Possibility of moving to Dubai - Garhoud

(97 Posts)
MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:12:48

DH is in talks for a job in Dubai. Initial indications are a decent enough pay package, but we pay housing and schooling (DD just started Year 1). No initial recon trip (we have visited once before though, and DH was there for couple of months on a project), they will pay family airfare and one month's hotel stay. Anything else we should bear in mind during initial salary discussions?
DH office will be in Garhoud. DD currently goes to outstanding rated state school in UK. There seems to be a 'good' rated school in Garhoud - Cambridge International School. I've read the online reviews, any other experience/ opinions would be vey welcome.
Also what would be a good place to live. We aren't into nightlife etc but do want a nice neighbourhood, with enough to do for kids. We are looking to rent a 3 or 4 bed apartment rather than a villa.
Internet research is on, but would love to hear from others with first-hand experience!

MaryIngalls Thu 12-Sep-13 21:46:28

So finding a house, buying white goods, furnishing it - all has to be squeezed in one month? That too in a completely unknown place. Guess we are just going to have to get on the ball quick!

Winterwardrobetime Thu 12-Sep-13 18:11:06

A month is plenty to find a house/apartment. Moving is a v quick process in Dubai. It can often be done in a week! You'll be fine to find somewhere within a month. (In my experience anyway).

MaryIngalls Thu 12-Sep-13 12:03:44

Oh that's vey helpful...I was mistakenly assuming I can't do much about admissions until I am physically in Dubai.

Given that schooling needs to be sorted first, then housing - both of which will take a bit of time, where do people stay in the meanwhile? DH's employer will put us up for a month but that doesn't sound like long enough. Do people rent service apartments or the like? Or is there a less expensive alternative?

KLdragon Thu 12-Sep-13 02:53:39

Hi Mary good luck with your move . We moved to Dubai mid year (and also moved to KL mid year!) . The most popular schools are all full and you will be waiting for a child to leave to get a place. On the plus side there are quite a few antipideon children who are at British schools and a natural time for them to leave is xmas in line with their new academic school start dates in Jan/Feb so quite a few places should come up at Xmas. It's imperative you get your name down now . It is unlikely you will be offered a place to start earlier than January unless there are places available now (it's very unusual for a child to leave mid term). To retain a place they may ask for a deposit or even full payment of Januarys fees to guarantee the place. Don't worry about the visa schools will offer places without this in place as long as they receive a copy as soon as it is completed.

MacaYoniandCheese Wed 11-Sep-13 20:50:54

Mary From what I've gathered so far, schools all do the mid-year intake thing differently. Mostly, they've told us that they will have a better idea of numbers after the mid-term break but from my understanding they have a certain number of seats allocated for mid-year and/or overseas intake. In the meantime, you can apply (fill out all the forms and get yourself on their applicant pool/waiting list) and/or be arranging for assessment exams to be done (where necessary). You do have to pay for these. After they offer you a seat, you have something like a week or two to pay the first term fees which confirms your place. Or that's how it works with the school we're looking at. Many of the schools have information on their websites about places available for the January term. It's also a good idea to call as I have found that e-mails sometimes take a while to be answered.

We're trying to get the school places sorted and then will try and find somewhere to live afterward. Good Luck!

MaryIngalls Wed 11-Sep-13 14:41:34

Additional question ladies about the school admission process. As of now DD and I plan to join DH in Dubai in Jan. If I call and get DD put on some waitlists now, and they contact us well before Jan to say space is available, is there any way for me to retain that space? Moreover can DD even get admission without having her visa stamped in her passport?

On the flip side, if we land up in Dubai in Jan without a confirmed school space, does that mean she stays out of school until we get a place?

In an ideal world, the gap between UK and Dubai schooling would be kept to a minimum, even if it meant DD and I going later than Jan.

Any suggestions would be very welcome.

MaryIngalls Sun 08-Sep-13 21:36:33

Thanks Jo and WWT, didn't want you to think I was ignoring you, it's been a busy day...

JoandMax Sun 08-Sep-13 04:53:29

Good luck with your move! We've been in Dubai nearly 5 months now and are loving it..........

The biggest headache is sorting schools - we applied for 5 and all we got were tales of woe but in the end got offered 4 places! As my eldest started in the Easter term they could only accept international applications so we got priority over children on the waiting list currently living here. Mine are at JPS which we have found brilliant and they are both very happy there.

