Life in the UAE

One new GEMS recruit told us just how they are settling in

gems education teacher with two students

Peter, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, September 2014

Working as a high school maths teacher at an inner city school in York certainly had it's challenges and rewards. But after 13 years I was ready for a new adventure - for my career and for my family. The opportunity for some warmer weather certainly didn't escape me either.

I met the GEMS Education teacher recruitment team at their recruitment day in London. I didn't realise just how many roles they had available in the UAE. They took the time to get to know me and what I wanted to get out of the experience, so they could match me with a school where they knew I would fit - not just a school that had a maths teaching role.    

Six months on and my family and I are settling into life in the UAE. My friends back home have asked what we are enjoying so much. Here's what I told them...

1.The weather is great. 

As an Englishman I had to start the list with the weather. The weather in the UAE is quite temperate from October to April, with average temperatures between 20-30C (69-86F) and cool nights that drop to as low as 4C (45F). There is very little rain in Dubai, although February is probably the wettest month. Bear in mind, I haven't been here for the summer yet. I hear it can rise to 37-43C (99-110F) and the humidity becomes very high. That's probably the right time to come back to England for a holiday.

2. The UAE is cosmopolitan and international.

We've met so many local Emiratis and people from all over the world. The UAE is very family friendly with excellent facilities to suit children of all ages. There is little to no crime and the standard of housing is very good. A huge amount of Western products and brands are stocked in the supermarkets - although I am missing my Yorkie bars.

3. The lifestyle is outdoorsy and there is always something happening.

There are beautiful beaches and everywhere has a swimming pool. Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi now feature heavily on the world’s sporting calendar with events like Formula 1, the golf, tennis championships and international cricket fixtures taking place every year. As well as that, more and more of the world’s leading names in music have included either Dubai or Abu Dhabi in their touring schedule. The night life is incredible, particularly in Dubai, with a huge array of fabulous restaurants, bars and clubs to choose from. Both cities really come alive after sunset.

4. Muslim roots and Islamic culture are celebrated by everyone.

The UAE is a liberal country by Middle East standards. Expatriates from all over the world are made to feel very much at home. And, as long as you abide by some basic cultural rules, you will find life here to be a fantastic multi-cultural mix. Dress code does apply in many public places such as shopping malls where women are expected to cover their shoulders.

5. The UAE is a great place to travel from.  

The geographical location makes it very easy to travel to Asia and Africa on short haul flights. As a GEMS teacher, you are entitled to 60 days holiday during the summer, allowing you plenty of time to travel and explore if this appeals. Both Etihad Airlines (Abu Dhabi) and Emirates Airlines (Dubai) are UAE owned airlines and use the city as their hub. The children are going to see more of the world than I ever did.

The recruitment team at GEMS gave me lots of inside knowledge before we arrived. I also found these links helpful: