Dubai with kids-following dh out

(44 Posts)
oscarandelliesdad Sat 23-Jan-21 07:33:04

Hi everyone,
Looking for for practical advice and/or a head wobble from people living out in Dubai already. Dh was told his job was moving to Dubai in December but didn't really get lots more information than that. He was told that there would be a small paybump but as the office in the UK was closing, we didn't feel like we had any choice but to wave him off.
The dc and I are used to rubbing along together without dh but we do miss him.... He was told last week that they will in fact be shifting him to a family contract with schools /flights/visas /medical /housing and car allowance. He hasn't been out there long enough to get a real feel for life yet but we are looking for advice on areas that are good for families but not too expensive, which schools are welcoming and whether it would be feasible for my ds (14)to transfer relatively painlessly from the Scottish system to an international one. My little two are still in primary, so fairly portable grin
I am just a bit at sea with it all and we obviously can't just nip over for a look at the moment.... I am worried about whether it is the right move for us all and what it feels like to live there day to day. The kids and I run to scruffy ( although we could up our game a bit on that front grin) and like pootling in parks and forests, don't want to feel horribly out of place constantly! Would that kind of lifestyle be achievable out there? Sorry, that is all a bit of a brain dump! But just anyone with dc living out there, I would love to hear about how life is for you.
Areas we are looking at are Arabian ranches, jumeirah village and um suquim. Are there any other spots that are good and perhaps a little more affordable? Thanks very much to anyone that has waded through..

OP’s posts: |
HermioneWeasley Sat 23-Jan-21 07:36:03

Are you sure you want to move to a country where you have no legal rights?

MotherExtraordinaire Sat 23-Jan-21 08:32:29

There are tress in UAE. But not really like you're used to.

There's a man made rainforest attraction a bit like the Eden Project in West Country.
Dubai is man-made and lacks many natural aspects you may see in other locations.
However many love the lifestyle it offers, but it is incredibly expensive.
You'd be advised to read the laws of what is and isn't permissible.

oscarandelliesdad Sat 23-Jan-21 08:48:11

Hi and thanks for the replies smile
No, herminoneweasley, I'm not sure at all that I want to move out there, it has certainly never been on a list of places I want to visit but I am very fed up of being separated from dh. I've looked into the laws and am relieved to find it is nothing like as restrictive as Saudi Arabia, which was also in the cards. I think I am pretty compliant so no practical worries on that front. It's more the aspect motherextraordinaire was talking about.. I'm not sure our lifestyles would gel. We don't have expensive tastes and not fans of shopping or bars etc. I should add that I'm a teacher and love my job here, also a feminist and the mother of an 11 Yr old dd so I do have lots of concerns regarding all this... That said, we miss dh. So I'm wondering if we could mitigate the negatives by finding a school with great values and an area to live that isn't too flashy.... I would work too once the kids are settled. Thanks again for taking the time to reply

OP’s posts: |
TierFourTears Sat 23-Jan-21 09:02:04

Do some very careful maths with the package DH is offered. Schooling, housing, and some utilities are ££££. There is also the possibility of very expensive holidays and weekends. I've seen people burn through so much cash they think they cant afford to leave, because they have no savings.
It's possible the 14 yr old would start an English system part way through a GCSE course - depends on when their birthday is. That would be very hard, especially moving systems too. Att the "British" schools will ge English. IB is the other possibility.
One thing people sometimes do is have older kids go to bording school (funded by the company). How might that feel for you and your oldest?
It is possible to have an outdoors life for much of the year (the summers are blisteringly hot, and outdoors is not pleasant), but it tends to be beaches or desert camping rather than forests.
The human rights and feminism questions are big things you need to question.

I'd hate to be a family split by Covid restrictions right now, so I suspect you are missing your husband more than in a normal year due to the lack of travel possibilities.

superram Sat 23-Jan-21 09:06:49

I wouldn’t do it as your lifestyle seems an antithesis of the lifestyles of the 4 people I know living out there (jumeriah village). I’d hate it as like you I like pottering.

PamDenick Sat 23-Jan-21 09:13:03

Lots of schools are advertising for staff out there atm...

