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!

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:18:26


Having lived in Dubai for four years I would make sure health insurance is included in your package. Everywhere is private, except a few 'local' hospitals that most expats avoid for whatever reason.

The palm is a good place for apartments but there aren't any supermarkets on it so you have to drive to do a weekly shop.

The marina offers apartments and has a waitrose for convince.

The springs, meadows and lakes offer good expat communities with pools and health clubs.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:21:43

Sorry the iPad is changing spellings and grammar! Sorry for the typos.

Be careful with the housing, most landlords want the years rent up front, although a few will take pre dated checks. The school fees are high too so it's imperative the salary offered is in fact enough!

Our package included.

House rent paid.
Company car
Fight home
Health insurance for entire family.
Private schooling paid from 2 years
Relocation allowance

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:22:01

Thanks Barbie, good tip about health insurance. Do employers usually pay to ship stuff over? Don't mind driving for weekly shop, not too far though smile

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:24:21

We had a 40ft container paid to ship our stuff. Most company's ask you not to take furniture and will often only supply 20ft container, hence them giving you a relocation allowance to buy essentials

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:25:40

You will want them to pay for the 'paperwork' and visa etc. YOu will need a medical before the visa is granted, again the company should arrange and pay for this

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:28:04

Sorry, I'm posting as I remember things!

The main thing is to sort out schooling. The process can be long and very expensive.

Look at the better homes web page for rental properties

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:28:17

Barbie - is this kind of package still offered? In other words has yours been in place for a while now? We've been told in current economic climate it's hard to get packages like those anymore.

Our current offer as it stands has:

House rent paid
Company car
Flight home
Health insurance for entire family
Private schooling paid from 2 years
Pension - not sure
Relocation allowance Furnishing allowance

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:31:08

Sorry I realise am cross-posting, responding as we go along. No not planning to ship any furniture, but after 13 years of marriage and 5 years in current home, I expect personal stuff will be a fair amount too.
At some point in the future will touchbase re where to shop to furnish house ;) Currently more worried about the realities of the actual move.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:33:17

The truth is I don't really know.

We had that when we relocated there 5 years ago.

Within the five years so many people left and few got replaced. If we stayed we would of had to go onto a local contract.

Dubai is seen as a desirable location, so they can generally get people there without all the extras like they used to promise.

We have just relocated to South Korea, we get the same as before but even more.

I would still push for more, especially the health care as it will cripple you. Every doctor visit will set back about £100 before extra treatments. My hospital bill for my c section came to £7595. Thankfully I had the magic card which they just swiped and sent me on my way wink

samuelwhiskers Tue 03-Sep-13 13:34:24

Hi, I would concentrate on finding a nice place to live with not a bad commute to your DH's office in Garhoud, then look at schools in that area. There are many nice expat areas with schools nearby such as Mirdiff, International city area, Arabian Ranches, Springs, Marina etc. Perhaps google rentals to see how much they are as usually they are paid a year in advance or four signed cheques.

Factor in the school fees, medical insurance, a car (or two) and see if the package your DH's employer offers is feasible. I think it is cheaper to buy stuff out there tbh, there is Ikea which delivers and assembles everything, plus shops such as Home Centre. I don't think it is worth shipping big stuff, perhaps some boxes with your DC's toys.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:35:43

Have you checked out the rents yet? We had to give a cheque for 33,000 gbp for a years rent. thankfully we didn't have to fork that amount from our own money shock

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:38:03

Dubai isn't all that big. I'm going to say schooling is the major issue so sort that first and find your apartment after.

