How did you make the decision to move overseas?

(32 Posts)
suebfg Tue 18-Dec-12 20:58:20

We are finding it near impossible to make the decision either way. DH has a job offer in Dubai. Every day, I am procrastinating and swinging from yes to no and back again. I want an adventure but worry about schools, what life will really be like (DH will be travelling 4 days a week), not being able to work. I also worry about having regrets if we turn it down.

I am tying myself up in knots about it. Any thoughts?

misscph1973 Tue 18-Dec-12 21:08:00

Go for it! You are hardly the first expat in the world, and if you don't like it, you make another decision.

barnet Tue 18-Dec-12 21:13:15

We flipped a coin! We had never been to the country before, had a 2 yr old, and one on the way. You know before the coin comes down whether one of the decisions is unacceptable. Our coin said move. We are settled here forever now!

MistyB Tue 18-Dec-12 21:24:10

I think you have to look at all positives and negatives and know what they mean for you. I think you really need to want the move and know that through it all, the benefits out weigh the downsides so you can remind yourselves when it is not looking so rosy.

BestestBrownies Tue 18-Dec-12 22:15:01

Be thorough with your research on the country and then make a properly informed decision. Obvious plus points to Dubai are the lavish lifestyle (if that kind of thing floats your boat), great social life, outdoor sports (but only really in winter), excellent schooling, great kids facilities, amazing food, very friendly and welcoming Brit expat community etc etc etc.

On the negative side, you won't be able to work if you're only there on a spousal visa, it will be an uphill battle preventing your DC becoming spoilt, entitled brats and even if you don't feel it at first, there's a real 'keeping up with the joneses' attitude amongst most of the expat community.

Also (and this is the major dealbreaker for me), you'd better know your husband inside-out and trust him 110% because he has ALL the legal rights and power once you're resident. He wants to shack up with a younger model and take full custody of the kids? He can. And he can get you kicked out of the country if you make a fuss. Or just leave you penniless (remember the part about not being able to work?) so you're forced beg family/friends for your airfare to come back to the UK alone anyway.

I don't mean to piss on your chips btw. It's just that this story happens so regularly and the women involved never have a clue how totally powerless and devoid of legal rights they are in Dubai/the Emirates until it's too late and they're trying desperately to get support or help from the UK govornment to be able to see their kids again.

SuoceraBlues Tue 18-Dec-12 22:25:18

I stuck a pin in a map with my eyes shut and just went. But it was pre kids/second marriage and I was in my twenties.

Mind you, with these things sometimes the only thing you can do is hold your nose and jump while hopeing the water isn't cold. Making sure you have a towel to hand if you need to spring back out again whilst making horrified spluttery noises.grin

If you are worried about schools in the area you'll be going to there are always options like InterHigh and BriteSchool. I luff InterHigh, the schools in my neck of the woods are shite, and I think we might have had to seriously think about moving away from here if I hadn't found an alternative that worked for DS.

You take take a peek at life as an expat by peeking at the disussions in place specific expat forums.

If you didn't like it once you were there and had given it a fair old try, how hard would it be to come back again ? Would your husband be locked into a fixed term contract beofre he could opt out again and go home to a job with the same company ?

SuoceraBlues Tue 18-Dec-12 22:30:01

But having read Brownies post I'm not entirely sure I like the sound of how things work in that particular place.

MerryChristMoose Tue 18-Dec-12 22:42:41

DHs place of work was up for sale. He saw the advert for a job in Canada and we agreed he should apply. After two telephone interviews they flew us both out to Canada for a week, during which he had various interviews, tests etc.

They offered him the job at the end of that week. Both my parents are deceased. My only sister and his mother both initially shocked but very supportive. Six figure salary, joining bonus, contribution to house purchase, paid for our belongings to be shipped over.

We took the view that such opportunities do not come along very often. We haven't looked back!

rosiesmartypants Tue 18-Dec-12 22:53:27

We made the decision overnight (we moved to the USA on a temporary basis with my DH's work).

