The subsequent installment in the Expat Interview Series! I’ve reached out to expats in distinctive nations to hear why folks may pick to move abroad, and how they do it. If you want to know a lot more about moving to a specific nation this is the spot. If you are interested in taking element or want to see a specific spot featured let me know!
I when created a fleeting (study: 12 hour) check out to Abu Dhabi when I was travelling from Thailand to the UK, and the small I managed to see genuinely intrigued me. I located it really hard to place my finger on the pulse on the spot and see what it was genuinely like, which is why I’m excited to share this interview with Keri from Our Globetrotters, an expat who lives there. Study on for a lot more insight into what moving to Abu Dhabi, what it is like to reside there and insider suggestions for guests!
Inform us about oneself
I’m Keri, an expat due to the fact birth I guess, born to British parents in New Zealand but raised in Australia. I grew wings in my early twenties and shifted my accounting profession to London, then hubby and children came along and of course, any plans turned on their head.
My husband took a job present in Abu Dhabi shortly immediately after our second kid was born and that is exactly where our expat journey actually started.
What created you determine to move to Abu Dhabi?
Though we had been technically expats in England as nicely, possessing British roots and a familiarity with the language, customs and a huge network of mates, it didn’t actually really feel like an expat posting.
We had an remarkable life in London, functioning and travelling relatively solidly for almost a decade. Young children genuinely do modify every thing and we had to admit to ourselves that a two bed flat in inner London, functioning ridiculous hours wasn’t going to reduce it for extended for loved ones life.
We created the choice to contact time on our overseas expertise and head house as quickly as the 2012 Olympics had been completed. But the job marketplace in Australia was absolutely flat, and it would take each of us going back to operate complete time to make ends meet.
Then out of the blue hubby got a telephone contact about a job in the UAE. It wasn’t on the radar but we had absolutely nothing to shed at this point possessing currently sold our house and ordered our shipping container to transport our lives overseas. We at least knew exactly where it was on a map and had visited relatives there prior to!
Inside weeks of my sons birth we located ourselves on a relocation check out (and operating for a rushed passport at Australia Home!) through my maternity leave – in the peak of summer season through Ramadan – so we knew specifically what we could be in for.
The huge query mark was no matter if we had been ready to sacrifice moving house, closer to loved ones and mates to get started a new life from scratch. Parenthood is a scary journey as it is, let alone carrying out it alone. But we had been all set for an adventure and took the plunge.
At this point, I had decided not to quickly return to complete-time operate. Not extended immediately after moving we located out we had been to be a loved ones of 5, so it relatively cemented any choices in this regard. I turned my passion for writing into a weblog, and due to the fact then I’ve been on the journey of studying about social media, freelance writing and the murky globe of influencers. It is a far cry from my London accounting profession, but six years in now, we are nonetheless quite satisfied with that spur of the moment choice to test out expat life and get on that plane.
Inform me about the expense of living
The expense of living in Abu Dhabi is not as negative as folks consider. The killer is rent, so often attempt to have housing negotiated separate to your take-house salary. The other huge expense if you have children is schooling, as expats ought to use the private method, so once again, attempt and get this packaged.
We wrote extensively about expat remuneration packages and considerations for households in Abu Dhabi right here.
Most Western expats drive their personal automobiles, so automobile ownership charges and fuel may well be a lot more affordable than your house nation (based on exactly where you are from!). Groceries are as you would anticipate with really a bit of variation involving your low-cost and premium supermarkets with imported brands.
There’s often the temptation to reside a lavish life-style with so numerous leading restaurants, beach clubs, spas, purchasing malls and exciting weekend activities to pick from, but you can reside relatively frugally if you pick to. Dining out we locate is the greatest expense – therefore we do not do it a lot! But you can save by having the Entertainer App, this has hundreds of two-for-1 vouchers.
Like any tax-free of charge expat posting, often hold your savings, spending, and emergency buckets separate. There’s no compulsory pension method so hold that in thoughts and strategy for your subsequent step.
How did you locate the job looking for course of action?
There is a massive assortment of distinctive roles expats can take in the UAE, even though numerous roles and salary levels are determined by nationality (they are attempting to stamp this out in job marketing but it nonetheless blatantly exists).
It is a lot more most likely for senior management and roles that require an explicit qualification or ability set that you will be headhunted from overseas or moved internally by your organisation, rather than applying for a job inside the UAE.
For spouses, items can get a small trickier, even though surely not not possible. Quite a lot all workplaces operate in English which opens up possibilities. Note that any female functioning requirements a permission letter from her husband – yes, for genuine! One particular of the quirks of living in an Islamic culture.
Lots of households will have a second revenue earner who does not get a complete-time revenue but operates for instance in a college or admin sort position. In these sorts of roles you can anticipate to get paid a lot much less than you may in an equivalent part in a Western nation.
Do you require a visa to reside in Abu Dhabi?
Anybody wanting to reside in the UAE they will require a Residents Visa. The key worker of the loved ones will get an employment visa, then all their dependents get their residency by way of their sponsorship (this can incorporate domestic workers).
Though in theory you can do “Visa runs” every single month and stay on a Tourist Visa (free of charge on arrival for numerous nations), you will not be in a position to access schooling, overall health care or take out a tenancy contract without the need of the Residency Visa and an Emirates ID card.
