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Dubai-help! schools, post, living! moving there asap and have no clue where to start!

(18 Posts)
kippersandjam Wed 20-Jul-11 08:10:15

dh has just accepted a job in dubai, and we have to go asap, and am overwhelmed by it all, even looking at dubai websites... he will be working in the financial quarter and wants home to be a close driving distance, where will be best for us to look, we will want furnished? and a nearby school for ds who will be in reception? I also have to redirect our post, are there postboxes in dubai or does everything have to go to the office(not ideal i think) any advice gratefully received.

Barmcake Wed 20-Jul-11 15:06:58

have you had a look at the expatwoman website, lots of people will be able to help answer your questions on there, loads of info on schools etc, most of the schools will be closed now for the long summer holidays and not back until the beginning of September/after Ramadan/Eid. Sorry I can't answer your questions hopefully somebody will be along who can, we had our post delivered to dh's office as it isn't pleasant traipsing to the post office in 40+ heat of summer.
Good luck with your move smile

mtw Wed 20-Jul-11 22:07:54

research schools immediatley. lots will be full. crazy competetion.

kippersandjam Wed 20-Jul-11 22:20:25

barmcake, do you mean schools are closed now and no one is there is see if they have any spaces? mtw, that sounds very difficult, is it hard to get about dubai to schools? thanks will look at expat woman!

mtw Wed 20-Jul-11 22:41:12

yes, from my experince of Doha schools fill up / waitlist etc, and Dubai is bigger/more competetion. good luck. things always work out, applying late, spaces may open up, people always move about.

Barmcake Thu 21-Jul-11 08:41:12

kippers - in my experience mostly yes, you could try and contact the ones you are interested in to see if there is any reply just don't get despondent if you don't get a reply and as mtw says there is always a lot of movement and a place could open up.
Good luck

kippersandjam Thu 21-Jul-11 14:14:49

thanks for advice on schools, have sent emails, so waiting with fingers crossed! Will Springs be a good place to live, ie near shops, parks and school? How easy is it to get to DIFC from there? We will have to find somewhere to live so its there for when we arrive, are there any major pitfalls we should be aware of? the company will pay the housing direct for us. thanks for any help and advice!

kippersandjam Thu 21-Jul-11 21:01:52

is Dubai silicon park ok? is that closer to difc? and is the Gems school there nice? The expat woman site is down for the weekend, and we are leaving in a couple of weeks!! thanks...

mummydarlingsausage Thu 21-Jul-11 23:43:06

Hi kippers, we're moving to dubai in about 3weeks. Dh is already there and gets his visa stamped next week so then we can follow. So can't really offer any advice though the kids and i visited a couple of mnths ago and i liked the look of springs meadow area. Dh company have offered us a house until november though so we can find somewhere while we're there (although dh thinks i'll want to stay in the house as he really likes it.) anyway, is there any chance you can stay in a furnished apartment at first? Then you can see what areas you like first?

Caz10 Thu 21-Jul-11 23:47:07

My friend lives out there now a d really relies on that expat woman site, she says the forums are vg!

Barmcake Fri 22-Jul-11 06:09:36

most people do stay in furnished apartments when they arrive, Golden Sands is popular but not really near DIFC but will give you a base while you get your bearings, the springs and silicon park (is this the same as oasis?) are not really that close to DIFC. Are you looking at a villa or apartment, the closest apartments are at Downtown near Dubai Mall, have no idea of price or for villas Umm Sequeim or Jumeira are probably nicest/closest but $$$$.
For schools, DESS, JESS, JPS & EC are the more established schools but are probably full too but worth a try you never know, don't know anything about the GEMS schools sorry. HTH, not in Dubai anymore but in Mucat now, so this is more from memory than anything else.

kippersandjam Fri 22-Jul-11 08:46:44

hi, no I want the house sorted as i have little ones who won't be at school and I know what it will be like dragging them round in the heat looking at housessmile if dh goes earlier, he can spend an afternoon looking and just pick the best one for our arrival in sept. will look at the other areas mentioned - its so difficult as the school will also drive where we live and we haven't heard back from ANY of them!

MrsGubbins Fri 22-Jul-11 09:24:27

what's your housing budget?

will they also pay DEWA (electric and water, if you want gas cooker then you'll use a bottle) there's also a 5% of your rent, housing fee (one of the many hidden taxes out here) will the company pay that?

if you're paying your own DEWA bear in mind that it is much, much more in a villa compared to an apartment. think 200dhs a month in an apartment and 10x that in a villa as a ballpark.

the website expatwoman is a good place to get info but it's down for maintenance prob till Sunday! but do post on there as soon as you can so you'll get lots of answers from different people already living here.

there's a website called Dubizzle where you can search for rentals, you won't find many photos of places but it'll give you an idea of prices.

there are apartment buildings in DIFC, I don't know about schools as DD is only 8 months but use expatwoman for that, I think schools have broken up now and won't reopen until after Eid (1st/2nd week September)

It would be feasible to live in Springs or DSO and for your DH to drive up Emirates Rd/Sheikh Zayed Rd to DIFC, plenty of people drive these distances for work, remember fuel is cheap here. Public transport... there is the metro and the 2nd line will open in August, there is a station at DIFC.