One thing I would say is get all benefits, salary, allowances in writing before you go (and possibly before you make the decision), and get it included as part of the contract - we've had our fingers well and truely burnt on this one!

Consider impact of different tax rates/ changes in exchange rates/ health care costs and what is being covered.

We've had a great time here, but it wasn't without teething troubles, that could all have been sorted out up front!

Chinateacup Tue 18-Dec-12 23:17:06

Go for it. You can always come home if it doesn't work out. But if you don't try you may always regret .... Go! Grow!

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 19-Dec-12 01:51:46

You can work in Dubai on a spousal visa - you just need to get a letter of no objection from your sponsor (in this case, your husband).

suebfg Wed 19-Dec-12 08:01:58

I wouldn't be able to work because of the school hours in Dubai and DH's travel commitments - it just isn't practical.

I completely trust DH - that is no concern at all for me but I would refuse to participate in any sort of 'keeping up with the Jones's'. Maybe that would rule me out of a lot of expat social circles, not sure.

If DH wouldn't have to travel so much, it would be an easier decision. But the reality is that I would be on my own a lot in a new country and I don't know how I would feel about that.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Wed 19-Dec-12 08:25:17

Wow - with Dubai and kids I wouldn't say "just go for it" - it is a big decision with a lot to think about.

We moved to Germany with a toddler and one on the way and only had 1 week to decide whether to take the offer or not, and then only 4 weeks til DH had to start the job (it was within the company he then worked for, but we stayed on when the company later made him redundant here - the move was always going to be permanent if we made it at all). Although we made the decision fast it was something we had considered previously and DH is German, so really a totally different decision.

People do regret the move, it can be a golden opportunity but it can also be horribly lonely. When you have school age children it's not great to just jump in unthinking IMO... Brownie's information would really concern me if thinking of a move to Dubai no matter how solid your marriage seems now, you never absolutely 100% know somebody to the marrow of their bones, and you never know totally how a new situation might gradually change them - and you, so that you might not be the confident, strong equal partner they see you as now, and the balance might shift without either of you realising...

Sorry, no help, but I think you are right to be thinking long and hard about it - go for it is great advice to a young free and childless 20 something, but its reckless not to weigh things up and do all the research you can, once kids are part of the equation IMO.

LadybirdsAreFab Wed 19-Dec-12 08:34:20

We are in Dubai. I had our DD here and she is not a spoilt brat and we don't have a lavish lifestyle. We live well but we are saving as well (the original point of being here). We are definatly here for another 3 years.

We have been here 11 years and for the first time I went to a lavish brunch (done cheap ones) this year. Yes some people go every week but its not the law. We have our friends, we have dinner parties, we go to the park & beach in the Winter, we go to the malls in the Summer. Schools can be a problem but it depends on what age your children are and where you live.

Do your research, email the schools to find out about availability. Is your husbands company covering school fees? Are they giving you a housing allowance? Are they giving you an advance on salary to pay all the deposits you have to pay?

PM me if you want more information.

suebfg Wed 19-Dec-12 08:51:10

The financial side is fine - the package is a good expat package with all the allowances.

Schooling has always been a concern as I don't think we will realistically get as good a school as the one we are at in the UK. It is an outstanding independent prep. If something comparable exists in Dubai, then from what I understand, we wouldn't get in there anyway due to long waiting lists.

The main concern though is DH's travel requirements as despite the sunny weather, good package etc, we will be apart more as a family.

Easy for us ... Either move with job or stay without job grin

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 19-Dec-12 12:58:16

OP apologies- thought you were saying you weren't allowed to work, as in your visa wouldn't allow it

Re. keeping up with the Jones's, there really is no need. Obviously there are some flashy twats out there, as there are anywhere, and possibly the Dubai "twat count per capita" is slightly higher than the global average, but there are also tonnes of normal people just getting on with life. Similarly, there are some bratty kids, as there are everywhere, but the nice people tend to have nice kids, and you won't be hanging out with the twatty ones.

