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General questions about moving to the UAE

 
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Escape Artist



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:21 pm    Post subject: General questions about moving to the UAE Reply with quote

I have accepted a job with HCT, and my husband and I will be moving there in August. I would appreciate answers to any of the following questions:

1) Despite people recommending against it, my husband and I have decided to ship our belongings to the UAE. We don't plan on returning to the U.S., and we don't want to store or sell our belongings, so we've decided to pay for a container and bring almost everything with us. Does anyone have any recommendations on which moving company to use? We've had so many estimates, but we don't know which companies are reliable.

2) We plan on bringing our pets with us. I've done quite a bit of research on this, but I'm wondering if anyone would recommend a kennel where we could board our animals until our accommodation is liveable. Also, I imagine that our indoor cats will be quite happy no matter where we live (especially since our housing will have air conditioning), but can anyone speak to what our dog might expect? Do people walk their dogs? Is there a dog park or place for our dog to play? I know that dogs are considered to be unclean in the Middle East, but with the big expat community in the UAE, I'm hoping that my dog will find friends...

Also, are there vets that are readily available as well as pet stores where we can buy food and supplies? We're very concerned about the comfort of our little ones, and we can't imagine giving them up!

3) Can anyone who works for HCT elaborate on what to expect the first few weeks? I know we'll be put up in a hotel for a week and that I'll have two weeks of orientation after that. Can someone sketch me a more detailed picture?

4) What can I expect in terms of accommodation? I'm sure that housing varies depending on the Emirate, but what size is the apartment in general for a couple, and what appliances are generally already in the apartment? How do most people do their laundry? Are there washer/dryers in the apartments or in the complex, or do people do their laundry by hand (like in other countries where I've lived)? Do the complexes normally have swimming pools and/or other facilities? Are there places to work out besides the big hotels? Are exercise/yoga classes available?

5) How easy is it to buy a car? Would we get a loan through a bank like in the States? Does the school help with this? Also, is it difficult to get a driver's license, and should we both get international driver's licenses to help with the process?

6) In terms of medical care, does anyone know if HCT's medical coverage applies to care in American and/or private hospitals? How is the care in other facilities?

7) Do you have any other advice?

Thanks!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:20 am    Post subject: Re: General questions about moving to the UAE Reply with quote

Escape Artist wrote:


1) Despite people recommending against it, my husband and I have decided to ship our belongings to the UAE.

2) recommend a kennel where we could board our animals until our accommodation is liveable. ...speak to what our dog might expect? Do people walk their dogs? Is there a dog park or place for our dog to play?

Also, are there vets that are readily available as well as pet stores where we can buy food and supplies?

3) Can anyone who works for HCT elaborate on what to expect the first few weeks? I know we'll be put up in a hotel for a week and that I'll have two weeks of orientation after that. Can someone sketch me a more detailed picture?

4) What can I expect in terms of accommodation? I'm sure that housing varies depending on the Emirate, but what size is the apartment in general for a couple, and what appliances are generally already in the apartment? How do most people do their laundry? Are there washer/dryers in the apartments or in the complex, or do people do their laundry by hand (like in other countries where I've lived)? Do the complexes normally have swimming pools and/or other facilities? Are there places to work out besides the big hotels? Are exercise/yoga classes available?

5) How easy is it to buy a car? Would we get a loan through a bank like in the States? Does the school help with this? Also, is it difficult to get a driver's license, and should we both get international driver's licenses to help with the process?

6) In terms of medical care, does anyone know if HCT's medical coverage applies to care in American and/or private hospitals? How is the care in other facilities?

Thanks!


1) Their advice was good and I wouldn't bother to bring any furniture or appliances. (wrong voltage... different TV system... different VCR and DVD systems) Get rid of everything except personal items... you can buy new there for what it will cost to ship it. The only shipping company that I have used has got out of the personal shipping business.

2) This has been discussed on the board as far as procedures to ship your animals. As to kennels, you didn't mention what city you will be in. People walk their dogs, but it will be very very very hot for much of the year. No dog parks that I know of, but other expats have dogs. The bigger cities have vets and pet stores.

