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Living in Dubai

(8 Posts)
Coconutmummy Sat 19-Dec-15 19:28:18

I have just been offered a role in Dubai. The opportunity to start a service in my area. Essentially my ideal job. The money offered is good, but I can make similar in UK. I have 3 kids, aged 8,4 and less than one. My role is with an airline wiry opportunity to do regular travel back home. What I need to find from those who may have done this before is whether they would take kids out of U.K. Outstanding primary, or keep them schooling uk. Both options viable.

Coconutmummy Sat 19-Dec-15 19:29:56

Since I know there are some people who get riled at poor spelling. I apologise in advance. I am using my small mobile phone and can't edit errors easily

zikreetdreaming Wed 23-Dec-15 06:06:08

Hi Coconutmummy

I'm not in Dubai but we're in the process of moving over to the UAE from elsewhere in the GCC. I've also been airline staff and my husband will be working for an airline (but not EK).

Who would look after the kids at home? To me at that age it would more be about being separated from them - schools in Dubai are fine (except long waitlists) and class sizes are smaller than the UK. However, you might want to wait and see if the job works out before losing the UK school places.

If the money is the same as back home and you have two school aged kids then I'd be worried about whether you can make the figures work with the kids in Dubai btw. Dubai school fees are very high and your education allowance will almost certainly not cover the whole amount. A friend has been looking at Dubai school fees recently and AED 70-80k per year per child for primary doesn't seem to be unusual for schools that actually have spaces. There are cheaper, good schools but the wait lists are very long.

Again I don't know EK (assuming that's it) but on other gulf carriers it's also pretty much impossible to use ID90s on LHR flights and even ID50s are unlikely to be sufficient on peak flights. Just bear that in mind if you want to make multiple trips home. I know at least one person who moved to an airline thinking that an ID90 meant he had a guaranteed ticket on any flight he wanted for peanuts!

It may be a great opportunity but most people I know in the industry moved for a substantial increase on their home salary. If you're not getting one I'd be concerned they're lowballing you.

SteveBrucesNose Wed 23-Dec-15 06:20:27

I have no kids or airline experience but plenty of UAE experience

If you choose to bring the kids, Make sure your school fees cover the type of schools you'd want your kids to be at - do a lot of research into that. Eg my package at my level covers AED42k per child per year whic covers most schools up to GCSE level, however a colleagues allowance, due to their grade, covers AED24k only and they can't find a school within budget. My husband's covers whatever school he wants. If your youngest would be going to nursery whilst you and your husband no doubt work, I've never seen nursery fees covered in anyone's package. Our nearest British run nursery charges £4,000 per term per child for full time.

Usually airlines provide accommodation in a set building (from my experience from friends working there) - would you be happy living all the time surrounded by colleagues, with little or no chance to choose? I realise this differs from role to role though, and probably carrier to carrier. I've heard many bad experiences from ex-EK staff though regarding this.

I'd also be wary of coming for the same money. Everything is more expensive here. I know you'd get subsidised (or almost free) flights home but trips back are an expensive in themselves. Also consider that all your leave will be back to the uk, or severely pissing off family and friends if you choose to go elsewhere speaking from bitter experience.

God I sound miserable about the place, don't I. I love it here, I really do. Just wanted to raise some more Dubai-specific points regarding housing and schooling.

MarmiteAndButter Wed 23-Dec-15 06:31:48

We love Dubai.
The kids are in a fabulous school - on a par with UK independent schools - with great enthusiastic young well qualified British teachers. They have opportunities to do all the activities they love (dancing, sports, martial arts, ice skating, skiing) outside of school.
The restaurants and night life are great for adults. It's easy to make friends. If you can find a good maid - preferably by recommendation - childcare is great. There are theatre, ballet, plays that tour and so the "lack of culture" argument people use is moot.
It's an extremely safe place to live. I can leave my mobile on a restaurant table and wander off and know it'll still be there.
The outside life style for the whole of winter is amazing. Parks, running, biking, picnics, eating outside every meal time, swimming all the time...
Tolerance for all religions is so much better than the UK to be honest and people here celebrate everything.
The children also learn Arabic at school, which mine love.
Bad points - it is very, very, very expensive. We earn more than the uk by a long way ( almost double) but haven't any extra cash than we did there. Food is ludicrous to buy, school fees, clothes, shoes, flights anywhere is expensive. You have one choice of utility supplier and they charge what they like, and there's no arguing with them. We can easily pay £1000 in electricity and water a month for four months of the year in the summer. If you miss a payment by just a day or two, you get cut off, even if not your fault but their own system that wouldn't take the payment (this is a sore point 🙄)
It's way too hot in the summer and children simply don't cope with it. It's 50 degrees. If you are working you simply have to pay to have them in pricey air conditioned kids clubs as otherwise they are stuck at home with the air con on full blast there. It's not pleasant and almost everyone we know has one parent who takes the children somewhere else for 8 weeks.
The paperwork and effort it takes to do anything is soul destroying. DH had to queue for two hours in a police station to collect a piece of paper yesterday.
But saying all this, we all still love it. We won't be there forever, maybe only another few months in fact, but it's been an amazing time and I will miss it. There is something fun about being in such a vibrant young city.

DesertOrDessert Wed 23-Dec-15 07:36:55

Have you worked through the take home? I'm a neighbouring Gulf state. While headline salary is very similar, on top of that is accommodation (with free election and water, fully furnished), school fees and a travel allowance paid. Combined with the tax rate, and renting our house out in the UK, it makes massive sence for me to ditch work, stop paying childcare and DH to accept the job.
I'd agree with Marmites assessment about pros and considered where they are transferrable. So reckon its a pretty accurate post.
I'm taking the kids back to the UK as soon as the school hold start (early June), and will return late August for the start of term. Summer is brutal.

zikreetdreaming Wed 23-Dec-15 08:38:33

SteveBrucesNose Which schools in Dubai have school fees of AED42k or less up to GCSE level? I'm not at all an expert on Dubai (and a quick review suggests my friend may have been looking at very high end) but I can't see any well regarded schools anywhere near that level in the expatwoman fees list except for one or two which I know have waiting lists to Oman and back.

I've been looking at AD which is cheaper but even then we're paying 56k for year 1!

Marmite a neighbouring country but my husband's friend spent nine hours this week queuing to have his driving license issued in Qatar (he passed his test last Thursday). I'm really not looking forward to having to start all of this again!

MarmiteAndButter Wed 23-Dec-15 12:45:38

Our fees are year 3, 75,000 and year 8, 80,000.
I don't know a single school for 42 or less. A cheaper option lots of people I know is still 62,000 for year 8.
We are lucky as we had the full amount paid. More by fluke than anything else tbh.

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