Winterwardrobetime Tue 03-Sep-13 13:38:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

samuelwhiskers Tue 03-Sep-13 13:38:28

Just read your posts about the packages - when we relocated to Dubai some years ago we got the full package but I have heard that is rare now. I agree with Barbie that you need good health insurance. Also don't underestimate bills - our DEWA bill was enormous, really quite shocking and it is a country where you can't turn down the air-conditioning!

samuelwhiskers Tue 03-Sep-13 13:41:32

agree with starting with advice via expatwoman and looking at schools first. Perhaps start emailing the schools to see where there are places. You definitely don't want to live or send your DD to school in Garhoud.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:41:36

Dewa bills, how the heck did I forget about them...jeeze. Also sky tv and Internet have only two main suppliers who charge stupid prices for crap american tv and broadband slower than you have paid for hmm

Winterwardrobetime Tue 03-Sep-13 13:41:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:42:07

Barbie I am a bit envy but congrats - wow you do travel! Samuel - I agree re housing, hoping to have a nose around when we get there, hopefully will be able to tie up everything in the first month. I would love it if DH work, DD school and our home were all in reasonable proximity. I've seen traffic there and am a bit worried if I will be able to drive in those conditions. Here I do mostly city driving, ferrying DD around to various classes. Do you have to re-take a driving test over there?

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:43:05

Really Samuel - Garhoud schools/ residence not acceptable then? Thanks for this, really useful tips coming in!

Winterwardrobetime Tue 03-Sep-13 13:43:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:43:19

No to taking a driving test but you will need a 4x4 wink

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:44:37

Sooo DEWA bills are paid for by employers? Hmmm I think we really need to re-think this.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:45:09

Dubai, London, Paris then korea...well travelled but would go back to Dubai in a heartbeat so I'm very envy of you right now

sobs into pillow

Winterwardrobetime Tue 03-Sep-13 13:45:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:45:49

WinterWT - second hand will be fine for me, will keep my eyes and ears open!

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:46:12

Winter, where are you now?

You need to add up what it will cost per month to live, we can help with approx figures. See if they match your dh salary

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:47:54

Jbr traffic is soooo bad. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Or get a driver wink

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:48:51

WWT - we are going for apartment purely on the premise it might be a bit cheaper (given that we pay for housing), and also that it might be easier to maintain and keep dust-free. Community living another plus since we don't know anyone there, and thought it might be easier to get to know people in apartment blocks. Happy to be corrected if I am wrong though!

Winterwardrobetime Tue 03-Sep-13 13:49:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:50:11

Monthly salary offered 53k. Family is me, Dh and nearly 6yo DD. Help with numbers most welcome!

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:52:24

So about 9k Stirling a month?

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:55:47

Apartments are not always the cheaper option, the nicest apartments cost a premium and they tend not to be as social as the gated communities.

The springs is a great place to live, supermarkets, cares and gyms all within walking distance. So many expats and totally safe for you dd to play out in streets

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:57:04

Cafe not cares...

Remember stuff like hairdressing, dentist and other services cost more there so factor that into the budget

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 13:59:41

Yes 53k aed, about 9k gbp per month. Guessing at least a third (18k per month ie 200k per year) towards housing, another 3-4k for school. That leaves about 30k for bills, food etc.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:07:28

Ok talk in Stirling

Rent 3k
School 3k?
Dewa and Internet. £300
Food shop?
Petrol about £100 per month, petrol is dirt cheap

What other essentials do you have?

Cleaner about £20 for four hours, ditto gardener.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:15:57

Right it's bed time here, pm me if you need anything.

Obviously on that salary it's perfectly easy to live in Dubai. However you won't be saving a great deal but instead will have a fantastic experience and excellent life style.

If saving is important to you then I suggest you try to get a better deal with regards to schooling and rent. Best of luck op.

samuelwhiskers Tue 03-Sep-13 14:20:02

That sounds an ok budget Mary - we had everything paid for (including DEWA) and about that left per month. We bought a new Land Cruiser (bigger the better in my opinion). Definitely try and go for a smaller house in the Springs, Arabian Ranches type of community because you meet loads of people around the pool and in the playgrounds. Some of the houses are advertised as 2 bed plus study but the study could easily be a 3rd bedroom (for instance on Palmera, AR, Springs). That will keep the cost down. These type of communities are the best because as Barbie says, you have supermarkets, gyms, pools, restaurants, all nearby. If you are given a relocation budget, then look online to see how much Ikea would be to buy new etc. You can always pick up secondhand out there as there are always people leaving.
I would go back in a heart beat too Barbie!

