Surprises

New teachers have arrived. We’ve met several of them, and some report reading our blog and finding it helpful. The whole point of chronicling this experience is to give others an accurate idea if what it’s like to teach and live in the UAE, so we are delighted that some people are finding it useful as they decide whether to come over to the desert.

One thing that’s surprised the new teachers, and which just made it’s debut this fall, is that new folks have to pay a housing deposit when they receive their quarters. The figure seems to be 5% of whatever the assigned housing rents for (usually around 65,000 AED in Al Ain, so the deposit would be approximately 3,200). While the idea is doubtless to make those who would flee the, er, challenges of this job think twice before abandoning all their stuff and leaving without paying any of their bills, etc. (and to cover the expenses left behind by those who do run), it’s been an unexpected wallet whammy for newcomers. As one told me, of the 20,000 AED you’re given as a furniture allowance upon arrival (or somewhere near), fully half is now going into the deposit and other necessities, such as the 1,000 AED deposit to have AADC turn on your power, the one for gas (1000 + in our case), whatever it is that Etisalat charges for establishing a phone and internet connection and installation (don’t remember, and don’t wanna look it up), the cost of new SIM cards or new mobile phones (we recommend just getting a new SIM for your GSM compatible smart phone), and so on. That means that the amount of money to buy new furniture is nearly half the amount you’re allotted. If you’ve shopped for furniture lately, you’ve noticed it’s not cheap, and that 10,000 AED ($2700) won’t buy you much.

Dirhams!

Dirhams!

Another surprise of sorts is that even those newcomers who’ve been in the UAE for over a month now haven’t been paid. They got the furniture allowance, yes, but ADEC only recently got around to communicating that they wouldn’t receive their pay until the end of September. Here’s hoping these people set aside enough money to live for a couple months without pay. That is ADEC’s recommendation, after all, so at least one thing isn’t hugely surprising!

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2 thoughts on “Surprises

  1. Hello! I am currently considering teaching in Abu Dhabi and I am set to have my interview on Tuesday, but can you please help me out with a question. Would you be willing to tell me your housing allowance that was provided by ADEC? Also do they tell you where to live or give you a list to go off of. I have been trying to do reach so that I have an idea when I get there, but I wanted to make sure I was looking in too big of a price range or too low of one. Thanks!

    • Martina, the housing allowance seems to vary based on location; in Al Ain, the average family receives 80k AED. Singles receive less. Now that’s all elementary, because you’re forced to live in ADEC supplied accommodation for the first year or two (depending on who you ask and the alignment of the moon and your left nostril). Typically the apartments are at least decent, and in some cases downright nice. I didn’t learn where I’d be living until weeks after my arrival; I wouldn’t expect things to be any different now.

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