A lot of people reach out to me asking me how I knew the UAE was the right move for me. In all honesty, I didn’t. Yes, I had been on holiday to visit Dubai in the months leading up to my move and I could really imagine myself living here, but it was always going to be a risk.
Visiting a place on holiday and living and working there are two very different realities.
My biggest piece of advice for those of you considering a move to the UAE (or anywhere else abroad) is to consider what ‘normal life’ to you would look once you start working, being tired, having adult responsibilities, and not just holidaying. How would you cope on those tough days? What would your support network look like? As I said earlier, holidaying vs. living internationally are two VERY different realities.
Something else you need to weigh up is the pros and cons of living abroad. In this video, I explain what I miss the most about being away from my home, in the UK, and it is completely normal to miss home. However, if you know that the prospect of not seeing friends and/or family for up to six months or more at a time is something you would find tough on your personal well-being, it is essential that you are very clear on what the advantages of being abroad are and whether they outweigh the disadvantages.
When considering the pros and cons of living internationally, you must remember that these will be personal to you. Although I go through an extensive list of pros and cons of living in the UAE during this guide, you may look at some of them and think they are irrelevant while others may deeply resonate. Remember, there is no right or wrong, it is whatever is personal to you so it is vital that you take some time to really map out what is important to you and what YOUR pros and cons are.
To get you started with your reflections, I have chosen to share my personal top 3 advantages and disadvantages of living internationally, here in the UAE.
Waking up to sunshine as opposed to dark, cold, rainy mornings makes such a difference to my morning mood and overall well-being.
2: Opportunity to travel
Due to its location, the UAE is a very popular travel hub with flights scheduled to countries all around the world. This has enabled me to travel to many amazing places such as Jordan, Singapore and Malaysia, to name just a few.
3: Diverse cultures
Learning about other cultures, languages and traditions has always been a huge interest of mine so living in a country as diverse as the UAE has helped me to understand and learn so much about cultures around the world. However, as I explain in the guide, living in a place with so many different languages and cultural norms can also present some challenges.
1: Distance from home
Being away from loved ones is always a tricky one, especially with so many Covid travel restrictions making travel in general a lot more restricted, challenging and expensive.
2: EARLY mornings
This is one thing I was not prepared for before moving to the UAE. The school day here starts considerably earlier than in the UK, so naturally the alarm is also set considerably earlier.
3: Summer heat
Although it may seem obvious given the geography of the Middle East, I definitely underestimated just how hot and uncomfortable the summer heat is. I also underestimated how much I would miss the simplicity of walking outdoors when it is too hot and humid to do so.
These pros and cons are just a snippet of the extensive range that I discuss within this guide, and more importantly, these are the ones that are most pertinent to me. You may look at these and disregard them as they are not important to you. That is fine. Just make sure you take the time to work out the pros and cons of living abroad so you can make the right decision for YOU.
If you are interested in finding out more about teaching in the UAE, I have a playlist of videos available on YouTube here, and you can find my two guides here which guide you through the application process and what you need to consider after securing a position.