MaryIngalls Tue 03-Sep-13 14:23:09

Thanks everyone, think I have lots to think about and research now. Will ping if I think of anything else to ask.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:24:21

Samuel where are op you now.

I get so sad when I think of my old life there sad

It certainly wraps you up in the expat bubble doesn't it?

samuelwhiskers Tue 03-Sep-13 14:29:03

Dubai was one of the happiest times of my life tbh!! I did it twice, in my teens and later.
Barbie - we are now in central europe, but miss my Dubai days. Where are you?
Also, we met the nicest people in Dubai....friendliest, most helpful, loved the place and loved the Emirati people too. I do get upset when people are rude about Dubai, especially the Daily Mail.....!

colditz Tue 03-Sep-13 14:32:27

In July this year, a Norwegian woman went to jail after reporting a rape in Dubai. Her crime was 'extra marital relations'-she was jailed because she was raped.

Don't raise a daughter in Dubai.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:34:47

Mumsnet and the daily mail both seem to have a dislike for Dubai wink

I love it and will defend it until I'm blue in the face.

We left Dubai and spent last year in Paris. In July of this year we moved to a small island off South Korea, about as far removed from Dubai as one can get...my Dubai bought Chanel 2.55 and louboutines are so out of place here wink


Winterwardrobetime Tue 03-Sep-13 14:40:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:44:32

Winter, Singapore is great though? I loved my holiday there. Seems like a good expat community? Middle East is easier than Asia though, I'm struggling with the food at the moment and the humidity.

samuelwhiskers Tue 03-Sep-13 14:50:38

Would love Singapore, haven't a clue though about your island Barbie.

Barbie1 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:54:52
YoungBritishPissArtist Tue 03-Sep-13 16:14:45

Can you defend the fact that it was built by people who are essentially slaves?

Barbie1 Wed 04-Sep-13 02:09:17

Those 'slaves' have houses back home bigger then any I would ever own. Their children have all been put through university, their parents and partners are being looked after from money being sent home from the 'slaves'.

Most of the 'workers' there are extremely well educated but can't get work in their home country. So being well educated they make the decision to work away from home in order to provide for family.

As with any country people are exploited, there is no doubt about that however the uk has just as many bad things going on there, but we can't slate GB can we now hmm

KLdragon Wed 04-Sep-13 03:47:17

I think classifying the UK and Dubai as equally as bad may be a step too far! I also spent 4 years in Dubai and loved it mainly because of friends I made when there. but there is massive inequality The system is completely hierarchical with Emaratis at the top followed by western expats down to those from the Indian subcontinent at the bottom. Barbie is right money the workers from the sub continent receive do support families and definately provide a better future for them than at home but it dosent justify in my opinion the poor working conditions these guys work in (long days often 7 days a week, poor pay, living in camps). Women are still seen as second class citizens and shocking cases like the rape of that Norwegian women do not help their case (can you believe the rapist got a lower sentence than she did!). I think living in Dubai actually made me realise how lucky we are in the Uk to have equal opportunities whatever and no matter what background,race etc we are it is within our hands to change our fate. A lot of workers in Dubai do not have this freedom especially as a lot of employers take their passports as soon as they arrive so they can't even leave.
That aside if you go with your eyes open Mary and accept that some of the things you see may make you uncomfortable and not seem fair you will love your time in Dubai. With your DH working in Garhoud. I would look around Mirdiff (property seems to be cheaper here but just watch the flight path as might be noisy school would be Royal Dubai) Festival city (quite a few apartments here , silicon Oasis has GEMS world academy, Repton school is close but a very expensive school or look at Arabian ranches.
I hope I don't seem too negative about Dubai I did love my time there and you will have a great experience as there is so much to do and the architecture is amazing but I do think we should call a spade a spade. I would never defend Dubai on its racist, sexist , exploitive issues because it is all those things and more

LolaCrayola Wed 04-Sep-13 04:43:45

That doesn't sound like a good package at all. I agree that packages are not what they once were. Oh those were the days! But be very very careful, there are many hidden costs and I don't think that would give you a terribly good standard of living. How many flights home per year is that? And is that just one car for the family?

