Hi to all who read,
I am a 23-year-old American woman, currently living in Brussels, who has the opportunity to live and work in Dubai for an 8 month assignment. I would be arriving around April 1st and staying until the end of November, 2007.
I know that I will be staying there during the extremely hot and humid summer months, but I am willing to take it in stride. I have a few specific questions that I hope those in similar situations or those who know people in my situation can help me with. There are quite a few, so if you want to email me your responses instead, I understand--message me if that's what you prefer!
-Is being young, single, and American going to propose a problem, both in assimilating as best I can to UAE culture and in finding expats who are also young and single to socialize with?
-Where do young single expats typically live in Dubai? I know Jumeirah is popular for families, but if you are not coming in a family unit, where should you start? Are there any areas that allow you to walk to the big mall/shops/movies/etc. rather than have to drive?
-What is the climate like for Jews? I am more culturally Jewish than religious, but this is a big concern for my family and I want to hopefully assure them I won't have any problems whilst I'm there.
-I understand that you need your work visa and resident visa in order to obtain your alcohol license, driver's license, etc. About how long should I leave to get the basics?
-Are there gyms there to join? Are they included in the various apartment/villa complexes? Are they standard international quality or leave something to be desired?
-It seems from reading through these forums that a car is truly essential--is there any type of walking/bus culture, or do you really get around solely via car and/or taxi?
-I heard the water is quite harsh because of the desalination process and can cause your hair to fall out--does anyone know where to get a filter to put on your shower so that this isn't as much of an issue?
Thanks in advance for all of your help--if anyone has been in Dubai for a bit and can give me some advice on the above as well as how to cope when I first get there (best places to go/who to talk to/ins and outs of assimilation) I would be so appreciative!! Hoping that I can give this move the OK and embark on an amazing adventure and experience.