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Abu Dhabi for a teacher, 2 dc and a sahm. Would it work?

(12 Posts)
COCKadoodledooo Thu 09-May-13 20:32:07

Dh has had an interview for a teaching post in Abu Dhabi (though he may end up working in Al Ain).

It's a state technical college, not an international school. Not sure if that makes any odds. It has all come about very quickly (3 weeks ago he was contacted via LinkedIn inviting him to apply, he had the interview on Sunday last).

Package offered seems about average for a teacher over there, but I'm not convinced on looking at cost of living etc whether it would be enough to support 4 of us. I wouldn't be looking to work I don't think (I do part time atm, but a move that huge would take its toll on 2 small dc I'm sure, and I wouldn't want them to have to deal with that and any form of daycare/after school club immediately).

Dc are 9 (in year 4 at present) and 3 (currently at nursery/preschool while I work, though he's increasingly saying he'd like more time with me at home).

How easy is it to make friends/a support network over there? At the moment we're a couple of hundred miles minimum from family, but visiting is relatively easy, certainly nothing like it would be if we were in the Middle East! We have a great support network of friends here, through work, school and church. I appreciate it wouldn't be instantaneous but I'd like to know that sort of thing would be a possibility (fyi I am incredibly shy, find small talk and stuff very difficult).

I dunno. It does seem like a good opportunity, but I'm scared it'll be one almighty fuck up and go horribly wrong and leave the kids traumatised and our relationship in tatters!

Thoughts please?!

basildonbond Fri 10-May-13 08:46:01

Al Ain is much smaller than Abu Dhabi and there are far fewer expats there which means less choice in schools for your children - although it might make it easier to get school places

You need to look very closely at the package they're offering. Will it cover accommodation (including air conditioning and other utilities), school fees, medical insurance for the whole family, flights home, a car (public transport is very limited)?

And then you need to look at living costs - petrol is dirt cheap but pretty much everything else, including food, is either the same price or more expensive than in the UK.

To be honest, I'd be very surprised if a state technical college would be able to offer a big enough package to cover everything and the last thing you want to be doing after making a huge move is scrimping and saving and living on a really tight budget as that would be no fun at all ...

COCKadoodledooo Sat 11-May-13 14:48:58

Thanks basildonbond. Your last paragraph is what I'm struggling with most. We've relatively recently been through a period of 'just getting by' and that was here, with a bunch of known free activities for the kids, friends around to help out, the UK benefits safety net etc. Can't imagine having to do that overseas. To uproot the kids from everything they've ever known and not be better off (perhaps worse off even) financially seems just cruel.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 12-May-13 02:16:02

Just an aside on childcare, unless things have changed dramatically over the last 4 years, "day care" and "after school clubs" don't really exist in the UAE as they do in the UK. No after school clubs and pre-school age children typically attend pre-school only 3 hrs a day or so - there isn't the wrap-around care you get in the UK because people who need it (and many who, in Uk terms, don't) hire a helper/amah/maid who lives in and works full time for your family doing a mixture of housework/ cooking/shopping and childcare/ collects older children off the bus etc. The benefits of this are that it makes childcare very affordable, even when the second family income might not cover childcare in the UK. Disadvantage is that helpers aren't qualified in childcare, and having someone living in your house takes some getting used to. Bottom line is: If you're going to work outside school hours, you'll need a helper.....or in fact if you ever want to go out in the evening, which you kind of need to do if you want to socialise.

However, that aside, what would concern me about this move would be the way that you are already seeing it in quite negative terms- especially in terms of the impact on your children. Whilst it pays to be realistic about moving overseas, if you don't see it in overall positive terms for them - i.e. "my children will benefit from spending time experiencing other cultures", and you, then I'd question if you can make it work. Even if it doesnt work out and you end up coming back, it's really unlikely that their experience will be terrible- children have a different perspective on things. Even some of my friends who actually had to leave Dubai i 2008/9 under very stressful circumstances say that their children were totally oblivious to it (i.e. getting picked up early from school one day and your bags are packed and you're leaving for the airport NOW because otherwise dad's going to jail for failing to pay an installment on a car loan - They just remember the pool and the "camel on the lorry". "

re package, you need to research housing and schooling costs and work backwards. There is no tax in the UAE so what you get paid, you keep, but overheads likely to be higher.

Isthiscorrect Sun 12-May-13 03:50:58

Al Ain is very small. There is an international hospital but not a lot else in the way of international business. I would have concerns about a state college, it will work very differently to anything your husband has experienced before I would imagine. With the current emiratisation programme ie employee emiratis before all other it will be a huge culture shock. I have a friend who works for an international uni in Sharjah and he finds that difficult, a state college would be very different.
Having said that if you get the right package it will be a huge adventure and you should look at it like that. Is there anything on the TES forums?

COCKadoodledooo Tue 14-May-13 15:41:32

RichMan that story about your friends is exciting/terrifying in equal measure!

