Possible move to Dubai, possibly quite soon. Anyone out there with good advice on areas for families, schools, life in general?

(292 Posts)
Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 09:28:49

DP (about to be DH) is in final stages of interview for a senior role in Dubai. Assuming he gets it, I believe I will be a quick turnaround so potentially we would be over there in July. Therefore I have been researching schools, areas etc and so far potentially can get the kids into Repton, with a view to living at Arabian Ranches or Villa Project. Anyone done this, and can give some advice? I know schooling can be a huge issue (with 3 kids this is my primary concern). Have been on expat woman etc and opinions seem to vary wildly so am looking for UK based ladies views if anyone can comment? Thanks

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 09:31:40

Oh and please no 'Why would you want to move to Dubai' comments please! We are potentially being offered an amazing opportunity, great package etc we want to start a new life there aand will definitely go if its offered to us.

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 09:33:21

Should say we are currently in the UK, very little family here so leaving wont be hard from that perspective.

GinAndToast Thu 08-May-14 11:39:37

Me too, ditto to almost everything (apart from the fact I only have 2 DC)
DH should find out imminently, and the plan would also be to move out in the summer...
Expat woman seems less well organised than mumsnet, which I am finding frustrating, although I am reading as much as I can on there.
No
Idea as to schools either. It all seems rather stressful thinking about it. I have loads of maps open on different tabs trying to work out distances and then look at each school website...

GinAndToast Thu 08-May-14 11:46:06

PS you will get married before you go? It's awfully tricky I think if you don't. We are but I don't use the same surname and DH had to produce our marriage certificate... Think I will try and change my passport before we go, if we go.

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 12:35:42

Hi Gin
(Great name by the way). How funny you are in the same situation - hope our men aren't interviewing for the same job!!!
In answer to your question re marriage yes will be getting married before we go, if we go as have been engaged for 18 months and waiting for my decree nisi to come through hopefully in the next week or 2 ( vvvv long divorce process nightmare but that's a whole different story!)
What areas and schools are you looking at? Repton have places, I approached JESS but that's a definite no, gems Wellington at silicon oasis haven't replied to my email and I have this morning emailed the new international school opening this sept (called Nord Anglia). All near arabian ranches and villa project area I believe ??! I hope that's right anyway.
Let me know how you get on and anyone else with advice I'd love to hear from you

GinAndToast Thu 08-May-14 12:53:46

I hope they are not going for the same job too grin

I am going to start directly contacting schools on Sunday I think, start of new week and hopefully we should know by then...

Repton don't have spaces in either of my DC year groups though which is a pain!

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 13:12:18

Ah well it can't be the same job then as we won't know for sure that quickly! All indications v positive tho, hence his post - my fingers are crossed for successful outcomes all round!

Good luck with the schools, it seems a minefield and I want my 3 all at the same school (mixture of primary and secondary age children) so that's narrowing my options somewhat.

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 13:13:12

This post not his post!

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 13:18:53

Oh and yes to expat woman being difficult to navigate. Lots of conflicting opinions about schools from people who don't even appear to actually have a child enrolled at that particular school! I was awake until 4 am the other night trying to make sense of it. Not good. I am unreasonably excited about the whole thing though (not just because I would love a swimming pool and the kids would love the water park and giant aquariums!)

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 15:18:36

Just downloaded the fees for the new Nord Anglia school in Al Barsha. 65000 each a year for my 2 littlest and 75000 for my eldest. Erm no I think not for a new school with an unproven academic record?!

CluelessCrapParent Thu 08-May-14 15:28:25

It all sounds very exciting. Yes Expat Woman Dubai forum would be my go to forum for getting answers.

I hope you've looked into rent costs, schooling costs and cost of living.
I would also recommend that you do a spreadsheet for your cashflow for the first year. The (hidden) upfront set up costs are horrendous and could break you if you didn't do the sums properly.

All the best!

SteveBrucesNose Thu 08-May-14 15:44:00

Do you know whereabouts in dubai your DH will be based? Commuting is a bastard, to be quite frank. having said that, my DH commutes from Abu Dhabi to just near mall of the emirates every day that's the biggest thing about where to live - the closer the better if there's a decent estate nearby.

I really like the estate at ranches, walkable to the golf club who have a fab Belgian pub. Don't know much about the villa.

Gin - I wouldn't worry about changing your passport - it's only westerners who change their name and I actually got queried by an Abu Dhabi policeman on why I'd changed my name. As long as you're married and get your documents properly attested, that's all that matters. If you're being sponsored and are sponsoring children, even if you have the same name you always need the marriage certificate anyway.

Will you two be working? Other than the exorbitant cost of schooling, one big reason lots of people go home is through the trailing spouse being bored and homesick. I know that sounds sexist, but I know that's life here. It can get very lonely unless you're either working or throw yourself into community stuff. There's plenty of it around too

Saminthemiddle Thu 08-May-14 15:45:51

We used to live in Dubai so fire away your questions. We lived in Arabian Ranches and my DC went to JPS in Jumeriah which we were very happy with. Repton has a good reputation too. It was a nightmare to enrol in schools and in the end I phoned a few registrars. The good thing is that you are going in the summer holidays and lots of expats leave then, so there should be more spaces in schools. However, I don't think the lack of school places has changed since we lived there. It can be a nightmare, forget JESS in the Ranches as you will never get in unless your company has a debenture. Don't discount schools in Jumeriah because you can get there fairly easily by car from Arabian Ranches.

