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Questions: Coming to Dubai

 
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Chan



Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:17 am    Post subject: Questions: Coming to Dubai Reply with quote

I will be coming to Dubai in August to teach at a new international school. I have two questions that I have not been able to find out on my own.

1. My benefits package does not include dental or eye care. Is it possible to obtain some type of insurance on my own or is it relatively inexpensive to have my eyes checked and have my teeth cleaned?

2. Most of my clothes are skirts that come to my knees (most are right at the knee, some are just a little above and some are a little below). I keep hearing about not wearing skirts that are too short in the UAE. To me, Ďshortí skirts are mini-skirts or those that are well above the knee. The ones I wear are totally professional and appropriate in my current job (high school teacher). However, I understand that I will be in a new culture that may have a different opinion on what is Ďshort.í So, should I throw out all of my clothes? I want to make a good start when I get there and possibly offending the locals would not be the way to go.

Thanks for any information you can give me.
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Ka-CHING!



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eye and dental care is affordable. Most people, I think, just pay a la carte for whatever work they need done.

Dubai is fairly liberal, and you'll see all sorts of clothing styles in the malls. Your own clothes should be fine for wearing outside of work. As for at work, your school may have a dress code, but I'd say probably no knees showing, even when you're sitting down. Most of my skirts are between the mid-calf and ankle.

Wait untill you get here, and look at what the other female teachers are wearing.
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Chan



Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ka-CHING! for answering my questions.Smile I do have one or two longer skirts that I will bring with me. Plus, Iím getting there in mid August, but school wonít actually start until September. This should give me time to go shopping if necessary, but itís nice to know I wonít have to replace my entire wardrobe!

Thanks again!
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Gordon



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 5309
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What sort of int'l school is it? I mean what country is the curriculum based on? You can PM me if you think this would be revealing too much information.
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Chan



Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gordon,

I attempted to send you a pm, but I'm unsure if you received it. I'm a lurker by nature, so this type of thing is new to me. Confused
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Gordon



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 5309
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Chan. I read some of it and will get back to you after I read more. Very interesting.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chan,

Just to add a bit, your skirt lengths would definitely be considered 'short.' I would send off an inquiry to your new employer concerning their dress code. Although Dubai has a surface veneer of liberality, the Muslim culture does not approve the display of too much skin. Like Ka-Ching, all of my skirts were near the ankle and no sleeves above the elbow. Also avoid the common skin tight fashions. Another option rather than buying clothes is to have things made by tailors. I rarely brought clothes from the US, I brought good cotton fabrics. It is horrendously hot and humid, so forget panti-hose/tights (another good thing about long skirts...). As to shoes, I wore sandals all year.

I've never heard of insurance for dental or eye care in the Middle East. Well, to be honest, in 20 years of employment in the US before I went overseas, no employer ever provided it there for me either. Crying or Very sad

VS
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Chan



Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:

I've never heard of insurance for dental or eye care in the Middle East. Well, to be honest, in 20 years of employment in the US before I went overseas, no employer ever provided it there for me either. Crying or Very sad

VS


I've gone without insurance before as well. It was a scary time and I always hoped I wouldn't get sick. Sad

It does seem like I am going to need to buy mostly new clothes for work. I will take your advice and contact the school about the dress code.

Are tailors relatively easy to find? That sounds like a very interesting idea. Also, how easy is it to find Western sizes? I would imagine it would fairly easy since shopping seems to be such a big deal there, but I read somewhere that this was not the case. I taught on Guam several years ago and all the clothes were so tiny. I normally wear extra-small or small shirts, for example, but I sometimes had to wear an extra large when I was there. There were some stores where nothing fit at all!

Anyway, thank you for your response.

Chan
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spicegirl



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there, Chan,

Tailors are easy to find - you'll get recommendations from your colleagues, I'm sure. Mind you, it's not nearly so necessary to use tailors as it used to be when I arrived in the Gulf about 15 years ago. Back then, pretty much everything had to be made at the tailor's, as the shops didn't really have ready-made clothes that most westerners wanted to wear.

