How many people live in Dubai
To be an emigrant means breaking up your tent at home and starting all over in a foreign country. What is a dream and a promise for many often means failure for others. I was able to talk to Chantal, she moved to Dubai with a few belongings and found happiness there! Dubai stands for legendary wealth, for sheer endless luxury and boastful ostentation on the one hand and for a culture shaped by Islam on the other. This city seems very exotic and foreign to us, and traveling there is a real treat little adventure. But what is it like when you move there completely? Chantal dared to take this step and today we have a little chat outside the box.
Emigrating to Dubai - the experience report
Dubai | Emigrants in Dubai
Luxury | Adaptation
Dealing with Islam
The first days | openness
Dubai - the pearl of the Persian Gulf
Dubai - So many stories and mysteries entwine around this "City of gold“That you don't even believe that it actually exists! The city of absolute superlatives, in which everything always has to be a little better, a little bigger, faster, more expensive than anywhere else. And everything here is not that old! It was not until the 1960s-1970s that the city transformed into the megacity we know today.
Dubai is a unique, dazzling Mecca of prosperity
There has long been a small colony of pearl divers and fishermen here at the mouth of Dubai Creek. Pearl diving was the predominant industry until the port of Dubai developed into one of the most important trading centers in the Gulf region in the 20th century. Then, in 1966, oil was found - and nothing has been the same in Dubai since! The oil industry developed very quickly and made the city rich almost overnight!
Nothing more with barren desert! Today Dubai is a unique, dazzling Mecca of prosperity! We know the city as a glittering pearl on the Persian Gulf, with ever larger skyscrapers, artificially raised islands and the most exclusive of all malls. It seems rich and exotic to us, and culturally shaped by Islam. But what is it like to live there?
Emigrants in Dubai - the exoticism of their new home
Around 85% of Dubai's residents are immigrants and they also provide most of the local economic output. Because although the city got rich from oil, today it is mainly oil tourismwho continues to turn the mill here. So if you dream of the exotic spot of Dubai, make yourself aware that there are a lot of newcomers here!
From Germany to Dubai
One of these newcomers is Chantal. She emigrated from Germany to Dubai about five years ago and built a career and a happy life here. She is still simply enthusiastic about her adopted home and also thinks that everyone should travel to Dubai. "From a European point of view, everything is different here," she says, "People in Abbaya (robe) and Kondura (cloth) are quite normal here and a lot of what you know from home is not. You are offered a completely different point of view here, this is not the western world.“So what's the great thing about Dubai that everyone should travel here for? "If you want to experience something completely different and in a friendly and cosmopolitan environment, you should definitely come here!“
What is it about the prejudice of swank and luxury?
If you actually plan to fly to Dubai, two things come to mind: Exuberant luxury, which is already wasteful, and a Muslim culture. As far as luxury is concerned, Chantal can only agree: "It's true, the urge for luxury is omnipresent here. It flashes and sparkles everywhere! As soon as you arrive at the airport, you quickly feel overwhelmed by the design. You could say it like this: People like to show off in Dubai.
It flashes and sparkles everywhere!
The best is just good enough, everything has to be higher, further, faster, nicer, newer, bigger and more expensive, you have to drive the newest car, build the tallest tower and the largest artificial island ... This is truly a city of superlatives! Nowhere does it fit better than here.“And when you come to town as a tourist, does everything just have to be to look at but not to be touched?
Vacation in Dubai - also for "normal earners"
How expensive is such a vacation in Dubai? "Of course, you can spend a luxury vacation from your wildest dreams here“, Says Chantal too. "A stay here can be expensive, even more expensive and incredibly expensive, but it doesn't have to be! Even "normal wage earners" can spend a nice holiday here, a week in Dubai can cost as much as a week in Mallorca, if you research well beforehand. And cheap is not always bad here, not at all!“
How much do tourists have to adapt here?