Life is great for children in Dubai, Arabian Ranches has community pools, tennis courts, basket ball courts, parks, cycle tracks etc and lots of possibilities for tennis lessons, after school football at JESS etc etc. They tend to make lots of friends in the parks and pools.

However, when we lived in Dubai, it was also one of the most frustrating places to live. One part of me was pleased to leave and the other, not, as our DC loved it. It will be a positive experience though but check your package is "good enough". School fees are high, utility bills high (especially electricity and water), rents on their way up again but cars and petrol, going out etc good value.

Nothing to add here, but immensely jealous. I want to head back to the ME on our next assignment.

preschoolmusic Thu 08-May-14 15:57:20

"Oh and please no 'Why would you want to move to Dubai' comments please! We are potentially being offered an amazing opportunity, great package etc we want to start a new life there aand will definitely go if its offered to us."

So you're happy accepting a job to go to a place with appalling human rights and which routinely employs slave labour.

www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/johann-hari/the-dark-side-of-dubai-1664368.html

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7985361.stm

Just saying.

mateysmum Thu 08-May-14 16:06:48

We lived in the Ranches too Sam - in Savannah and then Saheel!! Having previously lived in Jumeirah and thinking I'd hate the Ranches, I really loved it. DS was at JESS AR, so that helped, but there is a good community there. The Ranches Ladies group always met at the Golf Club on Tuesday mornings and assuming this is still the case, it is a great way to get to know people. The villas there are relatively new so in better shape than much of Jumeirah. The Villa is even newer, and a little bit further out though closer to Repton. Both are very convenient for the airport too.

The road network from the Ranches is excellent too especially since they removed the roundabout of death at the Al Khail Road junction. You can be anywhere in Dubai in 20-30mins, so although it is a bit of a drive, the Jumeirah schools are perfectly accessible if Repton etc don't work out.

What age are your DC's?

If you go in July, you will find the city quieter than normal. Yes a lot more people stay during the summer now, but most people will still leave once school finishes to get out of the heat and go to their home countries.

Do check out previous threads on here and on expatwoman about costs of living in Dubai. What seems like a generous tax free package from a UK perspective can be quickly eaten up by set up costs like a year's rent in advance, school fees in advance, buying a car etc. Utilities are very expensive - about the only thing that is cheaper is cars and petrol!

Totally agree with what Sam says.

mateysmum Thu 08-May-14 16:10:42

arabianranchesladies.com/

Here is the link with a picture of my ex neighbour Carole.

Hi Desert and Gin,

I live in Dubai, and live and teach in Arabian Ranches. I used to live in The Villa, so have experience of both areas. Please feel free to PM me if you have particular questions. I have 3 children - 16, 13 and 11 and they absolutely love it out here.

Dubai is on the up again: roads are increasingly busy and schools are increasingly full. The Nord Anglia school you mention in Al Barsha is picking up many staff from an established school our here, and there are loads of schools opening so you should have several to choose from.

Life here is good (although too hot at the moment) and there are worse places we could be, even though it's probably not where we'd choose to live if we had the choice.

Saminthemiddle Thu 08-May-14 18:44:38

Matey - ooooh, the lovely Carole smile Agree that the coffee mornings are a way to meet friends and chat and learn about Dubai.

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 20:03:38

Hi and thank you for all your lovely replies (apart from the inevitable lady who decided to have a go at me for moving somewhere I want to go, for a new life, when we have had a dreadful 5 yrs in the UK and want to start afresh - thanks for your input but I really don't need it - and made it very clear I didn't want those kinds of comments! We have our own reasons for choosing Dubai for our new life and feel its a great opportunity for us and our children). Enough said. 'Just saying'.
However the input from the rest of the posts is really helpful. Yes we have looked into costs of living, rent, cars, schooling and we will be fine financially we think as the package on offer will cover things with a good bit left over for a life plus savings.
Good to know commuting times. The job would be in Media City. I will take a couple of months to get us and kids settled in then look for a job as am used to working.
Any more positive feedback or advice will be gratefully received.

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 20:09:02

Oh and any more thoughts on Repton? I have been told they can take all 3 of my kids subject to assessments but would welcome alternatives to consider. Gems Wellington hasn't replied, but any views on that or on any of the other new schools opening would be great. Thanks

OldFarticus Thu 08-May-14 20:09:45

Moved here 2 and a bit years ago - loved every minute, no regrets at all! It's particularly good for kids - I can honestly say I have not met a single person who has regretted their decision to leave the UK and move here.

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 20:12:07

And I don't know yet if the company have a JESS debenture but even if they do I gather that's no guarantee of a space? Why is that school so popular? It doesn't look much better than some of the others? (Baffled)

Desertrunner Thu 08-May-14 20:14:33

OldFarticus - that's great to hear you are so happy in Dubai! Do you work / have kids at school? Whereabouts are you living? Is there anything particular you would recommed?

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