Thinking of relocating overseas? Then consider this family’s relocation tips.
Tamara Clark, Founder of The Global Gazette, decided to relocate her family from Atlanta, Georgia to Abu Dhabi so her husband could fulfill his life long career goal to teach abroad. “When he accepted a job offer to teach here, we saw it as the perfect opportunity for our family.”
Abu Dhabi, is the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates, located just 80 miles south from swanky Dubai, and is one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations. According to the BBC, the emirate owns 95% of the UAE’s oil production and 90% of the population is made up of expats.
Black Enterprise caught up with Tamara, to learn about her experiences living in Abu Dhabi and planning tips for families living overseas.
Did you research the location before relocating?
Yes. I did a ton of research online as we prepared for the move. Because it was recommended that my son (I had only one at the time) and I join my husband after he established a home for us, I actually did my house hunting online as well. Here are a few sites that I found useful:
Once I chose a neighborhood, I joined the corresponding Facebook groups/pages as well. Those forums had a lot of useful information and also connected me with expats already living in Abu Dhabi.
What are the major differences in work culture? Have you received any supportive services to help your family transition?
Employment is required to gain residency in the UAE. My husband worked with recruiters at Teach Away to find, apply and interview for the job. Relocation assistance is included in the benefits package for selected candidates. Outside of that, we did not receive any other services.
What has surprised you the most?
I was most surprised by how much American cuisine is available here. From fast food spots like McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King to casual dining restaurants like PF Changs, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, there is no shortage of American eateries.
Any advice for an American planning to live and work overseas?
Do your homework; Research the country, its laws, customs and its relationship with America. Also, keep an open mind once you make another country your home.
And, to establish relationships with locals, immerse yourself in the culture. Don’t just live within expat circles. Also, show respect for and a keen interest in learning about the local culture an you will be well received.
With the recent murder of an American working in Abu Dhabi, do you have any safety concerns?
The recent death of an American working in Abu Dhabi was tragic and has sparked heightened concerns about safety. The UAE is a safe place to live and I have full confidence in local law enforcement and the US Embassy to help safeguard American citizens. I am more vigilant but I do not live in fear.
Your blog, “The global gazette” is a dedicated platform for life and technology. What are the top 3 technology trends in Abu Dhabi right now?
The top three technology trends in Abu Dhabi right now are affordable smartphones; brands are flooding the region with options that give more bang for your buck or desired features at a lower price. The “selfie” is also a hot button word. New smartphones are hitting the market regularly with better front facing cameras and features that enhance the ability to capture the perfect selfie. And last but not least, designer gadgets are trendy. Big brands are partnering with fashion designers and jewelry makers to bring high-end mobile accessories to the market.
You’ve dedicated a section on your blog specifically for the international mommy, why was creating the platform so important?
For the international mommy relocating and acclimating children to a new place requires certainty. For example, when my family relocated my son was only 8 months old. I researched to see which formula, baby food and diaper brands were available here. Women before me had already blogged and chatted about it on message boards so it made my life easier and I wanted to “pay it forward” for the next expat mommy.
Name one thing you wish you would have known before relocating?
The true cost of living; estimates are always understated.