Moving to Middle East
The Middle East covers a large geographical area yet it doesn’t have any defined borders as such. Because of this geographical spread you’ll find the area covers an enormous diversity in terms of cultures, languages and religious and political beliefs. Obviously the experiences you’ll have if you move to the Middle East will vary dramatically depending on which country you plan to live in. Outlined below are just some of the places you might be thinking of relocating to.
One of the seven Emirates in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is where Middle Eastern traditionalism meets Western glitz. It is noted for being a very safe, tolerant and friendly city with beautiful beaches and excellent shopping.
Dubai has a large expat society and because of this you’ll find it is a very multicultural and diverse city. While the official language is Arabic you won’t have any problems communicating as English is widely spoken, especially in the business community. Although fairly liberal, Dubai is a Muslim city and as such you should be respectful in your dress, behaviour and attitude.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi has a population of around 900,000. One of the world’s largest producers of oil, you’ll find that the majority of expats living in Abu Dhabi are there because of an involvement in this industry.
The huge influx of people from outside the UAE into Abu Dhabi means the population has far outgrown the numbers the city was intended for and you’ll find that driving here can be chaotic and parking spaces are sometimes hard to come by. Couple this with the fact that driving is on the right-hand side of the road and you might want to consider hiring a driver or taking taxis, which are plentiful.
To read about the Newbury family's experience of moving to Abu Dhabi click here
A small island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain has a population of around 1.2 million people. The modern infrastructure and great selection of shopping malls and restaurants mean you shouldn’t miss too much from home. However, you might find that things such processing essential paperwork can be a little time-consuming and frustrating.
Although a Muslim country, Bahrain is quite liberal in comparison to some other Middle Eastern countries and is considered to be very tolerant. The Bahraini people are very welcoming and you will find expatriates of all nationalities have set up home here.
Surrounded by the Persian Gulf and boarding Saudi Arabia in the south, Qatar has one of the fastest growing economies in the GCC thanks to its huge oil and gas supplies. Its progressive and tolerant atmosphere, friendly people, high level of safety and low crime rate are among the first things that people notice. However, although it is considered to be a liberal country, Qatar perhaps isn’t as relaxed as countries such as the UAE or Bahrain.
Turkey sits in a unique position within the world and is known as the ‘European Gateway to Asia’ because it straddles two continents – three percent of the country is in Europe and the remaining 97% is in Asia.
With a population of around 72 million people, you’ll find if you move to Turkey that the main cities are full of hustle and bustle. In Istanbul you’ll find things such as driving to be chaotic and disorganized. But once you experience the friendliness and warmth of the Turks you’ll see another side to the city, one which is also interesting and historical.
Be prepared for distinct seasons when you move here. Winter temperatures can drop to below freezing and snow is not uncommon in Istanbul. However during the summer temperatures are likely to be more than 30oC, so bring appropriate clothing.
Situated in North Africa and with a population of more than 80 million, Egypt is one of the most populated countries in the Middle East. It is also arguably one of the most interesting, with a history that dates back thousands of years. If you’re thinking of moving to Cairo, Egypt’s capital and largest city, you’ll find the streets are crowded and activity is non-stop, but you’ll see it has both a modern and an ancient feel at the same time.
When you move to Egypt you’ll find that religion plays a major part of everyday life and as you go about your activities you’ll hear the Islamic call to prayer five times a day. You’re advised to be respectful of these beliefs and act accordingly.
Find out more about moving abroad
Continue exploring the rest of this site to find out more useful information about moving overseas. There are a number of guides and tips to help you begin to plan your relocation, but also make sure you do some research of your own and try to seek the views of others who have been before.
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