Making the decision to take your skills overseas will, for many people, be one of the biggest and most life defining they’ll take. All potential expats experience similar worries when they commit to a move anywhere, but for Western trained medics the Gulf region can be a particular challenge.
On one hand it can offer world-leading salaries, a luxurious standard of living and (for medics) some of the planet’s most impressive medical facilities. However the culture can be very different, and worries over that big lifestyle change play a major role in many people deciding not to make a move.
If you are considering a move to the UAE here’s a list of 5 of the biggest expat worries, and why they shouldn’t be of concern.
1 - A Restricted Way of Life
The media is full of stories depicting many Middle Eastern locations as restrictive, oppressive regimes. In reality however this is far from the truth. The UAE, Bahrain and Qatar are all fairly liberal nations and, whilst still governed by Sharia Law, day-to-day life isn’t unlike that elsewhere.
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are more conservative, however this doesn’t mean that you will lead a restrictive, fearful lifestyle. In Saudi the majority of expats live in compounds where the rules governing everyday life are far more relaxed.
The key is simple. Learn as much as you can about a country prior to moving so that you know that it is right for you.
2 - Endless Paperwork Prior to a Move
There’s no point lying and saying that a move is a quick, simple process. It isn’t, and the paperwork to ensure that you have a visa and right to employment in your new country can take time. As too can having your qualifications recognised by the accreditation boards in your new home.
That’s where we are able to help. At Odyssey we get everything organised at an early stage, and guide you step-by-step through all the different aspects of the move. Our experienced and knowledgeable team will be able to take some of the stresses out of a move, and allow you to concentrate on preparing yourself for a life changing few months.
3 - The Heat
Many people decide to move abroad because of the idea of year round warm weather and sunshine, but this can become overpowering for some expats - especially at first.
The average temperature throughout the Gulf can range from 35 °C to 45 °C, and there is very little rainfall. This can create a real shock to the system for expats, and many may feel as if they are unable to leave the house.
As you would expect from such a developed region however, the Gulf has responded to this by investing millions in ensuring that almost all buildings are well air conditioned and cool. Hospitals, houses, malls, cars, everything is air conditioned and most people in the country will spend their time indoors until the cooler evenings.
This means that the heat isn’t an issue for the majority of expats much of the time, and it certainly shouldn’t put medics off making a potentially career enhancing move.
4 - A ‘Foreign’ Working Environment
For many ‘would be’ expats the prospect of working in a foreign environment can be a reason not to take a role overseas. In reality however this is far from what is experienced. Gulf countries are amongst the most diverse in the world, and that means that they commonly work in a very similar way to Western facilities.
As well as this English is widely spoken across the region, especially in the UAE and Bahrain, making communications between medics, colleagues and patients easy for people able to speak the language.
The one area where they aren’t similar to the UK and other such locations is in the administrative side. Hospital admin departments are almost always well staffed, and this cuts down drastically on the amount of paperwork a medic is expected to complete.
5 - The Distance
Whilst all the above factors can be relatively easily overcame, the one factor that can’t is the distance between yourself and family back at home. Being unable to spend time with relatives and friends back home is the number one reason given by many medics for not pursuing career enhancing options overseas - and it’s a difficult factor to deal with.
This can never fully be overcome, however there are plenty of options for making it easier to deal with being apart from loved ones. Houses in the region tend to be far bigger than those in Europe and America, and that allows plenty of space for visitors. As well as this holiday entitlements are more generous in the Middle East, giving you the opportunity to take advantage of the regular flights home, whilst fast internet connections can make video calling easy.
Moving anywhere in the world can be tough, however with modern technology, quick flights and generous holiday entitlements the distance does not feel as big as it once was.
If you believe that a move to the Middle East could enhance your career simply register on our website for job alerts - and start your journey to a more rewarding way of life today.