Wednesday 15th February 2012

Picture of the Dubai skyline

According to a new piece of research, expatriates living in the UAE are ‘ignorant of local culture’ and do not have an adequate understanding of the traditions and customs that the local people value.

According to the results of a survey of over 2,000 expatriates who are currently living in the United Arab Emirates, 60% of those questioned revealed that they have only a “basic” knowledge of the countries culture, with a further 12% claiming that they know “next to nothing.” The results were surprising given that 77% of those questioned had living in the emirates for over one year and 43% had lived there for at least five years. Lt colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, editor of the publication, described the survey results as “dismaying.” “Many expat residents have a very limited knowledge of the customs, traditions and heritage of the UAE,” he stated. Before adding, “(I hope the survey results) will stimulate people to exert greater efforts in this area”.

The research, which was conducted by the Abu Dhabi Police and Ministry of Labour and published in their 999 Magazine, revealed that while 70% of those interviewed confirmed that the resources were available for them to access a solid education on the culture of their host country, just 30% had taken the time to familiarize themselves with the traditions and customs and 11% had not attempted to educate themselves at all.

Writing in the 999 magazine, Karen Remo-Listana and Emma Procter attributes expatriates’ tendency to find themselves in trouble with the law to their lack of knowledge and understanding of the culture of their host country:

“The survey data suggests a serious case of ignorance of the country's moral boundaries and thus explains the increasing incidents of expats falling foul of the law,” they added.

Are you considering living in Dubai?

Some of the customs and rules in the emirate are very unique and, if you are not familiar with them, they can come as a big surprise. At best, living amongst such contradictions can feel very overwhelming, at worst, failing to obey them can land you in very hot water. Make sure that you are fully prepared for your life in Dubai by researching the realities of expat life in this emirate so that you can be fully prepared in advance and can avoid inadvertently insulting the people you live amongst. The Expat Info Desk guide to living in Dubai contains everything you need to know to ensure your stay there is trouble free. Access it online today.

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