From the bright lights and cutting edge architecture of Dubai, to the stunning 19 century Al Jahili Fort in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates is a richly diverse and fascinating kingdom. As well as the world class attractions of its 7 Emirates it is also home to one of the most developed healthcare systems in the world.
The most well known area for healthcare is the world renowned Dubai Healthcare City, a healthcare free economic zone located near Dubai International Airport. The healthcare city is home to over 110 clinics and hospitals specialising in everything from dermatology, to neurology and paediatrics. Whatever your speciality is, there will be an operation specialising in it within DHC.
Before deciding that the United Arab Emirates is where your future lies, it is best to find out as much as you can about the country.
The UAE has one of the highest immigrant populations in the world, with people of all nationalities flocking to it with the hope of living a life of luxury in the sun.
The majority of those moving to the country from the UK make their home in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai - the two most well known states - which is hardly surprising given the range of facilities, sights and opportunities these areas contain.
Architecture in the UAE is big business, and it is unlike anything else you will see in the world. Stunning, technologically advanced buildings are intertwined with far older structures, and both will leave you speechless.
Perhaps the most obvious example of this currently is the $1.5 billion, 2722 foot high Burj Khalifa. The tallest structure in the world. Thanks to it being home to some of the fastest elevators in the world visitors can get from the ground floor to the world's highest observation deck in just over a minute. Located on the 148th floor, 1821 meters above the ground it provides stunning views over the state and, on a clear day visibility can stretch for up to 30 miles.
Fascinatingly you can also watch the sunset twice in a matter of minutes from ground level, and then from the viewing deck. Making it one of a very small list of places where this is possible in the world.
Entry to the Burj Khalifa is through The Dubai Mall - the largest in the world by total area - and one of many spread across the Emirates. These malls are packed full of leading brands and stores from all round the world. Electronic shops like Sony and Bose are joined by fashion houses like Gucci, Burberry and French Connection and even toy stores Hamleys and Build a Bear!
For anyone concerned that moving to the UAE would restrict their access to the brands they love from their own country there is no reason to worry. Almost every major shop has stores in the country.
If the idea of enormous shopping centres is not one which is appealing to you, then there are plenty of cultural activities to immerse yourself in. The Dubai Museum provides a fascinating insight to the country prior to its extensive regeneration and development, allowing you to see what traditional Arab living would have been like.
Furthermore, plans are in place for a Louvre in Abu Dhabi which is scheduled to open in 2017 bringing priceless art and artifacts to the states.
Abu Dhabi is also the home of Yas Island, a manmade island that is home to hotels and restaurants as well as a range of attractions like Yas Waterworld, ranked the 2nd best waterpark in the world by the Los Angeles Times, as well as beaches and a marina harbouring some of the most expensive and impressive vessels in the world. The island is home to the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand-prix, and Ferrari World museum and theme park, making it also ideal for people with an interest in motorsport.
Whilst autosport is massive in the UAE the sheer variety of different cultures in the area is reflected in the number of different sports that are played and supported throughout the kingdom.
As with most countries football (soccer) is the most popular sport, and the Emirates has a thriving football league featuring big name players such as Nilmar and Mirko Vučinić. As well as football the country’s stunning coastline makes it ideal for watersports. Surfing, jet-skiing and windsurfing are all hugely popular in the area, and provide an escape from the often hectic social lifestyle.
Back on dry land, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship brings the world’s best players to the area, whilst the Emirates Rugby 7s Challenge takes the best teams from around the world and pits them against each other in front of crowds that can exceed 40,000.
Remarkably the UAE, with its average temperature of 27 degrees celsius, is also home to a 22,500 meters squared indoor ski centre, that boasts an 85m high indoor mountain, 5 slopes which vary in difficulty and even penguins!
‘Ski Dubai’ is located next to the Mall of the Emirates and highlights how, no matter your interests, the UAE is likely to have something which suits them.
If the luxurious and varied lifestyle of the Emirates is appealing to you then learning more about the healthcare system will enable you to come to a decision over whether or not it’s where your future could lie.
As with most countries there is a public and private healthcare system within the country. The private system provides the main job opportunities for western trained doctors, surgeons and physicians within the country, with many job opportunities opening up every month.
The best known hospital in the country is probably the American Hospital Dubai, a modern 187 bed hospital which is currently undergoing an extensive renovation that will increase its capacity to 384 beds.
The increase in healthcare spending is a trend which is being replicated throughout the country. Dubai Healthcare City is preparing for the start of work on its phase 2 expansion, which will cover 22 million square feet alongside Dubai Creek offering opportunities for hundreds more clinics, surgeries and hospitals to open to meet the ever growing demand from medical tourists.
