Busting the Myths About Expat Life in Dubai

Dubai skyline

Dubai no doubt exudes a vibe of exuberance, especially to outsiders, which is why expats from multiple nations have been flocking here for the last century. This makes for a diverse living experience, but for most expats here, getting from A to B doesn’t necessarily involve a ride in a Maserati.

As more and more expats alight on the sunny shores of Dubai, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most common misconceptions about the emirate, hopefully setting the record straight!

1. You Can’t Practise Any Other Religion Than Islam

While Dubai is an Islamic emirate, it welcomes people from all faiths, cultures, and backgrounds. Other religions are allowed to be practised here, and you’ll find places of worship in all parts of the UAE – from churches for the Catholics to gurdwaras for the Sikh community. Although you should beware that proselytising is not tolerated anywhere in the country.

2. There is No Nightlife

As an expat, your free time is more likely to be spent catching up on lost sleep than partying on a yacht. During the weekends, most expats would rather have a cosy catch-up over a coffee with friends and family rather than downing shots at pubs and clubs.

That’s not to say that people live a boring life here. With so many clubs around and events happening almost every night, if you want to stay out till the wee hours in the night – you can!

3. Everyone Drives a Ferrari or a Rolls-Royce

Dubai is known for having one of the highest concentrations of supercars in the world, but the reality is that not everyone can afford one. Most expats here can be seen cruising around in their pre-loved Toyotas or Nissans, or making use of the public transport – taxis are everywhere, and they are clean and reasonably priced too. If you want to escape the rush hour on the roads, there is also the Dubai Metro, which is relatively affordable and fast.

4. Drinking is Prohibited

To an extent, this is true: carrying alcohol, drinking, or being found intoxicated in public is a punishable offence in Dubai and across the emirates. However, as we mentioned above, the city has a bustling nightlife with vibrant and busy weekends where alcohol is allowed in designated premises like hotels and specified venues.

Hold your horses! That doesn’t mean anyone can just walk up to a bar and order a pint! You need to make sure you have your liquor licence, which is available to residents for AED 170 (roughly £35 or $46 USD).

5. The Lifestyle Is Restrictive

As we’re sure you could tell, life in Dubai is not as restrictive as the news and papers make it out to be. If anything, the Dubai lifestyle is the one thing you won’t hear expats complaining about!

Dubai is one of the most tolerant cities in the region and it doesn’t strictly impose a dress code on residents, but by no means are we saying that this is the Marbella of the Middle East either. A certain standard of behaviour is to be expected: always make sure you’re covered up from shoulders to knees before you walk out the door, and while you’re out and about, refrain from swearing, making rude hand gestures, picking fights, and showing PDAs.

Come and Experience Life in Dubai

Thinking of moving to Dubai? You can find more information on what lies ahead for you here. Perhaps you’re pondering the possibilities of studying in Dubai? If so, then we have a blog post to help prepare you for your uni experience abroad.

If you wish to chat to a member of the Uninest team, do get in touch!

What to Do When You’re Homesick

Everyone gets a little homesick from time to time, especially if they’re living abroad. If you start to miss home, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read through our key advice below, and you’ll start feeling better in no time!

Get Involved in University Life

First and foremost, if you’re feeling blue about being so far away from home, try to distract yourself by keeping busy. Investing plenty of time into your studies, getting involved in as many social groups as you can, and getting to know your neighbours will help you to feel much more settled in Dubai.

Your first week is a key time to get involved in social activities. This is when university groups and societies see influxes of new members, and there will be plenty of new people living in your building, too! So make sure you push yourself out there during the first week, even if you’re feeling a little down.

Touch Base with Home (But Not Too Much!)

When you feel like you’re missing home, give your family a call or a Skype – but not too often! Touching base and catching up with your friends and relatives is important, but it shouldn’t form the basis of your life at university. Put your studies, meeting new people, and social events first. This way, you will miss home less, but keep a close connection with your loved ones back in your home country.

Get Some Home Comforts

It might sound a bit silly, but if you have certain home comforts, make sure you bring them to university with you. Whether you just want to hang a few fun pics of your friends on your wall, or you feel the urge to pack up your Bisto gravy before you fly to Dubai, make sure you do it! This way, you’ll be able to take full advantage of your home comforts whenever you need to.

Stay Healthy

Your health is the most important thing, so if you’re feeling down, make sure you talk to somebody about it. There’s no shame in speaking to a friend or a support worker at university about your feelings. They will provide you with a sounding board for your problems and will help you see things differently.

Part of staying happy and healthy at university is also making sure you have a clean, comfortable place to live. Find out more about our accommodation options so you can find your ideal “home from home” in Dubai.

Enjoy Your Time at University!

Even if you are feeling homesick, try your hardest to make sure it doesn’t take over your life and put a dampener on your time at university. Remember, you won’t be a student for long, so you need to make the most of it!

By keeping your health in check, making sure you find the right place to live, and throwing yourself into student life, you will overcome homesickness and feel better in yourself. Check out all of the amazing things you could be doing in Dubai right now!