Moving to Abu Dhabi


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More and more expats are moving to Abu Dhabi in search of the same tax-free wealth, less the constant commercial frenzy, found in nearby Dubai. Once a desert outpost dependent on pearling and palm gardening, the city and surrounds has grown tremendously in the last decade and has now emerged as an attractive destination luring foreigners from around the globe.

Moving to Abu Dhabi - the breakwaterWork opportunities are many in this oil-rich emirate, the largest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and many of the same high points that encouraged expats to relocate to Dubai are present and accounted for, including a thriving expat community that greatly outnumbers the local population, a vibrant lifestyle with lots of opportunities for shopping and entertainment, and an extremely safe environment where crime and theft are rarities.

That said, life in Abu Dhabi tends to unravel at a slower pace than in Dubai; and the city is often characterised as being more family-friendly and better suited for those looking to settle down and stay awhile. Not to mention, the UAE's capital is less built-up and boasts broader patches of greenery.

The largest concern expats moving to Abu Dhabi will have is sorting out schooling for their children; while a number of reputable private, international schools exist, shortages are chronic and admission competitive. It's important to start the enrolment process as early as possible.

For those enjoying the single life, or who've yet to have children, relocating is simply a matter of negotiating the right kind of contract in the face of a rising cost of living, waiting for the appropriate paperwork to come through, and then embarking on the period of cultural adjustment that always comes attached to life abroad.

Though the majority of those living in Abu Dhabi are foreigners, behaviour in the emirate is nonetheless mandated by the Islamic faith, and it's essential expats familiarise themselves with local laws and learn to respect traditional Arab culture.

Otherwise, expats living in Abu Dhabi must merely learn to adapt to the stifling summer heat and the artificial air-conditioned cocoon in which the city enshrouds itself.

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