Medical tourism is huge business in the area, and the UAE is a medical tourism capital of the world. The state of the art facilities, and fierce competition for the tourist’s business has lead to very attractive salary packages being offered, with the added incentive of being tax free.
Most private hospitals and clinics will request that you have your CCT as well as up to date qualifications in your specialist area. They will also look for around 5 years of experience in your specialist area, but this figure can be flexible depending on the employer and their preferences and needs. Fluency in English is essential, and whilst not considered as important, a knowledge of Arabic (or another suitable language) would also improve your employability.
So, if you do decide that life working in the UAE would suit you, what is the day-to-day life like in the country.
The first thing to remember is that, despite the relaxed lifestyle, the UAE does still follow a judicial system that is based on the principles of Shariah law. This means that public shows of affection - such as holding hands or kissing - are frowned upon and can be punished by imprisonment, or even 80 lashes.
As well as this, drinking alcohol in the country requires a personal license, even if you are at a licensed hotel. As the UAE is a Muslim country you should also ensure that you are never found to be drinking, or drunk, in public. Likewise you cannot drive with any amount of alcohol in your system, and if you get caught doing this you will be subject to legal action.
Whilst these strict laws may seem restrictive they do bring a positive to the country. An extremely low crime rate, the 8th lowest in the world.
The laws adopted by the UAE are also far more liberal than its neighbouring countries like Saudi Arabia. Women are allowed to drive and don’t require to wear the full abaya and veil as they are required to in Saudi. Out of respect women are asked not to wear too revealing clothes such as vest tops, or shorts which are above the knee in public. These rules can seem restrictive, but out of respect for the culture of the country should be followed when out in public.
Home life in the Emirates is where it is acceptable to dress as you wish. Most expatriates moving to the country will live in a gated compound which is often paid for by their employers. These areas are secure oases that could be located anywhere in the world. They are effectively their own towns with plenty of features and local amenities. The most popular in Dubai is ‘Arabian Ranches’, a relaxed area near Motor City south-east of the centre of the state.
It, along with most other compounds, boasts a wide range of facilities like a golf club, polo club and British school. It’s located just over 20 minutes from Dubai Mall and the Marina, as well as also containing its own shopping centre as well as parks and community pools. If you have a family then there can be few places better to raise them than in the UAE.
No matter where you elect to live in the country you will learn a whole lot more about many different cultures from around the world. Recent statistics suggest that just over 11% of the country's total population is made up of Emirati citizens, with many thousands of people from every continent on earth making up the other 89%.
This has created a rich, diverse and fascinating culture - or a ‘’melting pot’ as it is known - of different nationalities, religions and ways of life. There is no country on the world better than the United Arab Emirates if you want to learn and experience other cultures and meet people from all over the world.
An ever increasing number worldwide, the cost of living in the UAE is lower than it is in the United Kingdom. Some products - like alcohol or coffee are more expensive, but this is offset by essential items like fruit and vegetables being cheaper than the UK, and of course the much spoken about cost of fuel.
Petrol is cheaper by the litre than water in the United Arab Emirates. On average a full tank of fuel will set a motorist back around £11.20, compared with a figure of around £50 in the UK.
Transport is also substantially cheaper in the UAE than it is in the UK. A monthly pass for the Metro is around £80 cheaper than it is in London, whilst Taxis are widespread, and have a considerably lower cost per kilometer than they do in the UK (around 38p instead of close to £3).
There are a few areas where life in the Emirates is considerably more expensive than it is in the UK - most notably rent and internet connection.
The issue of rent is usually easily overcome for medical professionals as accommodation will commonly be provided as part of a salary package. If this is not the case then often an allowance may be provided on top of a salary to pay for rent. The cost can also vary by location, with Dubai being the most expensive area to live, and Sharjah just outside it being much cheaper.
Internet connections are on average around £55 a month, around 40% higher than they are in Britain. Any potential issues with this cost should be offset by the lower price of food, fuel and the tax free salary however.
Life in the United Arab Emirates is unique . Everywhere you look or visit will provide you with a different cultural experience. Stunning, state-of-the-art facilities are accompanied by beautiful architecture and plenty of places to visit.
As the healthcare industry continues to grow and benefit from investment as does the attractiveness of moving your career there.
If you believe the future of you and your family may be in the UAE and its healthcare system then register on our website https://www.odysseyrecruitment.com/ and begin your journey to the middle east.