There are now so many shopping malls with plenty of choice of clothes shops. Many of them are British chain stores, so they have all the sizes. If you're extra small (I'm assuming you mean US sizes), then that would be a small size in the UK, but you probably know that if you've travelled extensively. There are also branches of Italian and Spanish chain stores, as well as shops which are unknown to me in the west, but which have fab stuff for everyone, at very reasonable prices, though the quality's not so great, for example, Splash. I buy lots of work clothes there: skirts and tops usually. Some of the stuff is very small, even for me. Lots of the local girls are physically very petite, so the tops which are in stock will fit you, no problem. The main problem is with skirt lengths, as the Gulf Arab girls like to wear their skirts down to the floor, often with very high heels or 'platforms'. If you're fairly tall, then they'd be ankle-length on you ...... they're no good for smallish people like me, as you'd be stepping on them and be flat on your face in seconds.

VS is right - your skirts do sound a bit short for work, though outside work you can wear more or less anything you want: it depends where you're going. Personally, I keep my skimpies for the international hotels and private parties, and I'm sometimes taken aback by what I see some women wearing, but then when I first came to the Gulf (Muscat) a long time ago, Western women were sent home by friendly policemen to get changed, if they were seen wearing revealing clothes. The schoolgirl daughter of a friend of mine was rapped on the legs with a stick by an old woman when she was wearing her knee-length school uniform skirt.

It's not like that these days, though I still follow the advice on a sign that used to be up in Mutrah Cold Stores (a supermarket): customers are requested to dress in a manner that does not offend our hosts.

About dental insurance - I've never had it here in the Gulf, nor did I in most other countries I've worked in, except in countries where they have a national health service, like Spain and Portugal. There are plenty of good dentists around in the UAE, and the costs are affordable, probably because no-one has dental insurance! Eye-checks are also not expensive, and are easy to arrange.
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Gordon



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 5309
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it normal for men to wear short sleeve dress shirts or golf shirts?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure Gordon, men can wear short sleeves with no problem. Shorts can be iffy in public in some places - fine if you're heading to the gym or a hotel beach.

Chan

I always had health insurance in the US, but none of them ever offered dental or eye coverage.

There are many more shops selling clothes now, but I found that the styles were not normally my style. Smile Or you could go to JC Penny and pay big bucks for their usual inventory. (see if you can find some broomstick skirts... they are great for the temperatures and are culturally perfect!!!)

The thing I have never been able to find in any country but the US is narrow shoes - even in Europe.

VS
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Chan



Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spicegirl wrote:


The main problem is with skirt lengths, as the Gulf Arab girls like to wear their skirts down to the floor, often with very high heels or 'platforms'. If you're fairly tall, then they'd be ankle-length on you ...... they're no good for smallish people like me, as you'd be stepping on them and be flat on your face in seconds.


Iím also short. Thatís why I tend to wear shorter skirts as the long ones are usually to the floor on me. Iíve never fallen on my face but I have stepped on the hem of a skirt so hard that I actually pulled it down around my ankles.Shocked Thank goodness I had on a slip!

Iím so happy to hear that dental and eye care is affordable and easy to arrange.

veiledsentiments wrote:


I always had health insurance in the US, but none of them ever offered dental or eye coverage.


I see. For some reason, I misread your post the other day. Embarassed

I love the idea of broomstick skirts. I used to have some a few years ago and would love to get some more.

I have another question for anyone who cares to answer. How do many of you get supplies for your classroom? Iím not talking about things that would normally be available at your school. Iím talking about things with which to decorate your classrooms or an activity book for a particular novel. I also buy huge sticky pads for when the kids are working on certain group assignments. Do you do most of your shopping for these types of resources online or are there any office supply places or the like in the area? I realize that most (if not all) of you are probably not teaching on the high school level like I am, so this may be difficult to answer or just a stupid question in general.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16086
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chan,

You can still find the broomstick skirts in catalogs and I saw some in Wal-Mart not that long ago. (prices better there too... Smile )

I think that with a little creativity you will be able to find whatever you need in Dubai. I don't think Staples or the Teacher Store has arrived there, but there are lots of choices of office supplies (some interesting things that we don't have in the US too). An activity book for a particular novel will be a problem, but if you are just talking about one copy, you can order it from the net. Shipping costs can be pretty steep. I used to airfreight a box of my materials to myself which is much cheaper. I lived in Virginia and would drive it myself out to Dulles Airport and usually used British Airways. (check with your employer on whether you can ship it to them...)

VS
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