I agree that my posts here come across as negative. I'm not, I'm just trying to be the grounded, sensible one! I'm actually massively excited and quite tempted to start packing now grin

I do worry about the impact on the dc, ds1 in particular as he's very settled here and as soon as this was mooted assumed dh would be going on his own. Quote "Well I'll miss you Daddy but I'm sure you can come home in the holidays!". If we're going to go though (and it is something we've discussed many times before, though those would have been moves within Europe/the States when dh was in his previous industry, places we'd been to and knew well) we pretty much have to do it now, or we'll end up uprooting ds1 during high school, and having seen the detrimental impact that had on my dsis it's not something I want to do.

Thanks for giving me more stuff to think about too.

Isthiscorrect thanks too, good to know a bit more about Al Ain. Dh has posted on TES about it but I'm not sure what sort of response he's got.

I think the thing that scares me is that we've to decide by the end of this month if we're to be out there for September, and it doesn't seem a lot of time to make such a huge decision!

Isthiscorrect Wed 15-May-13 12:23:26

When planning don't forget nothing happens in ramadan 9th July for 30 days. And the heat in the summer will be a real shock 50c. Maybe not so hot in al ain as its in the mountains inland. It's where everyone use to travel for the summer. You can still see beautiful summer palaces in various places. Check out for AUH info, not sure if there's any al ain info on there but worth asking.

upintheclouds Sun 19-May-13 21:12:03

I haved lived happily in Abu Dhabi for over 16 years. Al Ain is a lot smaller but only an hour and a half up the road. As a teacher here I would definitely say that the education is good if you get your children into the right school.

The fees range from 42,000- 60,000 Dirhams for most schools (7,000 - 10,000 GBP a year. Ideally your company would pay for this so it's worth checking how much of the fees they actually cover. It can be a real struggle to find an extra 20,000+ Dhs a year on a teachers salary.

There is always shortage of places in Abu Dhabi schools. Al Ain should be ok as it's a smaller community but it's best to make sure that there will be spaces in September. There is a new British School opening up in September called Brighton College. Aldar Academies have a school there as well. those are the two that I know about as they also have schools here in abu Dhabi.

Some mums help out in their children's schools or take jobs as teaching assistants . Most schools will train you on the job as there is a shortage of native english speakers for these positions. It's a good way to get out and meet people, earn some money and most of all get the same holidays as the children. If you plan to work at all then you will need to get your highest qualification attested - best done in the UK - ideally they like a degree in something or other. But I am sure your husband will get this info when he decides to take the job.

I am not trying to be negative as I think you will enjoy the lifestyle but I know how devastating it can be when parents arrive and the children are placed on endless waiting lists or they realise that their allowance will not cover the fees. It happened to us and we ended up paying most of our children's school fees - hence the reason why I had to get a full time job as soon as I arrived. Love the place though and planning to stay a few more years yet. Good luck with your decision.

HerrenaLovesStarTrek Sun 19-May-13 21:26:16

I grew up in the Emirates and there is a world of difference between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain! Abu Dhabi is a big modern city, whilst Al Ain is really not. It's also quite far inland which means it is usually hotter than the coastal cities and (IMO) it's rubbish being in a hot country if you don't get a coastal breeze now and again.

I imagine a local technical college will not be noticeable for its smooth efficiency - the word 'local' is commonly used to describe Emiratis there btw. Both my parents worked in the Emirates and it is their opinion that many Emirati employees did not seem to have gained their jobs on merit alone. They described a certain degree of coasting through work life, which is all well and good but can be a pain for the other employees who struggle to get things done in an efficient or timely fashion.

I'm not trying to sound racist, although I realise that's probably how it comes across. Just wanted to point out that your DH should expect a certain amount of the 'it'll happen when it happens, why are you so stressed, funny westerner?' attitude if he takes the job.

In other news, I did enjoy growing up there and it has given me a certain amount of international student arrogance confidence when it comes to going to new places and making new friends grin

HerrenaLovesStarTrek Sun 19-May-13 21:28:15

Ah, I see I have contradicted isthiscorrect re:temperature! All I can go on is dim memories of the weather forecast and having idly noticed that it always seemed to be cooler by the sea. I may be wrong though smile

Isthiscorrect Mon 20-May-13 19:25:15

Yy and yes again to what Herrana says. There is def an element of locals getting jobs just because the gov needs locals to have jobs. Sadly merit does not come into it. Dh really struggles with some members of his team. Appraisals are always a laugh, as in yes I exceeded all my targets. Dh says but you had 25plus unauthorized absences, you haven't achieved any of your objectives, you haven't kept within budget, why would you think you have reached any of your objectives etc ? Well I wrote them down and you expected me to achieve them so I thought I had! Wtf!

Regards temp I really thought it was cooler inland because Al Ain is much higher, foothills of the Hajar mountains. Inland flat away from the sea is the real hottest area.

Deffo make sure full fees for school., relocation, medical, housing (to your standard) return annual flights etc are covered. Be prepared for everything to take ages then happen overnight.

RashedMohamed Thu 27-Jun-13 08:36:39

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