On the other hand, Dubai is clearly shaped by religion. The Islam- Of course, people's affiliation predominates here and other religions are in the minority. That clearly shapes everyday life, says Chantal. Whether clothing, eating habits or public expressions of affection - despite all the openness of Dubai, you have to adapt. As a tourist, you often seem like a stranger: "European tourists, especially women, are stared at here often and quite obviously. This is not meant to be angry, instead of saying 'hello' you just stare here. Europeans are simply strangers here and women who are not Abbaya (Robe) and not wearing a Sheila (veil) and instead some body-hugging clothing, are just noticeable. That would be impolite in Germany, but it really isn't meant to be angry here.“
The struggle with the heat
But what is the most blatant thing that European tourists have to get used to here is something completely different! "Clearly that climate!“Snorts Chantal. "At the moment it is a pleasant 23-25 ° C with mild winds. So what would be the perfect summer in Germany is winter here! You can imagine what kind of temperatures there are here in summer! At the time, all tour operators had great deals on Dubai, but then there were great deals here Temperatures of up to 50 ° C and a humidity of what feels like 100%!“
„The arid desert climate that you might expect here can be found if you drive further into the country. But Dubai is right on Persian Gulf, and so a lot of moisture arrives here. It's not easy when the temperatures get so oppressive."And she also has to struggle with it in her everyday life:"For example, I have to wear a costume and make-up during my work, which can be a challenge. Waterproof make-up is a must, otherwise the mascara hangs under your eyes before you get to the car!“
A culture shaped by Islam - do visitors have to limit themselves?
Security in Dubai
But back to the topic again religion. I know that there has been a certain amount of skepticism towards Muslim countries growing more and more recently. On the radio, on television, on the Internet - new horror stories are being reported everywhere. Chantal as an immigrant German and Emigrant in Dubai can tell me if foreigners have to worry here. "Anyone who is afraid of unrest can rest easy here. And even if you travel alone as a woman, there is absolutely nothing to fear here! Personally, I feel a lot safer here at night than when I got off one of the subways in Hamburg at night ...“, She reports to me with a wink.
Encounter with a new culture
And anyway, she tells me, you shouldn't be afraid of anyone here: "People are like that hospitable and incredibly helpful! You can also tell that they are trying to take the 'fear of Islam' away from travelers, which is currently being fueled."If you are not yet familiar with Islam and are curious, Chantal has a really cool tip:"Should you ever come to Abu Dhabi, you absolutely have to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque visit, it is open to tourists! Normally, non-Muslims are not allowed into the mosques, but the former sheikh, after whom the mosque was named, ordered it to be so. He brought the seven emirates together and is considered the 'father' of the nation. He had specifically designed this mosque to be open to everyone, including people of other faiths, so that they can get an idea of it.“
Visiting mosques against narrow-mindedness
„The mosque is really beautiful and definitely worth a visit! There is also no entry fee. Women must go in covered, so they should wear long, baggy clothes and bring a scarf that they can use as a headscarf so that their head is covered. Even when it's hot outside! One should see that there is nothing wrong with religion, that is the general statement. The United Emirates explicitly distances itself from all the unrest associated with Islam and our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, also ran in the march for the victims of Charlie Hebdo. The only fear is that all Muslims will now be lumped together.“
So Dubai is a very cosmopolitan city, but you should still be considerate: "Islam belongs to Dubai. People are called to prayer five times a day, the exact time depends on the sunrise, and they are then also broadcast on the radio. Films are also interrupted for this. But you get used to it. People arriving at the airport are often unsettled when they hear the muezzin calling. But then life does not stop! Not that bad.“
Settling-in period or culture shock? The first days
Cosmopolitan or not, for tourists that only means a week or two in the end Adaptation. But what if you want to live here? Surely there are occasions when one is offensive? I ask Chantal how it was for her when she came here. Was it hard to get used to? "Strangely not at all!“, She laughs at me. "The famous culture shock that one always hears about and that one would expect did not happen to me at all. I had been here before I moved here, so I basically knew what to expect.“
„In addition, I started working straight away. I had a week to get used to, in which I could do all the administrative procedures and settle in, but then I worked straight away and was immediately in the rhythm - no time for doubt. I also got to know all the new things little by little, so a real “shock” couldn't happen. For example, it was nowhere near as tough as when I went to the US for a year at the age of 16, even though they are much closer to us culturally. But in your mid / late 20s you approach things differently ...“
Lent and humid 50 ° C - a first-class reception committee
But come on, you must have had trouble with something? Chantal gives a short smile. "When I came here it was August and therefore not only very hot, but also in the middle of it Ramadan. Completely different rules apply here, which of course I wasn't prepared for.
