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Family, Children and Education in the UAE

The UAE is known as a business-driven expat destination with all kinds of career opportunities. However, what does it offer to those who bring along their kids (and pets)? Of course, there are many challenges to family life in the UAE, such as getting married or overcoming the language barrier.

International schools and universities are aplenty in the Emirates (some with a fantastic reputation), and even state schools accept expat kids nowadays. However, a good education comes at a price! This also applies to the many international childcare centers you can find across the country. To cut costs and deal with the early closing times of many kindergartens, expat parents in the UAE often hire nannies or housemaids to help out with their children and the household chores. While it is easy, albeit costly, to find a space for your kids, the UAE is not exactly pet-friendly, and the heat is just one of the problems. However, even just taking your pet with you to the Emirates has its challenges.

Tying the Knot in the Emirates

In the UAE, only religious weddings are legal. If you get married in a Christian church or in a mosque is up to you in the end. Only those who plan on marrying in a Hindu temple need to complete the legal details of this procedure at their embassy. In fact, some embassies offer to take care of the wedding ceremonies for expats without any religious affiliations or those who cannot find a house of worship that matches their denomination or faith. Unfortunately, the paperwork shouldn’t be underestimated. The authorities need at least four weeks to review all of your documents. In the end, securing a marriage certificate in the UAE might seem like an obstacle course to you. Of course, if you plan on marrying an Emirati, things can get even more complicated.

Speak Like a Local — Learning Arabic in the UAE

Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but it is spoken in many other countries as well. Moreover, it is the religious language in which the Qur’an was revealed. Its alphabet is also used in other languages, including Farsi, Urdu, and Kurdish. There are a lot of foreigners living in the Emirates, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, making English, Somali, Bengali, Tagalog, etc. also very common in the country. Nevertheless, it makes sense to learn Arabic, making it easier for you to get around. There are plenty of places around the country offering language classes for beginners and those who just want to brush up on their language skills. Most of them do not teach the Emirati dialect, though, but Modern Standard Arabic.

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