We cover six common fears of moving to another country by yourself and how to face them
28 July 2022| Last updated on 17 February 2023
Let's get you ready for your big adventure abroad with these six tips.
Moving to another country alone for work can be daunting, but it can also be an experience of a lifetime for expats. It is by no means easy, and the list of concerns you might have about your decision can be long and nerve-wracking.
As you prepare to move to pastures new, here are 6 common fears of moving abroad experienced by UAE expats and how to overcome them.
1.) Making expat friends
Making new connections abroad as an expat can be much more difficult than in your country. The difference in language and cultural nuances can be quite the task.
It's important to know that there are other foreigners who in the same boat as well, new to the country and unsure; especially in the UAE where expats make up the majority of the population.
A great way to make friends while abroad is to join clubs, group activities, networking events, or even hit the local gym. You might even find a local community where you can meet with your fellow countrymen, so you can share your concerns and with people who can empathise with you.
Being around people who can lend an open ear to your worries can help lessen the feeling of being homesick.
We also have a dedicated Facebook group for expat women in the UAE where you are welcome to meet and discuss with other expats in the Emirates.
2.) Money matters
One of the common concerns new expats have when moving abroad is money matters. Setting up a new life can be costly, from renting a new home to figuring out transport, especially when you haven't received your new salary yet.
Before relocating to the UAE, it is highly recommended to have some savings set aside and to work out how much you need to live in your new area for the first two months without your new income. Knowing what to expect and having that extra money will give you less to worry about while you focus on building your new life in the UAE.
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3.) Job security
Even if you have a new and stable job in the UAE, the situation can still change. When Covid-19 forced the country into lockdown back in 2020, many residents lost their jobs, including new expats who had recently moved to the Emirates. Being jobless and broke in a foreign country is not ideal, but it's not the end of the world.
Make sure you always have separate funds kept aside to purchase a return ticket home, just in case. Also, consider working online or taking up a part time job to supplement your income.
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This is unfortunately a common routine for foreigners moving abroad alone, but do not worry - homesickness is a completely natural part of living in another country.
To ease you through these rough periods, be sure to keep a connection back home with family and friends. Although Skype is blocked in the UAE, other video calling services such as Google Meet and Zoom are available.
It is also recommended to meet new people and form new friendships, as new connections can help bring immense support and reduce loneliness.
5.) Culture shock and language
Moving to a country whose local culture you're not familiar with can be a scary thing! Our best advice is to try and learn as much as you can of the UAE's rules, from the dress code to what is and isn't allowed, before you move here.
To help ease your transition to your new expat life in the Emirates, we have hundreds of dedicated guides about living in the UAE, written by residents who have been there and done that.
The UAE is also home to more than 190 different nationalities, with expats taking up over 80% of the population. While Arabic is the country's official language, a significant portion of residents speak English, Urdu, Hindi, French, Tagalog, Russian, Mandarin, or other languages.
So you are more than welcome to learn Arabic if it's not one of your core languages, but you can still sail through your stay with just English.
6.) Health and safety
If you are moving to the UAE solo, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Read your insurance policy. Find out which is the nearest hospital or clinic that your insurance can cover, and keep the medical centre's number saved in your phone.
- Other important contacts to keep in your phone include: the ambulance (998), police (999), fire department (997).
- Keep at least one trusted person as your local emergency contact. This can be your housemate, your company's Human Resources manager, or family member who lives in the UAE, or a close friend.
- Follow alerts and guidelines from UAE authorities through phone alerts or reading the local news. This is handy for weather conditions such as sandstorms or rain floods, or community alerts such as lockdowns or curfew.
- Consider investing in a safe deposit box to keep at home, so you can store your valuables in it.
- While the UAE is generally a safe country, be sure to keep a limited amount of cash while travelling and beware of scammers.