5 myths people have about expat life in Dubai

5 myths people have about expat life in Dubai

Dubai - Supercars and 'palatial homes'!? The reality is far from the truth for most expats.



By Keith Pereña, Yousuf Saifuddin Kapadia

Published: Tue 15 Nov 2016, 2:47 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Nov 2016, 10:37 AM

A thriving cosmopolitan, Dubai has become one of the most popular destinations for expats to move to for better job opportunities and to live the good lifestyle.
However, people tend to make 'larger than life' assumptions about their friends and family living in Dubai - and we have all been judged for it.
Here are some of the 'outrageous' things people assume about all Dubai expats: 

1. We are rich because we don't pay taxes

Tell anyone you're living in Dubai and they will almost always assume you have a swanky place, wearing designer threads and have spacious living room where you host fancy parties for socialites and celebrities. 
Reality Check: Rents are (almost) as high as the towers here, and you're munching on Dh7 pizza from supermarkets and hypermarkets and jamming phone lines at most restaurants, making the most of bundle offers.

2. We drive a Ferrari or at least a Rolls-Royce

This is partly true since the UAE - particularly Dubai - is known for having one of the highest concentrations of supercars and luxury cars in the world, however, not EVERYONE can afford one.
Reality Check: Most expats can be seen cruising around in their Toyota and Nissan cars and 4-wheel drives, scouring Sharjah and Ajman's Industrial areas for maintenance on the cheap. Most expats can barely afford one car these days and make us the of public transport. The Dubai Metro in particular is both relatively affordable and fast as it helps one escape the rush hour on the roads, not to mention the parking charges.

3. We party everyday!

With plenty of clubs around and events happening almost every night, people assume that expats here are having a ball everyday, either on land or at sea on a yacht!
Reality Check: Your weekends are catching up on lost sleep during the week, in bed all day long because work is intense and you partied so hard on Thursday alone.
Most expats would rather have a cosy catch-up with friends and family over a movie plan or coffee or nowadays - 'Netflix and chill'.

4. We must remain covered from head to toe

This applies mostly to women as many assume that Dubai must be a very conservative city where women are expected to cover themselves up at all times(read: wear burqas/abayas).
Reality Check: However, Dubai is one of the most moderate cities in the region, and you can still go out wearing a normal pair of jeans and tee.
However, certain areas and places, including mosques, have a strict dress code - mostly people are free to wear what they want as long as it's decent and not 'eye popping'.
The UAE is one of the most tolerant countries in the region and the world, which respects the cultures and beliefs of the hundreds of nationalities that live here and hence don't impose a strict dress code across the country.

5. We have a hidden stash of gold - somewhere

With gold souks everywhere, people usually assume that expats in Dubai are laden with gold and bling bling, while the reality is far from the truth.
Reality Check: While some expat communities are one of the top buyers of gold in the city, the only hidden stash most of us here have are snacks, which you purchased over the weekend - when you should have been partying - and are hidden from your always hungry flatmates (if you live in sharing) or your children.
That said, the UAE and Dubai continue to be the destination of choice for many expats, where many have made their fortunes over the decades and call it home. The government constantly strives to better the lives of both locals and expats, who contribute to the progress of the country.


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