Chantal's greatest challenge
One may DO NOT eat or drink anything in public. And you have to consider that then, in August, it is really HOT, with up to 50 ° C almost unbearable. Everything stands still, not a breeze blows and you sweat with every movement. And then you are not allowed to drink anything! At least not in public. Of course, non-Muslims are allowed to eat and drink, but they should do this in closed rooms, for example in hotels. Back then I made myself small in the car or hid behind a car to take a sip of water.“
So a little shock after all? During Ramadan, the Muslim Lent, a lot of things are not allowed: Eating and drinking in public is just as forbidden as eating ice cream, chewing gum and smoking. The ban applies to those who do not fast, including tourists, as it does to those who are fasting so that they are not disturbed. If you break one of these fasting rules, things can get uncomfortable: "As a non-Muslim you are not immediately thrown into jail for this and usually you turn a blind eye if you are caught eating in public. But it is very disrespectful and you can expect evil looks and abuse. For Muslims, breaking Shariah law is much worse!“
"Dubai lives from tourism, here you are quite open" - right?
„But none of this is so strict“, Chantal reveals to me. "You have to consider that especially Dubai, of all cities with a Muslim culture, especially from tourism lives. Since they have very little oil of their own, tourists are their source of money, so they make sure that they are fine! In Abu Dhabi, for example, a different wind blows, here people are much more conservative.“
„There are, for example, stickers on the malls and other buildings that tell you what is forbidden there ... That kissing is not allowed and 'moderate clothing'The trend is that the shoulders have to be covered, no short shorts or even miniskirts should be put on, etc. But thanks to the fully cranked air conditioning, it is not difficult to cover yourself. There are even security guards in the malls in Abu Dhabi who will warn you if you are inappropriately dressed and ask you to change.“
„In Dubai things like kisses and skimpy clothes are not welcome either, but they are not completely 'forbidden' here and do not lead directly to a punishment for non-Muslims. Dresses, skirts, pants up to the knee are ok. You just think to yourself: This is our country, there are certain rules here that you have to abide by when you are a guest here. That also applies to all other countries you travel to.“
"Home is where the heart is"
Chantal has built a new home for himself in the distance. 3.5 years ago she came here for the job, she stayed because of her heart: "On the one hand, I really enjoy my job. Then a big one came very quickly circle of friends to that, which is constantly growing. We are all very multicultural, we come from all over the world!“
So many different cultures in one place, surely there are sometimes misunderstandings? "Sometimes it's difficult, of course, ”Chantal tells me. “But we all have a lot of fun together. For example, everyone brings something traditional to eat from their country and the others can get to know it that way ... There are also surprising things: For example, if someone from Pakistan addresses you in perfect German because they have learned it, or if they are Moroccans, who speak Japanese fluently ... Funny station wagons are created. This is now also the love came. My partner grew up in the Emirates and lived his life here. We are rooted here now.“
Don't be afraid of your new lifelong dream
Being an emigrant also means getting involved in new cultures. And especially here, in for us exotic Dubai, where so much appears new and foreign, doubts can quickly arise. But if you, like Chantal, with an open mind when you approach the matter, you can quickly find new friends - and in the end it might work out with love too! I say thank you very much Chantal for your open answers and I wish you a lot of fun in your dream city Dubai!
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