Skip To Content

    24 Things You Learn To Love When You Move To Dubai

    In the words of Tupac, you got to be there to know it.

    1. Moving to Dubai is like starting at a new school.

    Paramount Pictures / Via thatgirl-keke.tumblr.com

    Every conversation starts with, "Where have you come from and what are you doing here?" And with expats making up an estimated 92% of the city's population, it's not surprising.

    2. You've never been so ashamed to be a monoglot.

    Via reactiongifs.com

    Conversations standardly take place in at least four languages, and your friendship group looks like the UN General Assembly. So really, it's a win.

    3. But you can speak Expat Essential Arabic™.

    Via memegenerator.net

    And have convinced yourself that so long as you've got "khalas," "yalla" and "insha'Allah," you're good to go.

    4. Your friends at home thinking you live a life of luxury on your tax-free salary.

    Via tobaco-wormhole.tumblr.com

    They don't need to see you weeping into your bank account as you sign a cheque for six months' rent.

    5. Eventually you come to realise that a 6-wheeled Hummer H2 is not an unreasonably large car.

    6. And pretty soon you'll learn that BIGGEST is BEST.

    7. You become pretty reliant on the fact that EVERYTHING delivers.

    reddit.com

    Being able to phone for snacks from the supermarket below your apartment ain't great for your waistline or your sense of shame. But KFC, direct to your door, at anytime of the day or night? The true hallmark of civilisation.

    8. When you do go out to eat, the waiter brings you an extra chair.

    Via howshouldisassyou.tumblr.com

    For your designer handbag to sit on, obviously.

    9. Oh, and you can leave your bag unattended.

    Via otherwiseradiant.tumblr.com

    At first, it's unnerving for someone from London, New York, or pretty much any other big city. Then, it's AMAZING. (Fact: Dubai recently passed an "honesty test" with full marks).

    10. You learn that all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink brunches aren't as fun as they sound the hard way.

    Via imgur.com

    Oh sure, I guess the last days of Rome were fun, but the aftermath? The literal end of Rome. Let that be a lesson to us all.

    11. "Winter" makes you feel unbelievably smug.

    Via giphy.com

    Because you spend it at the beach, uploading obnoxious pictures of you sunning yourself on a yacht, while the rest of your Facebook friends are squeezing into a fourth pair of thermals.

    12. And in summer? It is perfectly acceptable to take a taxi for a 100-metre trip down the street.

    Via giphy.com

    Lest they have to scrape you off the pavement. 50 degree heat is no joke.

    13. You learn to love Summer Cabin Fever.

    Via img.pandawhale.com

    Ok, so it's too hot to even stick your hand out the window but, on the plus side, you have been meaning to re-watch all 9 series of the Office.

    14. It doesn't take you long to realise that Dubai reacts to rain the way Britain reacts to snow: It. Cannot. Deal.

    Via reactiongifs.com

    Schools close. Roads jam. Phone lines go down. Everyone hunkers down inside (except for mad and perversely nostalgic Brits).

    15. And you start thinking that you may be in the most paradoxical city on earth.

    kimkab.com

    Where else can you go desert dune bashing in the morning and skiing in the afternoon? Oh, and we'll soon be home to the Middle East's first rainforest. Because Dubai.

    16. You start appreciating just how literal place names are.

    17. Arabic weekends are the actual best.

    Via mashable.com

    Sure, working on a Sunday might feel wrong, but the novelty of finishing work on a Thursday will never grow old.

    18. And you get a real kick out of finding a route that doesn't involve taking Sheikh Zayed Road.

    Via drumsplease.blogspot.ae

    On a Thursday night, you'll take a detour round Abu Dhabi if it means avoiding the infamous 6-lane highway that runs through Dubai.

    19. While tailgating is something of a national sport, giving an offender the middle finger could land you in trouble.

    Via memecenter.com

    Yup, being rude is literally illegal.

    20. And you no longer have to put up with that overly-handsy couple snogging in the supermarket.

    Via giphy.com

    PDA? Also: Not Allowed.

    21. Plus, local cultural sensitivity saves you from some truly awful films.

    22. Friends at home think you're either permanently covered head to toe...

    Via imgur.com

    23. ... or that you're #ballin 24/7...

    24. .... but you know Dubai's somehow achieved the rarest of things: A happy medium.

    surfingdubai.com / Via surfersvillage.com

    Because the beauty of this city is that it's steeped in culture and history - both Arabic and beyond, thanks to the 200+ nationalities who call it home. You just have to know where to look.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form