Advice for expats settling in the Middle East

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November 2, 2015 • Travel Tips • Views: 1328

Moving to a new country, or continent, for work can be an exhilarating and eye-opening experience, bringing with it a host of fantastic moments and rather daunting ones, too. While nobody can tell you exactly what will happen in the run up to your move, or hold your hand as you transition, there are several ways to make sure your experience is a positive one. Be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime.

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Relocating to the Middle East

Relocating to a distant region, particularly one as expansive and unknown as the Middle East, can be daunting and confusing. Settling anywhere other than your home country can be an upheaval, but understanding the many cultural differences that come with a move to the Middle East can add to your discomfort and confusion. One thing you must remember is that you are moving to the Middle East for a reason. Whether you’ve accepted an exciting new position, are striking out on your own, or have decided to broaden your horizons, make the most of the experiences ahead. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and with a few alterations to your lifestyle, and willingness to adapt, there is no reason you should not fully embrace this new chapter of your life. The Middle East is home to a diverse population, a rich history and heritage, and spectacular sights and scenery. You’ll come to call the region home very quickly.

So, how can you prepare for a move to the Middle East? The first thing you must do is research the cultural differences you are likely to encounter, familiarize yourself with the customs of the area you’ll be inhabiting, and organize the move. What language and dialect are commonly spoken in the area? What religion is followed? Are men and women expected to follow different rules when in public and private? While the Middle East is hugely inviting and vibrant, it can also be very unforgiving when it comes to ignorance of laws and customs. Find out the currency you’ll be using, try learning a few key phrases so you can communicate, and ensure your paperwork is in order; you are almost ready to embark upon this incredible adventure.

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Living in the Middle East

One thing you’ll learn very quickly is that the expat community in the Middle East is extensive. While it will be nice to immerse yourself in a whole new culture, you’ll never be too far from someone that will remind you of home. Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi are particularly well populated with expats, although you’ll find American workers in just about every corner of the region. Having such a presence of foreign workers makes the Middle East instantly welcoming; while you’ll no doubt make new friends there’s nothing quite like meeting those who are sharing your trials, tribulations, and highs.

Finding somewhere to live can be one of the most exciting, yet frustrating, aspects of your move to the Middle East, particularly if you have no experience of moving abroad. The trick here is to conduct ample research before you even begin to view properties, as well as familiarizing yourself with a few of the professionals you are likely to encounter. For example, Mr. Al Rajaan heads Bahrain’s biggest lender, yet he also has an extensive property portfolio that you may wish to browse. Indeed, Mr. Al Rajaan has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to real estate, investment opportunities, and what it is like to live and work in the Middle East, and so his insights would prove invaluable. Can you afford to ignore the experts? Additionally, it can be incredibly helpful to get to know the professionals in the Middle East for business purposes. Consider the nature of your work and how such a contact could impact on your company.

Moving to the Middle East can be an incredibly rewarding, yet daunting, experience; researching your move, familiarizing yourself with the customs, and browsing new homes is just the start of this fantastic adventure.

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