Advertisement

LIZS Sat 23-Jan-21 09:15:27

I think schools especially for a teen might be an issue. The better , more established ones often are full and wanting a British/gcse curriculum limits choice. Are they offering to pay for a consultant to do the legwork? If you anticipate being there long term it will affect your dc uni fee status if they opt to return to uk. Otherwise is it really worth the upheaval? It seems strange for dh to have accepted the move without investigating practicalities first. He has arrived in the cooler months and by summer he may find it rather less attractive to stay put.

heinztomatosoup Sat 23-Jan-21 09:23:10

Please try to talk to people living there as reality is very different from visitors perceptions.

We lived there for 3 years with primary children and it was an incredible life changing experience.

Yes, there are no forests but there are country parks with picnicking areas, there is desert camping, and mountains to climb and explore within driving distance. If you like an outdoor lifestyle it will be different to uk, but swimming in the pool or beach every day is fantastic.

We are not flashy, and daily life is school drop offs and supermarkets just like UK. Seeing friends in coffee shops and going to the cinema.

The greatest thing it offered our children is true integration into a multicultural society, where their best friends were Muslim children from the Asian subcontinent. The elimination of "otherness" that is prevalent in many uk suburbs was a revelation. This lesson will last a lifetime.

Many UK system schools with children coming from all over the world, your teen will adjust easily.

We lived in umm suqeim, very expensive. Consider springs or many new residential areas inland. If you get allowance for housing, schooling etc plus a tax free income it could be the opportunity of a lifetime.

oscarandelliesdad Sat 23-Jan-21 09:25:21

Thanks again guys. Some really good advice is just what I was after... The housing allowance amounts to 120 000 AED a year and schools are just included (although I've read that this can change) so as long as we go mid range, company will cover it. I couldn't ever consider having ds away from me. So 14 year old is a big looming problem @TierFourTears, you are right this is a covid conundrum. In normal times it would all feel less grim and this is certainly nothing I have ever chased. @superram jumeirah village is one of the areas that keep advertising to us. It looks so antiseptic.

OP’s posts: |
oscarandelliesdad Sat 23-Jan-21 09:27:44

Maybe I'm being really unfair though and there is a thriving subculture of scruffy middle aged Scottish women that like pottering about in mud and dabbling in radical feminism grin

OP’s posts: |
EvilPea Sat 23-Jan-21 09:31:49

I’ve known a few people come back as theirs hit GCSE years because of university fees, something about having to be a uk resident or you pay international fees.

No idea how that works with the Scottish system though. But worth a google before you finding yourself stuck.

LadybirdsAreFab Sat 23-Jan-21 09:35:31

We’ve been here 18 years. Our daughter has just started secondary school. We live in Mirdif which is near the airport and cheaper than The Ranches etc. We spend a lot of time out in the parks during the Winter. Summer is hot so we do home based stuff. We also have an annual pass to various pools/gyms so we use that a lot in the Summer. We live here as it’s near my husband’s job. He also only gets about £11,000 towards education, our daughters school fees are £15,000 so we live here so we can top up school fees. I love living here, our daughter does all sorts of extra curricular activities, golf, Guiding & ice skating. Food shopping can be expensive if you only buy British/from the expensive supermarket but local stuff is great. Do your research on schools (there are so many to choose from) and base your costs from that and where you want to live.

Autumn101 Sat 23-Jan-21 09:39:21

The brash flashy side is only one aspect of Dubai - there are honestly lots of normal, everyday people who spend their time going for walks, having BBQs and very down to earth.

We lived there for 3.5 years, not my favourite place on earth but not the hell hole it’s made out to be on here

CorvusPurpureus Sat 23-Jan-21 10:26:11

Would you consider teaching in an international school?

I've been in the ME (not Dubai) teaching for 6 years. 3 teenage dc. We love it!