In terms of package we get our housing paid and a proportion of schooling and based on DHs monthly salary we're probably not dissimilar to your offer overall - we're not saving anything at the moment as there is a lot of expense to start (we've bought a 2nd car outright, new furniture etc) but we have a great lifestyle, plenty of cash to go out and do nice things and I think will start saving in the next 6 months.

I use a maid agency for a cleaner and ironer twice a week - shes brilliant so I tip quite a lot but it costs 300aed a week.

We live in Springs and our 3 bed villa (good sizes plus big garden and 2 communal pools) was 150000aed, I think they're going for around 165000 now though.

But mostly we love the outdoor lifestyle, even though its very very hot we go to the pool everyday, my boys are great swimmers now! There are play centres everywhere (and considerably cleaner and nicer than UK ones) so a 9.5 week summer holiday flew by, I'd have struggled with 6 weeks in UK...........

I've made lovely friends, Expatwoman have lots of coffee mornings around the city. Everyone is friendly and willing to help, service is great, everywhere is child friendly, I really haven't missed home at all so far.

In terms of decorating/curtains - you will find there is someone somewhere who can do anything for you in Dubai!! There's goof facebook groups and expatwoman forum so if you ask for recommendations you'll always get a good response.

Winterwardrobetime Sat 07-Sep-13 21:16:38

I would say that as most villas are established now, the putting in of gardens is much more rare now. Villas in DSO used to have this silly term that said you had to take up the garden when you left. Whether this is the case now I have no idea. A villa without a garden already done now will be unusual but still possible. Or if you are taking over from a tenant who put it in, they may very well take some if it with them. Just keep if in mind that that amazing pergola or the like may not be included.

Hardly anyone would attempt to 'do work' themselves. Labour for decorating etc is cheap but finding someone is more tricky. Expatwoman will be your friend again.

Curtains, these are unlikely to be included. You will have to sort these. There are curtain men galore who will come to the house with a shed load of samples, then return a few days later and put them up. Ikea is your other option, or perhaps dragon mart (a huge market out of town where you can get ANYTHING, but not always best quality).

It sounds daunting, its not. But things are different so it's just good to be aware of the differences in renting from the UK.

MaryIngalls Sat 07-Sep-13 15:45:25

Hi MacaYoni, good luck for your move, come back after you visit and tell us everything! Really WWT, set up a garden and finally reduce all to sand? A lot of learning here! On the painting and decorating front, I know I am venturing into the frivolous, less important issues here, but wondering if people hire interior decorators or the like out there? Wondering if we should rent some sort of service apartment for a couple of months while we sort out house, furniture, furnishings, white goods etc.

Winterwardrobetime Sat 07-Sep-13 14:06:27

Really Barbie. No one I knew had white goods. I guess OP it's something to keep in mind. Some do, some don't. But it isbt standard so dont be surprised if tgey arent included. Wish we hasn't needed to. Selling my washing machine was really stressful due to no shows etc!!

It might be worth mentioning too that a lot of properties are very happy for you to make your mark as long as you put it back. Painting and decorating is acceptable.

And gardens too. Is it still the case that in DSO you have to return the garden to sand when you vacate? (DSO is an area of Dubai OP) Putting a garden in can be pricey OP so make sure you are getting the garden you see. It's rare these days as most properties are established, but we had to put a garden in as we moved into a new build (grass,patio, irrigation etc) and it added up.

MacaYoniandCheese Sat 07-Sep-13 13:57:31

Hi Mary. Just thought I'd pop in and say hello because we're moving to Dubai in January too (from Canada). We're going over in a couple of weeks for a look-see so feel free to PM me if you want to chat about anything. I'm in the midst of arranging for school places for our three children which is slightly panic-inducing shock.

Thanks to all the ladies on this thread and others for all the helpful information flowers.

MaryIngalls Fri 06-Sep-13 23:20:54

We are English by residence not by birth if that makes sense. So no family here, but this is definitely home now...been here for almost a decade now. Yes will need to treat it as a holiday in its own right, maybe use that time to visit places in Europe where we haven't been yet, or travel within UK.
Thanks for the tips re maids.

Barbie1 Fri 06-Sep-13 23:04:16

Hi again.

