Surprisingly, living abroad has become more normal to me than living in the United States. I have been in the Gulf Arab States for a year and a half. When I first moved to this country all the differences were a bit overwhelming. Over time I have learned to understand and eventually embrace them. Below I will briefly describe some of the main differences…
Clothing- The most obvious difference in comparison to the United States is the way people dress. There are people from countries in all regions of the world, but the traditional dress of Emiratis is the abaya worn by women and the Kandora worn by men. The abaya is typically black and accompanied by a headdress called a hijab. The Kandora is a white garment worn by Emirati men, it is usually worn with sandals and a headdress as well.
Languages- There are many languages spoken in Abu Dhabi. The main ones are Arabic, English, Hindi and Tagalog.
Food Options- Food in this country is reflective of the many cultures that inhabit it. Food options are plentiful. On any given day I can have Chinese food, Arabic food, American food, pizza, and anything else delivered to my doorstep. Literally, everyone delivers, even McDonald’s.
Work Week- In the USA the work week spans from Monday morning to Friday afternoon. Here the week begins Sunday morning and ends Thursday afternoon. At first, I thought it would be a huge shift, but I fell into this system easily.
Weather- I live in the desert. It is hot most of the time. The hottest month is August, temperatures reach about 96 degrees. In January, the coldest month temperatures average at 64 degrees.