Abu Dhabi - anyone there?

(9 Posts)
SonlySmee Sat 30-May-15 19:21:46

Just wondering if there are any MNers who are living in Abu Dhabi now, or in the last five years...

Possibility of move there, with DH's work. This would be third expat posting, but first in ME. Wondering can anyone tell me:
1) Just how crazy is the driving? I know it's a car culture - have driven in very busy cities, but concerned over the danger or high speed cars?
2) Are there cleaners/babysitters available, or is the only legal option a full time maid?
3) Do many kids stay in AD for senior school, or board in UK?
4) How do international schools in AD compare to London/UK day schools?
5) Any rough breakdown of nationalities of expats?
6) What is a typical weekend for you? (thinking of life beyond 'the club!')

Anything else particular to AD that I may have missed?

Thanks in advance!

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SonlySmee Sun 31-May-15 12:08:29

Just bumping - anyone in Abu Dhabi or Dubai who could share their wisdom?


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yallahabibi Sun 31-May-15 16:10:16

Try expatwoman.com - it has an Abu Dhabi forum and lots of ladies ready to help.
I'm in Doha and would love to live in AD .It has a quieter vibe than Dubai and maintains a nice balance culture and modernisation.
Driving is a big Gulf issue but honestly I have seen equal in other parts of Asia.

partialderivative Sun 31-May-15 17:18:17

I think UK is in the top 5 worldwide for safety in terms of fatalities
per 100 000 population (amazing as that may seem sometimes). So I think many countries come across as scary after getting used to UK standards.

There are some great schools in the UAE, some families chose to send their children to boarding school, but my impression is that they are in a minority. (I am a teacher in a neighbouring country, but have visited the UAE many times)

There are many cleaners/maids around.

The break down of nationalities is tricky as there are many 'strata' of ex-pats. That conversation can get very heated. So I'll duck out.

I have liked AD on the times we have visited, it seems a lot calmer than Dubai.

SonlySmee Sun 31-May-15 17:36:34

Am used to driving in Far East, so sounds like I'll be find in AD.

Thanks! Will look on the website mentioned.

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MarmiteAndButter Mon 01-Jun-15 06:16:47

We are Dubai, rather than Abu Dhabi.
The driving is a bit fast and mad, but you are more likely to get a speeding ticket through keeping up with the traffic rather than be in an accident.
To be honest, there are way more near misses compared to actual accidents. If you stay aware all the time, you can stay as safe as possible.
Schools, some are excellent! I have one in senior school. Not sure if they'll go back and board later, but they are fine for now.
Mixture of nationalities in the UAE. Indians the biggest group of expats. Iran, Turkish, Australians, South Africans, British, other European. Lots of Scandinavians too. Lots of expat children at my children's school are bilingual and there are Muslims, Hindus and Christians. The atmosphere is multi cultural and everything is celebrated in Dubai, even Halloween, which I had no idea about.
Cleaners... You have to go through an agency to be legal, even for part time cleaners. Finding evening babysitters is near enough impossible as even officially illegal to use a teenager.
So yes, we went down a full time maid route after the first 6 months of scrambling around begging agencies to send people. Day time cleaning is no problem, but evening sitting is tricky.
Of course, there are lots of people that employ illegally, but the risks of getting caught and fined are there.
A typical weekend for me is driving the kids to activities (everything is available here!). Maybe swimming with the little one in the community pool. Going to the indoor dog park with the pup. In the cooler months, going to the organic food market in the park and spending the morning playing with the kids there.
Yes, there are the clubs, and yes I love a good brunch, but there's loads of normal family things to do too grin
I don't much like expat woman forum. Once you are here, communities and expats use Facebook groups a lot.

SonlySmee Mon 01-Jun-15 12:09:10

Thanks Marmite. Super helpful!

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BlueMoonRoses Mon 01-Jun-15 20:57:52

Hiya. We've just moved to AD. It's great. We have 4 dcs and all in a great school we are very happy with. We previously lived in Bahrain and I find the driving pretty comparably bad. Housing expensive so needs to be factored into the package but you'll know that anyway. We've just engaged a nanny to live in. I originally didn't want to sponsor and employ but it's really the best option. Any more questions, I'm more than happy to help. Did tons of research before moving so hope I can be helpful.

SonlySmee Tue 02-Jun-15 09:30:33

Thanks Blue - also have four DC, so I know we are expensive to move as we need space!!!
Hope you're settling in well - keeping an eye on the temperature in AD, and it looks like it's in the 40s right now, which is about 10 degrees more that I'm used to...
Will plan to PM you later when I've got more time!

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