Re maids/ help whatever is the pc thing to call them...we used an agency called helping hands. You pay per hour and just book a slot for whenever you need them. Works out to about £5 an hour for general cleaning duties.

They are very thorough and efficient. I also used to tip them as they give all the money to the agency.

Re the white goods, ours and most of my friends places in the springs, lakes and meadows came with white goods, never had to buy any of that.

Ah the returning home question. It's hard, going home was always good but never felt like a holiday iyswim? With so many fantastic destinations closer to you in the UAE it will probably be cheaper to go to the Maldives/ Singapore then go home! However when you do go home decided whether you want to class it as a holiday in which case don't stay with family!

We always rented a apartment in our home town so still maintain the freedom

Winterwardrobetime Fri 06-Sep-13 16:33:59

If you don't want live in help then you have to use an agency. 'Part time' maids you see advertised are illegal (unless there has been a massive change in the law in the last few months, they were talking about making part time legal)

Re summer, we used to stay with my family. Car hire over the summer ends up pretty costly too. Not everyone leaves though, but its true a lot do.

MaryIngalls Fri 06-Sep-13 11:21:01

On a completely different note, I understand there's a mass exodus among the expats to their home countries in the summer. Given that we are renting out our UK house, for us that would mean hotels or Butlins etc. Is anyone else in the same situation, if so what do you do?

MaryIngalls Fri 06-Sep-13 11:18:04

Thanks Samuel, will wait for your pm

MaryIngalls Fri 06-Sep-13 11:17:13

I do want help but preferably not live in. Not sure how that works. Are agencies the only way, or do people hire based on word of mouth recommendations? Not sure if it matters, but what nationalities are the maids/ cleaners usually?

Winterwardrobetime Fri 06-Sep-13 11:04:37

Almost everyone uses Dubizzle. There is a odd law about how you can sell stuff. Ie you can't put a for sale sign in your car as you often see here. Dubizzle us going to be your friend if you want to do 2nd hand. Expatwoman has a classifieds too.

You need to think about a maid too. Most people go saying they won't have one, almost everyone ends up with one. It needs to be a consideration in property as to whether you need a maids room (most properties have one).

MaryIngalls Fri 06-Sep-13 10:56:52

Oh I didn't realise that! I just assumed white goods will already be there. Thanks for warning me. Will definitely look out for second hand ones once I reach there. Will leave my own white goods here in the UK as plan to rent out the house to cover the mortgage payments.
I am guessing/ hoping aside from Dubizzle etc people put notices up in apartment blocks when selling stuff.

samuelwhiskers Fri 06-Sep-13 10:56:48

Mary - I will PM you about schools.

Winterwardrobetime Fri 06-Sep-13 10:12:43

Just another thought as it comes to me, most rental properties don't come with white goods so you will need to get a fridge, oven, washing machine. There are loads 2nd hand on Dubizzle as everyone is mostly in the same boat. But this is normal, unlike renting in th UK where white goods normally are provided in an 'unfurnished' property.

MaryIngalls Fri 06-Sep-13 09:28:24

Thanks so much Samuel, I love MN... I couldn't have got so much useful information in a month of internet research! The plan as of now is for DH to go in December and go and see schools (I will call them up within the next week, and get place on waitlist) and houses. DD and I will join him in Jan, hopefully school place will be in place by then.

samuelwhiskers Fri 06-Sep-13 06:58:37

Congrats Mary! You will love it after all the initial frustrating start up hassles. Mirdiff looks good for commute time and schools. It really is worth bearing this in mind for your DH as roads can be horrendous.

The only things that I found difficulty in buying were nice sheets and duvet covers - The White company there was hideously expensive but there is Ikea. Any electrical stuff is very cheap so don't worry about taking worn out stuff. We just took toys and bought everything else although it didn't feel like home for a bit without our stuff. It looks as though you could be there for a long time so perhaps you should have a massive declutter and take the rest.

Make sure you choose a nice area where there is a pool for your DD. We met friends through our community pool and at school. There are loads of after school activities too.

Oh yes, you will need a jumper, cardigans. One morning it was 14 degrees doing the school run and we had the heating on in the car!

MaryIngalls Thu 05-Sep-13 13:10:52

Oh that's brilliant! I am feeling increasingly better about this. Thanks ladies.

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