Adapting to a new home is never easy, but when it’s a whole new country with a completely different culture, it can seem like an absolute shock to the system – your very own mission impossible. Well, it doesn’t have to be such a drama. Read on for some insider tips and tricks on how to make the most of living in Dubai as a Canadian.
Coping with the Weather
The weather is one thing that takes some adjusting to. Being mentally prepared for the differences will help you to handle it. Now, you may not see the similarities between the two places at first, but they aren’t all that different. They just have different extremes.
Both Canada and Dubai enjoy the 4 seasons, although in Dubai they are somewhat less defined. Both Canada and Dubai also have one extreme season each. In Canada, the winter can be long and bitterly cold. In Dubai, the summer is scorching and can seem endless. Two extremes, but you learn to adjust.
The Dubai summer is a period of approximately 4 months where the outdoor weather seems unbearably hot, often with oppressive humidity. Depending on your exact preferences, it’s not as bad as you might think.
The air conditioning around the city is incredible, and there are not many reasons you must be outside if you don’t want to be. That said, if you do love the outdoors, then the mountainous region on the east coast of the UAE provides relief from the city highs.
The Great Outdoors
If you are like most Canadians, then you feel most at home out in nature. Luckily, Dubai has heaps of outdoor activities to keep you active and fit, if you just know where to go. If you love to go hiking, then there are literally hundreds of places where you can go, all within a 2-hour drive of Dubai.
One way of getting out is by joining a hiking club. They know where to go, they know the precautions that are necessary, and it’s also a great way to meet new people.
The UAE is also considered open to the public, which means that you can camp overnight just about anywhere. With no real restrictions, this is a great opportunity to get out exploring. The night sky in the desert is scattered with millions of stars, you can hardly believe that what you are gazing up at is the very same sky that reveals nothing to you from the city.
There are some great books that include details about some of the best spots for camping and how to get there. Check out these for sale on Amazon.
You may also be hankering for some oceanic wildlife, if you come from Canada’s west coast. Fear not, the waters surrounding the UAE are teeming with wildlife. There are resident dolphins towards the North, while a host of ray, shark, and whale species can often be seen as they pass by.
The UAE also has one of the world’s largest dugong populations. You can see the incredible wildlife by diving or from the dry comfort of a boat.
Welcoming your Canadian Guests
After several years of political complications between Dubai and Canada, the waters have finally calmed and friendship has been restored. That means that welcoming your friends and family to Dubai for visits is easier now than it ever has been.
Your Canadian guests no longer need to apply for a visa in advance, and entry is granted on arrival. These entry permits allow your guests to stay for between 30 and 90 days, although stays can easily be extended by crossing over any country border, even if you return immediately. To find out more, check out visa requirements.
Connecting with other Canadians in Dubai
Of course, one of the best possible ways to help yourself settle down is by making new friends. Although it is always exciting and interesting to meet people of new and different cultures, we also know that there is something very comforting about being around people from home. Same language, same accent, same culture.
There are a whole range of options for meeting other Canadians in Dubai. There are companies that have been formally set up to bring people together, such as InterNations. Membership is free, and you can choose whether you want to meet people and get to know them online, or whether you prefer to attend some of their planned social activities.
Another option is to go for something less structured, such as joining a Facebook group. Of course it is also free, although contact, meetings, and events may be less frequent.
Not only will joining a group like these help you to meet new people, but it can give you answers to some of your burning questions, whether it’s related to schooling, day care, sending and receiving packages from home, and much more.
Speaking of answering some of your burning questions, this section is all about uniting you with some of your Canadian home comforts.
Tim Hortons is a relatively new arrival in Dubai, but its popularity saw it take off. There are now over 15 branches in the city. Serving up all the usual fare, the menu is largely the same and the doughnuts are as delightful as they are in Canada. All of the outlets have extended opening hours, and some of them are even open 24/7.
Eggspectation boasts of a prime location on a corner of The Walk in JBR with sweeping beach views. The portions are large, the food is delicious, and they also serve the bowls of coffee that you’ve come to know and love.
Just a word of warning, it’s not only the Canadians that love this spot. If you’re planning to go on a weekend, be prepared to wait for up to an hour just to get a table. Luckily, you can add your name to the waiting list and go for a meander along the beach. They’ll call you when it’s your turn.
Hockey is a passion for most Canadians, and just because you’ve moved to the desert is no reason to stop. There are several clubs that have formed, allowing children and adults to become part of an ice hockey team, so you can keep your skills (and your skates) sharp.
For more information on where to skate, as well as contact details for Dubai’s very own ice hockey league, check out this article in Timeout Dubai.