Similarly, the lifestyle is lavish by UK standards, but then from your OP you sound like you're probably in a high income bracket anyway, so there's nothing that's going to seem crazy to you (apart from the locals and their stretch Hummers, but they're a whole world apart- we're all "povs" to them)

Re the other stuff, if Dh shacks up with a younger model you can call the cops and have him arrested because it's illegal. I know someone it happened to. He got let out after a few days but only because his local boss bailed his sorry arse. That's not to say that issues don't arise, but the people who run into trouble are usually married to locals- now that can be a problem

I agree that schools are your main concern. They don't have a reputation for being value for money by global standards. Whilst perfectly adequate, you are probably right to assume that they wont be as good as where your son is now. If you're not okay with that, don't go.

Similarly, your DH traveling all week. On the one hand, at least you wont be stuck in at night, because you'll have help to babysit, and there are a lot of women in your position, but I know what you mean when you say it's not an ideal situation having to go out to get adult company when you'd quite like to just chew over the day over dinner at home.

Do you mind if I ask how financially advantageous the move to Dubai would be? Is that a massive consideration here?

suebfg Wed 19-Dec-12 14:35:16

Finances aren't the biggest consideration. The package would enable me not to have to work but then most of the time I do like working and the independence that brings.

We have been pondering a move overseas for a while now - an adventure for a few years rather than emigrating. But there are some issues with this particular move - the standard of the schools and DH's travel. I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving DS in the care of a maid/babysitter in a strange country - I've never done it here never mind abroad.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Wed 19-Dec-12 15:00:32

sue the move doesn't sound right for you IMO - if a lot of your own sense of identity and self worth comes from working, plus you are used to having your DH home each evening, there is going to be a huge paradigm shift if you take the move, and if you are left feeling isolated and lacking adult company or don't actively want to be a SAHM you may well be unhappy, and that will impact on your children and your marriage. If you are simply looking for an adventure and don't need to move or risk having no income, and won't benefit financially much, then hold out for a move better suited to your family. If you want to work, don't take a move that will mean you can't, if the travel is a big worry, don't take a job offer that requires it to such an extent. If you are happy with your children's school why take a move that will see them in a worse one without other compensating factors.

If you have the luxury of choice here I think this one is probably not right for you.

On the other hand I am only reading a couple of internet posts and basing my opinion on that, and may have misjudged the situation utterly grin

What are your positive reasons for considering this particular move, rather than just the theoretical concept of living abroad for a bit?

I agree with the grinch, there doesn't seem to be an upside for you moving to Dubai .... Dh will be traveling, you can't work, don't want to leave ds with a babysitter (so no social life even when dh is there), schools are probably not much better and there is no huge financial advantage. What do you see as the advantages to this proposed move?

IMHO, Dubai isn't really an adventure as much as other locations (I used to live in Dubai) as expats don't really get to immerse themselves into emirati culture as such....

pupsiecola Wed 19-Dec-12 15:13:18

Lots of good advice already, but what strikes me is that maybe Dubai isn't right for your adventure. Maybe this is part of the process of figuring out where you want to be/don't want to be... maybe there's something more suitable out there somewhere else.

suebfg Wed 19-Dec-12 17:46:45

Thanks. Just to answer a few questions ... I am used to DH being away .. he is away quite a lot but not 4 days every week - it is more scattered than that. Maybe no travel for a few weeks and then away a fortnight. The difference is that when he is away, I am in an established situation, in an area I know.

I do like working but my job is ending soon and I think I will struggle to find one that has been as flexible as my current job. So even in the UK I may be forced to be a SAHM and then our income will be halved.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 20-Dec-12 04:49:05

I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving DS in the care of a maid/babysitter in a strange country - I've never done it here never mind abroad.

