5 Things I learned when I came to the UAE

I arrived in the UAE quite recently. To be more specific, it was on the 10th of October 2021. I had visited the UAE a couple of times before and it was always on vacation. So pretty much, all I would do was go where my dad would take us on his car, which was mostly the famous visitor spots, restaurants and relatives’ homes. Naturally, there was no pressure and everything was fairly relaxed.

This time though, I came here with the intention to find a job. I turned 21 in July and graduated in August, so now is my time to turn into an adult. The term “adulting” terrified me and I am sure it will continue to terrify me for the rest of my life.

Luckily, my job hunting process was not all that bad. In fact, it was not bad at all. I started looking for jobs the day after I arrived. I sent in about forty to sixty applications on a good day and about twenty to thirty on a somewhat average day. Nonetheless, I got blessed with a great job, three weeks into my arrival here.  So, I presume that my job hunt was my first dive into adulting.

Regardless, here are a few things I learnt on my arrival and stay here, in the past month.

  1. UAE is a very safe country, especially for a woman. As a girl/woman living in India for twenty-one years, the fear of being abducted or assaulted is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, such is the case with almost every woman in India. But, living in the UAE, along with the testaments of a few women who have lived here longer, has made me realize that I can do anything and go anywhere at almost any time in the day, safely.
  2. Things are expensive. When I say this, I don’t refer to luxury goods. I mean things, luxury or not, are expensive. I am paying 20-30 dirhams (around 400-600 INR or 5-10 USD) for items I would get for less than 10 dirhams (around 200 INR or 3 USD) back in India. Am I mad at this? To be honest, not really. It’s just the standard of living here. So, be warned.
  3. Racism exists in moderation. As a brown person, you may or may not experience racism in the UAE, especially in a workplace primarily consisting of Americans or Europeans. A few places prioritize people with fairer complexions over darker complexions, which is unfortunate, especially when a brown skinned person’s qualifications are placed below their race. I experienced this firsthand during my job hunt, when a few job listings had “EUROPEAN PREFERRED” as one of their requirements.
  4. Almost all food cravings can be satisfied. Because of the diversified nature of the country, there are millions of varieties of food here. Be it restaurants, fast food or packaged food from the supermarket, you are bound to find amazing food that will satisfy your palate.
  5. If you commit a serious offence, it is time to bid farewell to the seven Emirates. The reason for strict law observance on the part of the expatriates in this country, is primarily due to the fear of deportation. The UAE does not provide citizenship to anyone but the locals, and as such the chances of deportation on committing a serious offence are largely high. As a result, the crime rate here is very low. This gives a good name to the country and the expats avoid going back to their home countries with no chance of coming back. A win-win!

These were a few of the many things I have left to learn about UAE, and I hope I get to know more as the days go by, because I am here for the long haul, baby! I hope you enjoyed this small article of mine, and if you are in the UAE, comment below a few of your fun experiences you had visiting or living in the UAE. Buh-bye now!

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