Will the company pay for shipping? most people do not live in furnished places unless it's v short term, you can pick up 2nd hand housing goods cheaply (see the ads on Dubizzle) but if you're arriving now in the middle of summer do you want to be driving round looking at stuff? if the company are paying for shipping, I would bring everything + the kitchen sink!

make sure the deal includes good full medical insurance for all of you, private hospitals are expensive a trip to the GP/Paed can cost 100gbp. there is a good government hospital for children and you can get a medical card for your DS - I would use this hospital if needed without worry.

post - most people get post delivered to there own or DH work place, no nice posties here to deliver to your home! everything goes to a PO Box and the private ones usually have waiting lists! there is an area called Arabian Ranches where they will soon be trialling home delivery for a hefty price - I wouldn't trust it myself!

before you come, get your marriage and degree certificates attested and get a hundred copies of everything, bring copies of DS vaccination schedule and you may need to get him vaccinated for TB/Hep B for school admission but I may be wrong, get multiple passport photos of all of you done, you wouldn't believe how many passport photos you need.

you and your DS will need to be sponsered by your DH (and he by his company) so check that the co will pay the fees and medical for you and DS (blood test - HIV/Hep B and poss xray for you to exclude TB)

ask away if there's anything else you want to know. there's a book called Dubai Explorer it's useful to have as a reference even after you've made the move.

wow! long post... ask away if there's anything else!!

MrsGubbins Fri 22-Jul-11 10:49:29

I've just thought, it might be an idea to ask DH company to put you up in a serviced apartment for a few months until you know where DS will goto school and get a feel for the areas. Rentals here are for the year, so when you sign up for a place you've got it for the year, rents are payable in advance by 1,2 sometimes 4 cheques.

You don't want to sign up somewhere and then find out you can't stand the place, area, commute, school run etc!

kippersandjam Fri 22-Jul-11 15:23:08

thanks mrs gubbins, that is very helpful, esp dewa! our budget is up to 200k aed but will check re the dewa inl. i want to see what school ds gets in before finding house, but they all have waiting lists and am stunned at list of official paperwork school need just for a wait list! ds might be joining MI5 for all the info they need!
we will have all shipping and insurance paid thk goodness! is it true everything is twice the price of europe?!
dh wants to get house sorted asap as he will also be travelling lots and won't be able to help, also issue as per lower post. he might go out earlier and sort a house in a week or so.
will i need a car too? is it expensive to hire one?
think will redirect post to family, its only for a year or so (famous last wordssmile

MrsGubbins Fri 22-Jul-11 16:22:26

I would say you will definately need a car, schools here do have bus services but you might feel happier driving DS yourself. Taxis are cheap compared to the UK for the distances. I think you can hire a Yaris for about 1400dhs a month, better to buy your own, cars here are very cheap by comparison to UK... lots of ads on Dubizzle.

You have to wait until your residence visa is through before buying and registering a car. You also need to bring your driving licence and you can easily obtain a UAE licence after having an eye test (you have to drive with a UAE one if you're resident)

I don't think everything is twice the price of Europe, maybe there's between 10-30% mark up on imported things from UK stores. Food can be much cheaper or shockingly expensive but only if you buy all your goods from home iyswim. We have Carrefour and Waitrose, M&S do food as well, there's also an Organic Supermarket in Dubai Mall and they have 20% off every 3rd Sat but it's not too badly priced otherwise.

I can't give any good advice about schools but this is the schools inspection report for 2010/2011 clicking on the names of the schools will give you some more information, cost, curriculum etc.

The governing body responsible for schools out here is the KHDA if that's helpful.

kippersandjam Fri 29-Jul-11 20:08:38

thanks mrs gubbins! do i need to notify anyone ie tax office I am going? have told child benefit people. i don't have a paid job, i am a housewife here anyway.
have looked at jumeira 1 to live in as its the same area as the school we have got into. any advice about it? where to avoid, nice compounds? and where to look, is dubozzle the best place?

stressed0ut Fri 29-Jul-11 20:33:59

Hi kippersandjam, we've recently returned to the UK after 2 years in Dubai.
The first few months can be really tough as getting things sorted can be very frustrating in Dubai and you'll often feel like banging your head against a brick wall, just take a deep breath and remember its all part of the experience of living there!!
Do you have little ones who are pre-school age? If so there is a lovely toddler group in Jebel Ali, not far from Ibn Battuta mall. When we lived there it ran 3 mornings a week and sometimes through the school holidays. I found it was a great way to meet other mums.
Also as others have mentionned the Expatwoman website is brilliant - I found it to be an invaluable source of info and they have alot of activities such as coffee mornings, mums and tots mornings - again a great way to meet other people. (DH eventually stopped moaning about me always being on the laptop when he realised how useful it could be!)
Dubizzle is a great place online to look for furniture, cars etc. People are constantly leaving and arriving so there's always lots for sale. We sold everything we weren't bringing back on there.
We lived at the Jebel Ali end of town as DH worked in Abu Dhabi so I don't know that much about the more central locations for living etc, but I'll try to help with any questions you've got.
Oh and be prepared for the heat, September will be very hot!! smile

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