Moving to Dubai with Three Children (a personal story)

Moving to Dubai with Three Children (a personal story)

04.01.2022 (updated 01.20.2023)

  • Blog
  • Moving to Dubai with Three Children (a personal story)

Moving to another country is an adventure that not everyone will decide on. To do this, you need to have a clear goal, willpower and an understanding of what you have to give up. Many people are afraid to lose their normal way of life and find themselves in a completely unfamiliar environment, in a different culture, language and surroundings.

Another argument that many put forward against moving involves children. Indeed, taking responsibility for a small person when you have not yet fully found your feet in an unfamiliar country is a great risk. What if there are two children? Or even three?

The heroes of this article are a family that decided to move to Dubai with three children. They managed to take this desperate step, and for more than six months they have been happily building a new life in the sunny emirate. Our heroine Albina, told us about what their life consists of today and how the adaptation went.


What Prompted the Family to Move to Dubai?

“We thought about moving abroad for a long time when we still only had two children, but we could not decide on the direction. In our homeland, we were oppressed by a long winter and a damp climate, and the children were constantly sick. We needed to live in a country where it would be easy to obtain a residence permit for the whole family, where children could study in English, and where we could find comfortable housing for our large family. We considered European countries, but two years ago our friends bought a house in Dubai and invited us to visit. And we realised that this option suited us. They lived in a cozy area with a garden, parks and playgrounds, there was a school nearby, where they placed their child, and we also really liked the country itself.

We decided to research everything in detail and contacted the agency. We were told about the offers for rentals on the real estate market, the range of prices when buying, and how to apply for a residence permit. We realised that buying would be the best option for us. We were told that to process documents for three years, housing should cost at least AED 1 million ($272,500)” [From September 2021, this threshold dropped to approximately AED 750,000 ($204,000)].

Accommodation Search

“The agency helped us find the best housing that suited our needs. We needed at least three bedrooms (preferably four, since all children are of different ages) so that the purchase amount exceeded the required threshold for obtaining a residence permit, but not by much. We needed a quiet area where other foreigners would also live so that we would have a lot of space and no one would be bored. We selected a great option in the Jumeirah Village Circle area, a secondary villa of about 300 m2 with three bedrooms and four bathrooms, which was very important for us. Plus, the house was fully furnished, which also saved us a lot of time and effort, since we didn’t have to do repairs and furnish the housing in a foreign country. Over time, we may repair everything, but so far, we are satisfied with everything. The cost was approximately AED 1.55 million ($422,000).”

The average cost of a villa in the Jumeirah Village Circle area is 6,000 AED ($ 1,600) per 1 m2, and apartments are 9,000 AED ($ 2,500) per 1 m2.

Schools and Kindergartens for children

“We have been living here for six months. Our youngest son just turned five years old, and we have not sent him to kindergarten yet, but we plan to start this fall. We have two kindergartens in the district, Kids World and Stepping Stones, so I don’t think we will have problems with their organisation. He is currently learning English with a teacher because they won’t speak his mother language to him in kindergarten. Fortunately, children easily grasp everything. Kindergarten attendance is optional, but since we want him to go to school here later, we plan to start preparing him in advance.

Our older children, a 10-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son, go to the only school here that uses our mother language. Our son will graduate, and then go to university, whether local or foreign, he has not yet decided. And next year we want to transfer our daughter to an English-speaking European school so that she can adjust to the environment. It is not difficult to admit children to a school here. You need the Emirates ID documents of the child and one of the parents, a copy of the passport of the child and the parent with a resident visa, a translation of the birth certificate and an extract from their medical record. One piece of advice; all documents must be translated into at least English, preferably into English and Arabic, and certified by a notary. The older children also had to have their report cards from the last school year translated.

The school is very far from our area, about 40 minutes by car without traffic jams, sometimes during rush hour, it can take more than an hour. But we are used to getting up and leaving the house early. When we send our daughter to an international school next year, we will try to find something closer to home, but the quality of education, of course, will also influence the choice.”

  • Kindergarten in Dubai will cost parents an average of AED 2,700 ($735) per child per month [the amount varies from 1250 AED ($ 340) to 4000 AED ($ 1090) – approx.].
  • An international primary school will cost an average of AED 46,500 ($12,500) per year [the amount varies from AED 25,000 ($6,800) to AED 70,000 ($19,000) – approx.].
  • High school English-language schools will cost between AED 13,000 ($3,500) and AED 64,000 ($17,500) per year, but some private schools may charge higher fees.”

Life in Dubai

“We were lucky that we had acquaintances here who were able to tell us some of the important details. They helped us to establish a life in an unfamiliar country and move to a new place without stress. For example, they explained basic things to us, such as where to buy food, how to get insurance, and how to communicate with the locals. We are slowly building a life here. My husband’s business is located in our homeland, and he is periodically forced to fly away, and the four of us remain here. So that it would not be so difficult for me, we found a nanny who speaks English as well as our language. She helps us on weekdays from 8:00 to 18:00.

Prices here are much higher than I anticipated, I had to get used to it. For example:

  • a loaf of bread costs about 4.5 AED ($1.2);
  • 12 eggs – 10 AED ($2.7);
  • a kilogram of potatoes – 3.5 AED ($0.9);
  • a liter of milk – about 6 AED ($1.6);
  • a kilogram of apples – 8 AED ($ 2.2).

Given the fact that we have a large family, the amount of food expenses per month is significant, but we were ready for it. In addition, Dubai wins over our previous home in many ways; here I can safely let my children go for walks in our community and not be afraid that something will happen to them. It’s clean, safe and sunny here.

The heat is a negative aspect, for which it is impossible to prepare. We settled here in July and the two summer months were very hard. Moving with children is quite a complex process, and moving with a small child to Dubai is an adventure. Therefore, at first, we seldom took the youngest out of the house at all, only in the evenings, when the heat subsided. But then you adjust to it a little, you drink a lot of water, constantly wear a hat, stop wearing synthetic clothes and buy only linen or cotton, especially for the children.

Our older children quickly adapted to being here, they speak English well, and their native language is also spoken at their school. It was difficult for me to overcome the language barrier because although my English is not bad, I did not practice it every day before moving here.

This is where we have changed our habits. If earlier our eldest was constantly sitting at the computer, now he plays football and wants to start playing tennis. There are many parks in Dubai where you can go with the whole family. On weekends we sometimes go to the beach or ride bikes around the area. We began to lead a healthier lifestyle, that’s for sure.”

If you also want to move to a warm emirate, find a suitable property in Dubai for your family or find out how to obtain an Arab residence permit, contact the AX CAPITAL specialists. Our real estate agency in Dubai is always ready to help. Make your dreams come true with our assistance!

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