But for those new to the Gulf, many aspects of the social scene will be strikingly different. Hotels form a far great role in life, as their alcohol licenses make them home to all the country’s better restaurants and nightclubs. Shopping malls often play the role of town square, a meeting place combining retail, eating, cinemas, cafes and people watching.
As an expatriate, the most valuable thing is to find a new circle of friends to share your life with in the UAE. While the workplace will often be the first chance to meet new people, there are plenty of ways to find others who share your interests.
Book clubs, community groups and sports leagues offer good inroads to new friendships. Most national or ethnic communities have a community association that will host regular events, while a number of forums exist to let new arrivals interact with the Emirati population and build their knowledge of local culture.