3) You will be in a hotel until your flat is ready. That usually takes less than a week. You get your furniture allowance immediately to start furnishing it. Orientation usually involved working and you have the evening to be organizing your flat. It's not a big problem.

4) Housing is usually nice... normally quite new... usually a 2 bdrm - 2 bath flat. It will have central air and a fitted kitchen, but depending on city, it will usually have no appliances. You will certainly buy your own washer and dryer. (no laundromats or shared laundry facilites there) You need a dryer because it is not allowed to hang laundry outside and it is very humid and takes forever to dry. The flat will have places to hook these up. These are not 'complexes' but mainly high rise buildings. There are some buildings with swimming pools on the roof, but the majority of people join the clubs at the hotels to use their facilites. Depending on your city, there will be clubs and yoga and such.

5) Take an international driving license, but mostly to use if you travel. You don't really need it for the UAE. Your American license will be easily turned into a UAE license. Be sure that your current US license has at least 2-3 years validity - get a new one if it doesn't. Also be sure to take a 'no claims letter' from your car insurance company as it will cut your insurance premiums in half. You can get a bank loan and buy a car - HCT will only help as far as providing papers to prove your employment. Many people lease cars. Check it out. If you plan to stay long term, I suggest buying. Cars are much cheaper than in the US.

6) HCT has a good health insurance plan and for a reasonable price allows you to use the very good private health care system. There are no 'American' hospitals. No problem. You will be spoiled forever and never want to go back to the horrendous overpriced awful US system. Smile

Have fun

VS
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Escape Artist



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, VS, for responding to my questions. We can always count on you for good information!

If we did follow our advice and sold most of our furniture and such, what would be the best way to ship personal effects such as photo albums, paintings, doodads, etc.? As I said, we don't plan on moving back to the States, and we have accumulated quite a bit of "stuff" that we wouldn't want to sell. What are the best options?

It's good to hear that the health care is excellent. What about the availability of prescription drugs? Are the same or comparable prescription medicines available in the Emirates as in the States? Are they reasonably priced?

Thanks for the follow-up.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Escape Artist wrote:


what would be the best way to ship personal effects such as photo albums, paintings, doodads, etc.?

It's good to hear that the health care is excellent. What about the availability of prescription drugs? Are the same or comparable prescription medicines available in the Emirates as in the States? Are they reasonably priced?

Thanks for the follow-up.


You're welcome... what good is having all this esoteric knowledge if you can't share it. Cool

The best way to ship personal effects is by air freight. I used to drive my stuff out to Dulles Airport and put it on British Airways. You pay by the kilo and it is much cheaper than accompanied baggage. Talk to HCT about their end. I knew someone in management there - which helped - and my air freight was waiting in my hotel room when I arrived. You may want to arrange to have it arrive a day or so after you arrive. You will need to do a bit of research to see what will be the best airline for you to use.

As to medications, most things are available but likely under a different name. So, be sure you know the scientific name of any meds you want. The pharmacists are very good... almost always speak good English... and will even diagnose you and save you the trip to a doctor!! You don't need written prescriptions for any meds other than narcotics and high dosages of Testosterone (which the boys tend to use in dangerous amounts for body building...). Most meds cost about 10% of what they cost in the states - and often it is made in the same factory. We are soooooo screwed on meds here.

Just an added note on the medical care... just like everywhere there are good and bad doctors. Check around with the other teachers and they will give you recommendations. The only problem might be if you are located somewhere like Ras al-Khaima which is very small, so your choices become limited.

Hope it all helps...

VS
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dogzB



Joined: 23 Oct 2004
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:23 am    Post subject: move to UAE Reply with quote

Just to confirm what veil said - excellent advice. If you are in Dubai try this kennel:

Dubai Kennels and Cattery: www.dkc.ae info@dkc.ae

Unless you are in Abu Dhabi they are your best bet for all the northern Emirates as well, since your animals will probably arrive through Dubai.

Let me know where you are going and I can be more specific and do a bit of research for you.

Good Luck
Cool
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