year (drives dad a little mad but mum loves the company)
Deep you'd be surprised how reliant some people become on their maids (they are cleaners, babysitters, cooks, dog walkers, car washers) I don't have one, never have and I have 1 dd and about to have another baby. Nurseries are a worry, you get what you pay for, you'd have to visit them obviously, I have friends who travel v far for nursery just to ensure that the staff are British and appropriately qualified. I've chosen not to send Dd to nursery and I worry about schooling constantly as we won't have fees covered by DH work (hoping that will change)
You won't just be Mr Prurples wife unless that's the role you want to play!
I think in the current climate not many people still get the type of package Kelly indicates. We have been here 6 years and have friends across the gamut, from being born here to arriving a few months ago. Medical insurance and an annual flight are compulsory under govt regs. Most people nowadays seem to get an allowance towards housing, ours isn't enough to rent the villa we live in but then our house in the uk is rented so we are covering our costs. We get percentage of school fees, not all and the higher up the school you go the more expensive it gets. I only know one person ho got a furniture allwance. Medical care is quick and excellent. However it does depend on your company. Ours includes dentist, physio and other extras, many don't.
Expatwoman can be scary, most nurseries are excellent, ts like everything there are always exceptions.id you look at schools do not even bother ith JESS it is full for years ahead.
Regarding a maid. I hate cleaning IMHO it is the most thankless task ever. We have had daily, live in, weekly but for the last few years we have a lovely lady come for 2 hours a day. I work full time and I would rather spend time with my ds and dh and visitors than wash floors and ironing. Very much it's what works for you. We have a beautiful garden and outdoor courtyard but inside the house iykwim so the gardener (daily watering is essential) so my maid waters those and the internal plants during holidays.
Previously we lived in meadows and loved it but moved to be next o the beach n umm Suqeim it's a very different way of life but we love opening our door to the beach. It's a more local area so less expats for neighbors and a different type of life but we have loved it all.
yes you will be shocked at the need for a no objection letter from your sponsor (your husband) to get a driving license
True BUT worth pointing out that it's totally possible for a man to be sponsored by his wife, and in that case he needs the NO letter to get a DL etc, so it's not actually sexist- just indicative that most sponsors are men, and most trailing spouses are women.
I lived there for a year (2008-9 so probably not the most fun time to be there) but I did enjoy it. We then moved to Hong Kong.
Re the maid (called helpers in HK, which is probably more indicative of their role) you can get used to FT live-in very quickly. I didnt have a helper in Dubai but do in HK. My helper looks after my two children the 2.5 days I'm working, does all the housework, including laundry and food shopping, looks after our cats, cooks for the children and runs errands (going to dry cleaner/tailor, taxing the car etc- a lot of these things cant be done online). She also takes my son to activities/play dates and pre-school while I take care of my daughter and vice versa. It is a luxury to have the option of childcare on the days I dont work, but it makes life a lot easier with two pre-schoolers.
Agree with all of the above and just wanted to mention regarding your furniture question, there are companies that hire out everything you will need before your shipped stuff arrives - from beds to mops. Dubai is very transient!
We lived in Al Manara for 5.5 yrs and my daughter went to Child's Play nursery, to give you an example to google.
Very hot from Juneto end of Oct
Thank you all so much for your responses. I managed to lose many hours looking at the recommended websites!
Dh is still trying to find out exactly what the relocation package will include but it looks likely that they will only pay a small amount for shipping and no other furniture costs. We don't know yet but it 's likely that they will pay a set amount towards housing and schooling. Dental and medical will be included and some flights each year.
Dh will get a pay rise of around £30k and will also become tax free so even if they don't pay anything towards housing and scholling we think that we should be fine!
I'm getting quite excited now! I just hope he gets the job after all of this!
Thats great news. Just look really carefully at the costs for housing and for schooling. Have you any idea where his job is likely to be? If so we could help with locations so you could look at property with a better idea of cost for what you want. Also we could suggest about schools. ie dont bother with JESS if the company doesnt have a debenture, wait lists are closed to something like 2015 (check the school website for confirmation). Cars and petrol are cheap. Food is about the same as the UK, maybe a bit more. Alcohol is expensive and you must get a licence. Not many companies pay nursery fees and they are hugely expensive by all accounts, almost the same as real school fees.
By the way DS is the only grandchild on both sides. Its hard but we all manage, Skype, visits here and back. Its doable.
Questions, just ask away.
It's a great place in many respects and a really good experience. You have already had a lot of good advice here, I just wanted to add that even if you don't get a furniture allowance (they used to be commonplace but much less so now) don't worry about it. Due to the transient nature of the place, there are always second hand bargains to be had as people move on- best sources of information are word of mouth, some shop boards (Park and Shop in particular) and the Dubizzle website. There is also IKEA at the Dubai Festival City Mall.
Oh, and get all your visitors (as others have mentioned you will get lots) to bring you booze!
I hope you have a ball!
Hi Deep Purple,
We're moving to Dubai at Easter and DH has already started there. Our DCs are reception age (4.7) and due to start Pre-School this year (2.11). To reassure you on schools we expected to have a nightmare finding places - everywhere we looked and anyone we spoke to warned us how hard it would be..... However we've ended up with 3 offers out of 5 applications! All good schools with outstanding KHDA reports so although I'd get applications in I don't think getting a place is as hard as all the 'hype'
In terms of school fees our will be around 80k AED per year for two DCs plus extras for uniforms, activities so it can be expensive even for little ones
We're looking at houses in Springs which is a fairly established expat area - an average 3 bed villa is looking to be 135-140k AED
Our furniture is all being shipped out and we get a serviced apartment for a month when me and DCs arrive.
I would make sure any offer covers most, if not all, your housing and schooling as these are the big costs. Also remember most rentals require you to pay a years rent in advance.....
Good luck! And if you fancy meeting up when there PM me
Thank you all for so much great advice. DH and I are coming out in March. DH for business and me so I can just have a little nosy about! My great sis had already arranged to take Dd away on holiday so I can do as I please for the week! It's so encouraging how wonderful the expats have been on here and on the other expat boards.
OP , if you haven't done already, do look or start posting on Expatwoman Dubai forum....it's a gold mine of info there and nowhere near as scary as Mumsnet.
Not much more to add to all the great advice and no given already, except that you should do your sums very carefully....the upfront/ set up costs are HUGE, so you'll need your dh's company to cover these somehow or you'll need a deep war chest of cash as you will not be able to fund these costs from loans....you need to get your head round post dated cheques and that rent is often in advance for the whole year in one to four post dated cheques....that creates massive cash flow issues.....
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