MaryIngalls Wed 04-Sep-13 10:09:03

One flight home for the family every year, and yes just one company car for the family. That's no good? Oh dear sad don't think they are going to improve on the offer...

MaryIngalls Wed 04-Sep-13 10:09:28

By the way, do people rent furnished or unfurnished?

samuelwhiskers Wed 04-Sep-13 10:45:49

Usually unfurnished. I think the package is just about doable but you won't save much. I thought rents had come down since we were there, I think you might find something for 180,000 dhs a year but look on dubizzle.com. Just looked and you can get a 2 bed plus study in Palmera, Arabian Ranches for that.

samuelwhiskers Wed 04-Sep-13 10:49:00

or nice 3 bed in Mirdiff which is nearer to Garhoud for 175,000 but 8750 agency fees! Perhaps the company would pay for the first cheque and fees?

Barbie1 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:16:45

I would start looking at schools first off. The fees vary massively and like I said you might not even get a space for this term. To get a space you have to pay a registration fee which is normally 500aed to put our dd name on the list. This is non refundable and you will probably need to be on at least three lists sad

Barbie1 Wed 04-Sep-13 11:20:15

Also the 'villa' is a fairly recent development a little out of town and on a back road which would take you right to garhood. Rents are cheaper as its still being developed but you will get more space for your money.

Will dh be working at festival city? Can you tell what line of work he is in, I will be able to check with friends in Dubai who might be in the same line of work what they get?

MaryIngalls Wed 04-Sep-13 11:48:26

DH will be working in Garhoud, the office is close to GGICO metro station. He is into supply chain, been offered a management role at one of the luxury automobile groups in Dubai .
Thanks for the tip on the Villa, will check it out.

MaryIngalls Wed 04-Sep-13 11:49:30

Thanks Samuel, will look at Mirdif as well

samuelwhiskers Wed 04-Sep-13 12:17:09

just another tip (if you're not confused by now...). Search for quite a few suitable schools, the ones I remember are DESS, JPS, Wellington, perhaps ask expatwoman the ones in Mirdiff and off Emirates road,Springs etc that they recommend and then email or phone the admission secretary them to see if there are places ( people leave Dubai all the time). I got a place for my DCs that way. I don't think you can get a house until you arrive as you generally need to be quick.

MaryIngalls Wed 04-Sep-13 12:57:55

Good idea Samuel, will do that once we have a handle on timeframes

MaryIngalls Thu 05-Sep-13 11:02:57

Update...DH has accepted the Dubai job, he thinks it's going to be good for his career. So compensation package stands at what it is, we'll have to make do. He'll probably go ahead of me and DD and stay in a hotel while he looks at schools and houses. He still has a couple of months of notice period to serve in current job so he will go in November and me and DD in Jan.
We plan to ship the bulk of our belongings, any recommendations welcome. Also any recommendations re stuff we should definitely carry from here rather than buy over there?

Barbie1 Thu 05-Sep-13 11:27:00

Mary congrats smile

Find out what the company policy for shipping is. What size container/ air freight will they supply you with.

Ours said 20ft, we got three quotes and the company choose which one we could use. In the end the removal company turned up with a 40ft container and told us to fill it! We took everything...

How long is the contract?

MaryIngalls Thu 05-Sep-13 11:44:23

They won't supply us with anything. They are paying a fixed allowance to be used for shipping and/ or buying things. So it's upto us really. It's a permanent job, so no outside time limit really, we are there as long as DH wants to be in that job.