The other technique is to set up a free of charge zone corporation which can incorporate a Residency Visa for corporation directors. This is the route numerous entrepreneurs take when seeking to establish themselves in the UAE.
What’s the social scene like? How uncomplicated is it to make mates?
As a new parent when I moved right here I located it quite uncomplicated to make mates. Mum groups lend themselves to the expat life and on the complete, I located folks I meet to be quite welcoming and encouraging. There is a distinct feeling of comradery, numerous of us have offered up careers to make the move and “we are all in this collectively!”
Generating superior mates has taken a lot longer. My husband has operate mates. I have mum mates. The two do not often equate to good loved ones friendships. And the hardest element of expat life, superior mates then leave.
One particular of the early measures I took was to join the committee at Australian social club Aussie Abroad. Though I was one particular of the younger ones, I have created good friendships and networks from inside this group, and it fairly a lot guarantees we have a social occasion every single month.
We are not at all into the celebration scene, but there is a nightlife right here (albeit nowhere close to as huge as neighbouring Dubai!) The Friday brunch scene is huge even though and tends to make for good loved ones entertainment. There are lots of sporting clubs you can join up to as nicely.
Like anyplace, choose anything you are into and you are bound to locate there’s a group of like-minded folks out there – if not make one particular! Meet Up is well known for locating these groups.
What’s the very best issue about living in Abu Dhabi?
The sort of life-style we are in a position to reside. I am an avid traveller, so living close to two of the world’s greatest airline hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is good.
We are also in a position to afford to send our young children to a private British college by way of our salary package, and reside in a good property with house assistance and drive good automobiles. These are all items we would not effortlessly be in a position to afford in the UK or Australia and hold up the identical life-style (i.e., we’d each require to operate complete time with small spare modify left more than immediately after living charges).
I am extremely fortunate that by altering profession I can now operate from house and nonetheless be there for college occasions and bedtimes, with the flexibility of kid care at house. This is anything I do not believe I would have ever explored carrying out without the need of undertaking the expat expertise – I was quite profession driven.
While the climate can be a huge off-placing element for folks thinking about a Middle East posting, I appear at it quite a lot in reverse that six months of the year we are blessed with beautiful warm sunny climate and have a quite outdoorsy life.
What’s the hardest issue about living in Abu Dhabi?
It is not an overly tough expat posting with numerous good situations but the bureaucracy at occasions can genuinely get to you. The summer season heat can be genuinely oppressive. And if one particular a lot more particular person tells me I will be there tomorrow, inshallah….. but the quirks are fairly tiny compared to the added benefits.
Freedom of speech and the judicial method, nevertheless, are often points of concern for me.
How is your new house distinctive from your old one particular?
It is without the need of a doubt quite distinctive from what we would expertise raising a loved ones in Australia or England, even though, at the identical time, each day life feels really “normal”. We nonetheless get up early for college runs, sit in visitors, operating mum’s taxi service when hubby operates really hard, travels a lot and pays off the mortgage.
The assimilation into a Muslim culture was a lot less difficult than we believed. In reality, impacts quite small on our day to day life. You get quite made use of to the sound of the contact to prayer, and you just naturally dress a lot more conservatively and thoughts your manners. It is not really hard to show respect and hold numerous elements of your life private.
It is created me really feel a lot more conservative when I head house even though and see what folks put on and how they act and behave in public! It is a quite multicultural nation in so numerous regards with such a massive and mixed expat population (the nearby population in comparison is tiny, anything about 12%) so it tends to make you mindful of numerous distinctive cultures and behaviours (superior and negative).
If we had just one particular day in Abu Dhabi what ought to we not miss?
There’s a genuinely stellar line up now of leading tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi. You definitely can not miss the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and culture buffs will be dead impressed with the new Louvre Museum on Saadiyat Island.
For an action-packed day, you will want to head to Yas Island with its hugely impressive line up of theme parks – Yas Waterworld, Ferrari Globe, and Warner Bros Globe.
Finish your day off with an evening desert safari, an chance to attempt a quantity of adrenaline sports or a lot more sedate camel riding and classic music and dance with henna and shisha.
When you believe of your expat house, what comes to thoughts?
The misconceptions! Men and women nonetheless appear at us immediately after all these years with a fascination that we could possibly reside in the Middle East, as if every person walks about in bhurkas and wears a suicide vest. This is completely incorrect!
Can you share your very best nearby/insider tip about exactly where you reside?
Download the Entertainer App and invest in the Abu Dhabi bundle – I guarantee I’m not a sales particular person – just genuinely we have saved so a lot income more than the years utilizing this to strategy out nights out and weekends!
And through the set-up phase, invest in furnishings second hand. There are numerous expat invest in and sell Facebook groups to choose up a bargain, generally folks are only right here for quick stints and can be promoting stuff close to new situation. That and accept your property is going to appear like an Ikea catalogue!
If you could give one particular piece of tips to folks seeking to reside in Abu Dhabi what would it be?
Come in with an open thoughts and a lot of patience. The setup time appears ridiculously really hard, and in particular if you arrive in the summer season, really oppressive. When you are in even though, and the paperwork side of items is carried out, money flow beneath handle, it is an immensely enjoyable spot to reside and appreciate the expat expertise.
You can locate out a lot more about living in Abu Dhabi on Keri’s weblog, Our Globetrotters, and comply with the family’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.