Seriously- don't go. Pretty much everyone else will be doing this, so you are going to have no social life if your DH is away and you won't use babysitters or let your helper (new word for maid) babysit. Even at weekends you'll find people leaving their kids with the helper for a few hours to go to a brunch/ go shopping/ go to the gym/ play golf/tennis etc. You may well feel differently when you get there- the helper will, after all, be living in your house so you'll know them very well, but if you don't use babysitters now, then you possibly won't.

I just don't see any upside in it for you.

FellatioNelson Thu 20-Dec-12 05:02:50

PMSL at 'twat count per capita' grin

I think it really depends on what kind of person you are, at heart. If your DH is going to be traveling for large chunks of every week you are likely to feel very lonely and isolated if you DO NOT take advantage of all the benefits of (relatively) cheap live-in childcare, and the huge socializing opportunities. If you are the type who is a home-bird and really misses her mum, and her best friend round the corner you could have a tough time settling.

It's best approached with a hung-ho attitude and a very open mind. Some people absolutely love it in the Gulf, and some get very low indeed and turn to drink. Dubai is a rather different game of soldiers to the smaller, slightly more old-school and cosy places, like Qatar, where I am.

To make the push and give up a currently stable job there really need to be some real sweeteners in this, like can you save shedloads? Will it help your long-term plans for security? Otherwise, if you are not at all disillusioned with your current lifestyle/careers then you may find you stand to lose and much as you gain.

FellatioNelson Thu 20-Dec-12 05:04:18

when I say 'smaller' I don't necessarily mean smaller in size, just smaller in feel!

FellatioNelson Thu 20-Dec-12 05:04:40

Ooh eer missus. confused

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 20-Dec-12 05:07:56

Bit early to be on the sherry, isn't it Fellatio? (hope you've got an alcohol license for that) grin

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 20-Dec-12 05:17:36

Sue The other thing to be aware of re using or not using helpers, is that if your son goes to play dates, it's totally possible that the other mum won't be there and the kids will be supervised by their helper (possibly in conjunction with yours, depending on kids ages and if it's outside the home- e.g. at soft play). That is totally normal. It's actually even more common in HK where there are fewer SAHMs (less so in Singapore I believe). I'm in HK and sometimes I let my helper take my son to stuff even if I'm free just because if she doesn't, he'd miss an opportunity to hang out with his friends because a group of them have arranged to go to soft play with the helpers.

Everyone goes to these places thinking they won't get a helper, and if they do, she'll only do housework, and one day they wake up and realise that they're a SAHM with a FT nanny.

As someone said on another thread, in a way you have to "sign up or sign out"

Totally agree with sign up or sign out, great way to put the whole expat experience.

suebfg Thu 20-Dec-12 07:00:32

I'm not the type to miss family over here. I have spent time abroad before on my own. I'm not a big socialiser at all. I need my own space and I'd be more likely to totter around on my own, sign up to an Arabic course or something such like. But my immediate family are really important to me and I want my DS to have lots of little friends. SO I'd socialise for that purpose really with other like minded Mums - if any exist in Dubai. Not so sure from the sound of it.

FellatioNelson Thu 20-Dec-12 10:53:20

Oh don't get bogged down in that old Jumeirah Jane stereotype about Dubai. Yes, it's a bit like the very expensive, showy bits of Cheshire or Essex in places; WAGS and trophy wives dressed up to the nines and out on the town purely to be seen with the best handbag, but honestly, they represent a very visible minority, much as they do in the UK. There are loads of extremely normal, well-balanced, non-rich, non-shallow people just getting on with their lives.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 20-Dec-12 11:28:48

There are loads of extremely normal, well-balanced, non-rich, non-shallow people just getting on with their lives.

Absolutely, but most of them (especially those with more than one child) do have helpers and use them for childcare so if the OP is never going to let her child be supervised by a helper, that will limit the child's social life to an extent, in terms of play dates etc. I guess I'm just trying to explain how the typical SAHM lifestyle is different to that in the Uk where most SAHM's are with their kids 24/7 and do most of their socialising with them in tow.

I'd compare the OP's situation to moving to the Alps if you hate skiing. I just don't think Dubai is for her.

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