Our life in Abu Dhabi, UAE – Your Frequently Asked Questions

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Nearly one year has passed by since we left Germany and moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE. Since we took this decision, a lot happened in our life and so much changed.

When we took the decision to move here, we had to fight with a lot of prejudiced and preconceptions and had to justify ourselves again and again why we wanted to leave Germany and move to the desert.

Now, it is time to resume the past year and also to answer some frequently asked questions by our friends and readers.

One question we always get asked is:

1. Does Julia have to cover as a woman and is she allowed to drive the car in the UAE?

The answer is yes. Sure! The UAE is a very modern country where woman are allowed to drive the car, the jet ski or the motorcycle. If they want, they can also ride the camel or a flying carpet if they are able to do so πŸ˜‰
Women in the UAE are very educated. They are very self confident woman who study, travel the world and are like all the other friends you have in Europe and around the world.

Regarding the covering. Yes and no. Woman in general don’t have to cover their hair or the face but sure you should accept the religion and culture. To avoid misunderstandings or offending you should not ran in a Bikini trough the city or lie naked on the beach. But to be honest this is a normal thing for me as well and if I am in Germany I wear the same clothes as I do here in the UAE. So you can wear whatever you want but it is very important to respect the culture and religion and so you shouldn’t wear provocative clothes and cover your shoulders and knees at special places.
Dubai is here a bit less “strict” as it is very European and crowded with tourists from all around the world. Anyways, as a woman you don’t have to worry too much about the clothing, whether you’re in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

2. Is it safe to live in Abu Dhabi and the UAE?

Yes, it is super safe to live in the United Arab Emirates. If you compare the 29 safest countries in the world you will see that the UAE is rated on spot 3, after Finland and Qatar and so it is way more safe than Germany or other western countries.

Top 20 safest countries in the world:

  1. Finland – rating: 6.7
  2. Qatar – 6.61
  3. UAE – 6.6
  4. Iceland – 6.5
  5. Austria – 6.47
  6. Luxembourg – 6.46
  7. New Zealand – 6.41
  8. Singapore – 6.4
  9. Oman – 6.38
  10. Portugal – 6.33
  11. Switzerland – 6.32
  12. Hong Kong – 6.31
  13. Australia – 6.24
  14. Slovenia – 6.2
  15. Ireland – 6.18
  16. Belgium – 6.18
  17. Netherlands – 6.16
  18. Norway – 6.1
  19. Sweden – 6.1
  20. Germany – 6.06

You feel always protected and safe. I am never afraid to walk alone on the streets during the night or take a cab by myself.
You also don’t have to be afraid that people steel things from you or rob you. If I go to the beach I bring my phone and my watch and you I leave everything unattended and don’t have to be afraid that someone will touch my staff. The same with the car. If you forget to lock it nothing should happen, which is a nice feeling.

3. Isn’t it boring to live in the desert?

Nope, not at all. During my 4 days off I have many things to do. The weather is mostly nice and Dubai, Ras al Khaimah, Fujeirah, Oman and other places are only a little drive away. You can enjoy outdoor water and desert activities but can also go shopping in Dhabi, go out and enjoy many nice restaurants.
There are so many things to do here that I personally never get bored.

4. Can you go out for dancing and clubbing?

Yes, you can go out for dancing and clubbing and you can also drink alcohol in bars, clubs and hotels. However drinking alcohol in public is strictly prohibited!

5. Is it expensive to live in the UAE?

Life here is definitively more expensive than in Germany. However as most of the people who live here also earn more money than back home there is no big difference. Going for dinner is for example much more expensive than in Germany. But other things like patrol and cab rides are much cheaper than back home.

7. Are all men who wear kandura (traditional white dress for Emirati men) Sheikhs?

No, not every man who is wearing kandura is a Sheikh. The definition of a Sheikh is actually an Arab leader, in particular the chief or head of an Arab tribe, family, or village. It commonly designates the ruler of a tribe, who inherited the title from his father. “Sheikh” is given to a royal male at birth, whereas the related title “Sheikha” is given to a royal female at birth.

So, being a Sheikh is a very special title and position in the Arabic culture and society.

8. How many Camel are you worth it?

Sure it is not true that people exchange people with camels and the other way round. However camels are very expensive and important animals in the Arabic world. In fact, camel prices start at around $1,000. Other people say that the average price of one camel is $50,000. Other say it is around $1 million to $2 million. This always depends on the breed of the camel, family history and so on. However famous camels who won already prizes can be very expensive and are mostly worth more than $1 Million.

9. Do Emirati woman have to wear a black Abaya (the traditional black dress)?

Most Emirati woman are wearing black Abayas but this is more a fashion trend than a must. Every woman can decide by herself if she wants to wear a colorful dress or a black Abaya. As mentioned Emirati ladies just really love to wear it in black as it is a fashion trend here and you even find special Abaya designers who are creating new and modern collections every season. Abayas in black are timeless and always en vogue.

10. Is it true that men are allowed to marry 4 woman here at the same time?

Yes and no. Nowadays it is not very common anymore that men get married to more than one woman at the same time. However there are some situations in which it is advantageous to society to have men marry multiple wives, and for this reason polygyny is practiced by many religions and cultures. The Qur’an permits but does not command a man to have four wives. Furthermore, the Qur’an stipulates that a man is responsible for the maintenance of his wife or wives. If a man has more than one wife, he has to provide separate living accommodation for each of his wives. Multiple marriages are a heavy responsibility on the male. It is not a pleasure trip as some people may assume.

11. Is it difficult to make friends with local Emirati people?

No it is not difficult. We do have Emirati colleagues and friends and it wasn’t difficult for us to get in touch with them. Local people here are like us. They are interested in expats like we are interested in them. However you should surely respect their culture and religion. Which means you should dress yourself properly and behave properly like with every other person as well.

12. Is it hot here? Does it ever rain?

Yes and yes! The summer in the UAE is unbelievable hot. Especially in July and August the temperatures can be around 50+ degrees and you running from one AC to the next one. hahaha!
Beside these months the weather is nice. We don’t have 4 seasons here but during the winter months it can be also “very” cold here for our conditions. Especially this year in December and January the temperatures in the city went down to around 12 degrees in the night which is quite cold.

During the day it is still over 20 degrees but with some fresh wind – it makes us already feel cold πŸ˜€

It doesn’t rain often here. Since we moved here last year in January it only rained 3 days. Of these days, 2 days were full of thunderstorm and heavy rain and the other day was just a little rain. So nothing compared to Germany.

So khallas, this is Arabic and means finish.
These were our frequently asked questions. If you have further questions about us and our life in the UAE, please feel free to ask us any time you want and we are more than happy to answer your questions here and on our social channels.

To sum up: Tim and I love the UAE. We love Abu Dhabi, we love the desert, we love the Arabic culture, food and people and the nice weather. So for us it was exactly the right decision to move and life here also when it’s not always easy – but we guess it’s nowhere around the globe, isn’t it?

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