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Dubai and the rest of the UAE may be sun-filled with modern housing, outstanding shopping facilities and no income tax, but there are some significant cultural differences that you must be aware of before you leave. To ignore the cultural differences and laws in the UAE could result in fines, time in jail or deported - even for what seem to be minor transgressions.
The language of the UAE is Arabic, which uses the Arabic alphabet - a script that is read from right to left, will be quite different to English. The UAE has a much more relaxed approach to Western cultures than many other Arab or Islamic nations. For instance although drinking in public is forbidden, in bars and hotels it's allowed.
While, overall, the cities of the UAE are relatively tolerant, you do need to remember that the UAE is an Islamic State. Certain things which you'd take for granted as normal or acceptable are prohibited such as: public drunkenness, use or possession of drugs (including some medicines prescribed by your doctor or purchased over the counter in the UK), noise disruptions, bad language, making obscene gestures, showing any kind of disrespect of Islam or the leaders of the UAE, cohabitation, sex outside of marriage, having a baby out of wedlock, adultery, and homosexuality.
For women, it is a must to be dressed modestly. Generally, you should cover your shoulders, cleavage and your legs above the knees as well as avoiding tight or sheer clothing. When meeting an Arab or Emirati man, do not offer to shake his hand unless he extends his hand towards you first. Local women will wear an abaya, which is a traditional black ankle length garment with long sleeves and a high neckline; the hair is also covered.
Men have far fewer restrictions on clothing. They should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts outside of the home. Due to the hot weather, suits are rarely worn except for important business meetings and related social events. Standard wear in the office is a long sleeved shirt, tie and lightweight trousers.
Always use your right hand for drinking and eating, as the left hand is regarded as unclean (as it’s used for ‘toilet purposes’). You should also avoid showing the soles of your feet or bottoms of your shoes. This gives the implication that you think the other person is "dirt", which is obviously highly offensive. Keep your feet flat on the ground and don't cross your legs.
In business and your personal life, networking and connections are key to settling in and enjoying your new life in the UAE. Always make the most of networking opportunities, particularly for business, as this plays a key role for business and employment.
The workweek generally runs from Sunday to Thursday; Friday and Saturday are the designated days of rest. Offices generally open somewhere between 7.30am and 9am and close at 5pm, with working hours during the month of Ramadan generally shortened by two or three hours.
Expats in the UAE generally tend to live in communities of others from their home countries. Sign up for expat and social groups in addition playgroups for your children to help you get adjusted.
Britannia Bradshaw can help your UAE relocation goes smoothly. Contact us for a free, no obligation quote or call 0161 877 5555 (Manchester), 0121 504 0966 (Birmingham) and speak with an international removals specialist.
After each move, we send a survey to ensure our customers are satisfied. As of 23 March 2017, our customers have rated our removal company as follows:
If you'd like to see our reviews on Google, they are available here:
My family and I have used Britannia several times and have always received a good service. Very flexible, given my lack of availability for an assessment and the short time-frame. [Removal men were] Mike Preston and Chris Heyworth - really friendly and helpful
The move day experience far exceeded our expectations. Considering moving house is meant to be one of the most stressful things you can do, we were relaxed for the whole two days with plenty of time to make a cuppa! We had every confidence in the removals crew. Jay and his team were professional, helpful and kept us organised without being obtrusive. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.
Amazing service from Britannia Bradshaw I'll definitely recommend you to friends and family. Thank you for making what can be a very stressful day go so smoothly. For me everything was great can't think of anything to improve. Ben and James were very friendly, polite and helpful - amazing service
Absolutely fantastic, could not have asked for better! Very caring as I was a wreck! Giovanni and Amrick.
The service provided was excellent, efficient and nothing was too much trouble. The removals crew (Andy J, Andy L, Cookie & Presto) were absolutely brilliant, everything moved and reconstructed quickly and efficiently, and importantly, without a single scratch, scrape or breakage.
You can't [improve the service]. The lads removing were brilliant. I very rarely meet such good service. Billy and the lads were all really helpful, friendly and courteous. The move was delayed and they had to stay late, on a Friday evening and not one of them complained. I couldn't speak highly enough of them.
Out of a number of similar companies I contacted, the person who answered the phone was by far the most warm, polite and helpful. Although it was one of the most reasonably-priced quotes we had, the main reason for choosing Britannia Bradshaw was that from the very first phone call, we had the sense we could trust your company. When it comes to having your possessions shipped overseas, that trust is more important than small differences in price.
We contacted Britainnia Bradshaw several times before being visited for a quote. Each time, staff were kind and helpful, going out of their way to be helpful and reassuring. They were a main reason we chose to go with Brittania Bradshaw. They were fantastic. It took four people working a very long day to get us packed, moved and unpacked. Even in the final hour, they were hard-working, kind to our children and incredibly professional. Great service, a competitive quote and willing to work with our tight timeframe for a move.