Frequently Asked Questions about Abu Dhabi
Is the cost of living in Abu Dhabi really that bad?
The cost of living in Abu Dhabi, overall, is relatively high. However, as with anywhere in the world, an individual’s cost of living is all dependent on their particular lifestyle and family situation. Expat salaries for highly skilled and senior-level management jobs are usually high and it’s worth noting that salaries are tax-free. Accommodation and education will be the two most prominent monthly expenses for expats living in Abu Dhabi.
Even though Abu Dhabi is a multi-cultural environment, where expats make up the majority of the population, Abu Dhabi is still a conservative Islamic emirate and expats coming from more liberal countries may struggle to adjust to this. There are strict rules and regulations governing behaviour; dress should be conservative and modest, buying and consuming alcohol requires a licence, and living together without being married, conducting adultery and homosexual behaviour are illegal in Abu Dhabi.
Will it be difficult to make friends in Abu Dhabi?
Abu Dhabi, like all areas in the UAE, claims a larger expat community than local community. As a result, there is plenty of opportunity for newcomers to find others who share their language, nationality, ethnicity, background and interests.
That said, it can be hard to make new friends initially, especially if not involved in a workplace. There is lots to do, but often times people are hesitant to attend events alone. One of the best ways to make friends fast is to join a business or social group. There are plenty in Abu Dhabi, and nearly all group members were newcomers themselves at one point, so they understand the initial challenges of relocating to the emirate.
How important is it to speak the local language in Abu Dhabi?
Arabic is the national language of the UAE, but English is the business language, and most signs and documents are published in both. This means it's possible to by without speaking more than a few words of Arabic – but there is no doubt one can make a real impact in business and social dealings by learning to speak conversational Arabic. So few expats make the effort to do so, that it is the simplest and most effective way to stand out in a positive manner.
Can I ship my pets to Abu Dhabi?
It's possible to ship pets to Abu Dhabi but given the heat and the likelihood of living in an apartment, large animals will not have a high quality of life. On the plus side, there are no quarantine laws.