I have friends teaching in Dubai. Nice lifestyle but gets a bit dull, seems to be the verdict.

oscarandelliesdad Sat 23-Jan-21 10:36:43

Thanks so much everyone grin
Yeah, I would totally consider teaching when the dc are settled, I would just want to make sure they are happy first. Dh did have to go quite suddenly but he wasn't given a massive amount of choice and now is a bad time to find yourself unemployed. I only work a 0.6 at the moment to make it all more manageable on my own with the dc. We are fairly used to making do without him and he is used to being away but Dubai is suddenly the first place where it is feasible for us to follow. We tried a fortnight in Lagos and it wasn't realistic, really. I grew up in Spain and we've lived in Malta so the heat isn't a massive problem. @EvilPea yeah, that is a huge concern... Ds wants to head to uni in due course. Thanks again, I am really appreciating the collective brains here. Would folk living there say it is massively expensive if you are sensible, are groceries eye watering?!

OP’s posts: |
TierFourTears Sat 23-Jan-21 10:56:11

Yeah, the temperature thing..... its totally different to Malta or S Spain.
The summer is blistering - not UAE, but that part of the world, and the temperature warnings started at 48C. Below that was "normal summer".

The groceries: depended on what you ate! If you ate like a local, you could shop cheaply. If you want alcohol, pork, imported cheese (cheddar), kelloggs rice krispies, you could easily triple the shop. If you eat out, probably expensive.

PamDenick Sat 23-Jan-21 12:32:39

Interesting post, Heinz

Anne1958 Sat 23-Jan-21 13:16:58

OP, Heinz has said it all really and I think you’d be very surprised by the amount of very normal people like yourself who go about their day to day lives without any flashiness in sight. Yes there’s the very wealthy but most people, nationals included, are just ordinary people.

I live in a different part of the Middle East (have done for many decades) and I lead an outdoor life. Going wild camping for 10 days in the winter months is par for the course and I love it.

Oh and I think at the last count my grandchildren had 97 nationalities attending there school. It’s just a giant sized melting pot.

oscarandelliesdad Sat 23-Jan-21 14:56:19

Thank you all so muchflowers

OP’s posts: |
CorvusPurpureus Sat 23-Jan-21 15:42:12

oscarandelliesdad

Thanks so much everyone grin
Yeah, I would totally consider teaching when the dc are settled, I would just want to make sure they are happy first. Dh did have to go quite suddenly but he wasn't given a massive amount of choice and now is a bad time to find yourself unemployed. I only work a 0.6 at the moment to make it all more manageable on my own with the dc. We are fairly used to making do without him and he is used to being away but Dubai is suddenly the first place where it is feasible for us to follow. We tried a fortnight in Lagos and it wasn't realistic, really. I grew up in Spain and we've lived in Malta so the heat isn't a massive problem. @EvilPea yeah, that is a huge concern... Ds wants to head to uni in due course. Thanks again, I am really appreciating the collective brains here. Would folk living there say it is massively expensive if you are sensible, are groceries eye watering?!


I imagine a good international Indy would have your arm off, tbh, especially if you settle in first.

One of our biggest recruitment issues is that teachers land here straight from the U.K., school goes through all the hassle of recruitment fairs, finding accommodation for families, sorting out visas etc etc - & then every year we have at least one 'bolter' who hates the culture shock!

If you're a qualified teacher who is already in the country & happy, you'd be an extremely attractive hire.

Good tax free salary which you could probably just bank & live off your Dh's salary quite comfortably.

Good luck! smile

AvonCallingBarksdale Sat 23-Jan-21 15:51:46

Our friends moved out there 20 years ago now and they’re still there three children later. You don’t have to live in expat gated community if that’s not your thing - they never have. We’ve visited on several occasions and have had a great time - it’s not all shopping malls and insta influencers. Desert stuff is pretty cool. They both speak Arabic.

AgentProvocateur Sat 23-Jan-21 15:57:57

I’m a scruffy middle aged Scottish feminist living in Dubai! I don’t do much pottering because my working week is brutal, but nor do I spend time in the malls. We just live a normal life - work, supermarket, Netflix. It’s a very easy place to live, and if you have accommodation and schools paid for, you’re laughing. Supermarkets are as cheap or as dear as you want. DM me if you want to know anything else.

oscarandelliesdad Sat 23-Jan-21 16:29:26

Excited wave to @AgentProvocateur
Positive to think about teaching, too @corvuspurpureus, I'd miss my lovely school but being together as a whole family would be ace.

OP’s posts: |
Flippy87 Sat 23-Jan-21 16:42:50

I think you should go for it, but maybe plan to send DS back to UK for a levels?

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in