MaryIngalls Thu 05-Sep-13 11:45:29

Sorry Barbie forgot to say thanks for the wishes, right now I am more anxious than excited. Hopefully the excitement will come later!

Barbie1 Thu 05-Sep-13 11:56:15

Try sterling relocation. We have used them for all our moves.

If its long term I'd be tempted to take everything. Dubai will be 'home'

MaryIngalls Thu 05-Sep-13 12:02:53

I am most definitely taking pretty much everything I own except furniture, curtains etc. Will need to downsize though as live in a 4 bed house in UK at the moment, and thinking of 3 or 4 bed apartment in Dubai. Moreover it's a good opportunity to de-clutter :-). My question was more whether you would recommend that I buy any specific items in the UK and send it over with the rest of the personal stuff.

The salary is fine but if you want to do 100 pound per person brunches every week and wear designer clothes it won't go far.

We are in Mirdif, between us we earn slightly less (on a par when you include bonuses) and we save. Our villa is 3 bedrooms with a huge majilis and we pay AED 100,000. We also have a pool but no garden. Our DEWA over the summer (we don't go home) is about AED 1,200 per month, the rest of the year it is about AED 800. We have insulated where we can. If we rented the villa now it would be slightly more. 4 bedrooms are about AED 150,000.

I work in Garhoud (next to GGICO metro station) and it takes me a maximum of 20 minutes to get to work.

We have just cancelled our satellite TV subscription as we have found a way to get UK tv.

There are lots of good schools around here, our DD goes to Gems Royal Dubai which is 10 mins from our house.

We love Dubai, came for a 2 year contract in 2002 and we are still here. We have been in Mirdif all that time, never been tempted to look elsewhere, lots of parks, near to several shopping malls and have lots of friends here.

Barbie1 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:08:32

To be honest I would weigh up the cost of shipping everything rather than re buying furniture etc.

You can really get everything in Dubai so there is nothing 'major' you have to worry about shipping. However if you like nice things it might cost more to replace in Dubai.

MaryIngalls Thu 05-Sep-13 12:22:40

Thanks Barbie. My furniture here is already due for replacing, it has taken a fair amount of battering during DD's growing up years. That's the main reason I don't plan to carry it with me. We will probably look at Ikea or second hand stuff when we get there. Guessing I can donate all the winter woollies, except for the odd cardi etc? I do get cold very easily though and remember needing a cardigan in the air conditioned Dubai Malls even in the summer.

MaryIngalls Thu 05-Sep-13 12:23:50

Thanks Ladybird, that makes me feel so much better. Afraid we aren't 100 pound brunch type people, hope that won't affect our ability to make friends wink. Jokes apart, your post makes me feel much better about our decision.
I am a banker by training, worked for a gazillion years before turning SAHM. Hoping to look for jobs in Dubai after we have settled in.
Please please pm me a way to get UK TV, as a SAHM, am sure I would have huge reliance on the TV!
How old is your DD? Does she do a lot of stuff outside school? My DD is nearly 6, and I need to make extra effort to keep her busy among children as she is an only child - so she currently does ballet, swimming, gymnastics, Rainbows. Wonder how reachable and affordable these things are over there?

Barbie1 Thu 05-Sep-13 12:39:01

In that case check out dubizzle for bargains.

Swimming is done in most schools, most apartments, communities how pools which are free to use. It's the only way to keep cool in the summer months!

Private lessons vary, group lessons are charged per term. Normally 12 sessions are about 600aed.

There will be so many expats and locals for your daughter to play with and most schools put on after school activities for a fee.

You will need a VPN address which makes your computer think you are in the uk and that way you can watch itv player, bbc etc. it's easy to do and will set you back about £10 a month.

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

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

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 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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Mary - I will PM you about schools.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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?

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

Thanks Samuel, will wait for your pm

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?

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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 21:16:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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...

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.

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!

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.

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?

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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!

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