As an OFW, it can sometimes be overwhelming to suddenly be transplanted from your home country. DataFlow will make it easy for you with these tips. We’ll highlight 15 things you absolutely need to know about living and working in Dubai.
- Dubai’s workplace is culturally diverse. Be ready to meet people from different parts of the world, and be ready for the live and let live vibe that makes this city a wonderful place to work in.
- Alcohol is served in licensed establishments even if it is an Islamic state. That being said, being intoxicated outside of these places is illegal. You even need to get a license if you want to drink alcohol in the comfort of your own home.
- The media is heavily censored, as is the internet and some websites like Twitter have even been blocked. Similarly, it is forbidden if you talk about politics, the Royal family, and sex on air.
- Make sure you have health coverage as medical care can be costly. This is usually included in your contracts, so don’t forget to check it.
- Dress conservatively. For men, you should have a top on at all times, except in beaches or at hotel poolsides. As a general rule, women should have their shoulders and stomachs covered, with bottoms never more than an inch cut above the knee. Bikinis are accepted beach side, but topless sunbathing is a no-no.
- It is taboo to indulge in public displays of affection, even among married couples. As they say in the Philippines, HHWW (holding hands while walking) = married couples only.
- Dubai is a haven for the curious. It’s got the tallest building, the longest metro line, the biggest man-made island, and the largest shopping mall outside of the US. It’s even got snow inside a mall!
- Experience shortened work hours during Ramadan. It’s also a month of not eating or drinking in public. Remember that from sunrise to sundown, nothing should enter your body, literally. Well, except for air.
- In life, nothing is certain except death and taxes. But in Dubai, taxes are nothing. Like you’re not taxed. Yes, that’s correct. No taxes, yay!
- Banks? They want you to borrow money. They will offer you loans. Don’t be like a bull in a china shop, though, or you’ll end up owing more than you’re earning.
- What’s funny is that you can’t get mail. People need to have PO boxes in order to get mail. The only way you’ll get mail to your physical address is if you get it couriered. Some people get around this by having mail delivered to where they are working at.
- Be careful when you’re driving. The roads in Dubai are very good, but nice roads, plus nice cars, plus young, aggressive drivers equals high accident rates.
- You can whittle and negotiate down to a quarterly payment apartment rentals even if landlords ask for a whole year’s rent at the onset. Rents can be paid by the month, contrary to reports. Monthly rents have a premium, though.
- It’s more useful to point out landmarks when giving or asking directions. Point out the nearest landmark where you’re going, instead of giving an address with the name of the road. Just like in the Philippines.
- Finally, if you’re an insomniac, you’ll find that living in Dubai is easy as everything you need is available online 24 hours a day.
There you have it, folks. Our 15 tips on working and living in Dubai!
Picture attribution CC BY 2.0