If you are from a western country, the idea of moving to Dubai as an expat might initially seem daunting, especially if you have children. You might be wondering how they will fit in culturally, or what the standard of education and healthcare is like. Will they make friends? Will they be accepted? Hopefully, this article will give you a little more information to guide your decision.
Any move abroad is bound to unsettle your children – and the age they are when they move often has an impact on how they feel about the move or adjust to the entire process. It’s good to remember that your attitude about the move will have a big impact on them. Show your excitement about moving to Dubai and prepare them for the differences in culture and some of the wonderful sights they will soon see.
Considerations for immigrating to Dubai with children
Immigrating with preschool children
Small children tend to be a lot more resilient about moving. Dubai is a very safe, child-friendly destination with great weather. There are activities designed to suit anyone’s budget – whether you are taking your children to themed play parks, the beach or a sunny outdoor picnic. Mothers with babies are kept busy with a wide variety of classes including sensory activities, music classes, massage classes and swimming classes. So if you have children below school-going age, you’ll definitely have many options to keep them occupied.
Immigrating with primary school-going children
As expat children, your offspring will not be allowed to attend state-run schools in Dubai. Expats generally have a wide variety of different private schools to choose from – and you could easily find one offering the curriculum from the country from which you have emigrated. But the fees of the different schools can vary as widely as what is on offer. So do you homework first – the UAE is rated 11th out of 39 countries for quality of life in the HSBC Expat Explorer survey, but 36th for the cost.
From the very first day, your children will be exposed to the 200 expat nationalities living in Dubai and they will quickly become part of the rich, cultural melting pot that makes up Dubai’s primary schools. Your children will probably be able to converse in Hindi and Arabic before you even learn to say As-salamu Alaykum. This is the traditional Muslim greeting and means “peace be upon you” and can be used in a wide variety of social situations.
Immigrating with high school-going children
If your child is dedicated to an outdoor sport, things can become a little difficult at this stage. Most teenagers in Dubai hang out at the wide variety of malls, which are filled with multiple types of entertainment. But you need to be aware that the activities of troubled teens can lead to serious consequences in Dubai. For example, underage drinking is a jailable expense.
Other concerns include the fact that children growing up in Dubai can enjoy a far more privileged lifestyle than children back in their home country. Some expats claim that growing up in Dubai makes children less street-wise, which can make it difficult when they return to their ‘home’ country and have to handle the less-cushy aspects of life.
Medical insurance is a must!
Dubai may be a tax-free society, but the flip side of this is that the government provides very few services. Excellent private hospitals are available, but the costs range widely depending on the type of hospital or the level of medical care you’re looking for. To guarantee your children receive the best medical care, ensure you have comprehensive medical insurance.
If you are planning on starting a new life in Dubai with your family and need any advice about your financial migration, leave your details below and we’ll help you on the path to financial freedom in your new country.
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