Awe-inspiring architecture, pristine beaches, dazzling celebrations, zillions of touristy places, enticing nightlife and a friendly community – Dubai has it all. When you consider all these aspects, you will get a clear answer why more and more overseas students are preferring to study in this cosmopolitan city.
If you are willing to be a part of a vibrant campus life full of different ethnicities and nationalities, Dubai is an excellent choice. This article reveals what it’s like to live an International Student Life in Dubai, along with some additional tips and info.
Dubai is unarguably the most compelling city in the Middle East. So, loads of good things and exclusive experiences are waiting there for you. Make the most out of your campus life in Dubai and here we are to tell you what you can expect from the city as an overseas student.
1. Opportunity to Study with Some Global Giants
Dubai has created an exceptional opportunity for students to explore multiple academic branches with some of the best universities in the region. This city is the home to a number of eminent universities that are acclaimed all across the globe.
Thanks to the city’s rapid economic growth and unexpectedly massive expat community, stalwarts of the academic arena have set up their respective international campus in and around Dubai. This means you can access similar facilities right in their Dubai campus that you could have access to their European or US or Canadian counterparts.
So, leaving the dream of studying in one of the best universities is very much possible when you pick up Dubai as your academic destination.
2. Experience an Extravagant Lifestyle
Dubai is known to the world for its expensive and lavish lifestyle. As soon as the sky turns dark, everything around you starts to gleam and glow! With those gigantic shopping malls, swanky neighbourhoods, plush restaurants and cafes – this city lets you enjoy the night fullest with your buddies.
Being one of the major economic booster and entertainment hubs in the region, Dubai is blessed with incredible skyscrapers and infrastructure. Most of these buildings are either home to over-the-top apartments, hotels, designer shops and multicuisine restaurants.
In short, Dubai has it all. When you are studying and staying in Dubai, you can explore this cosmopolitan city from its core. You will meet people of various faith from various nations and regions. One thing which is common all across the city is the amount of money people earn and spend there. It’s insane!
3. Endless Sunshine
The only thing that can be a struggle until you get used to it is the weather. If you take a look at the landscape surrounding the “City of Gold”, it is filled with barren lands and deserts. With a very little trace of vegetation, Dubai offers sun, sun and more sun!
Daytimes in Dubai are extremely sunny, bright and somewhat humid. After sunset, you can expect some relief. The whole year can be broadly divided into two seasons – summer and winter.
The summer months can be unbearable as the average temperature rises to around 40°C. Monsoons are very short-lived and insignificant in the region. Winter months can bring some relief though. During winters, days are bright, the temperature is moderate and nights are pleasant.
It may feel hard for students coming from lands of prolonged winters to acclimatize but that’s only for some initial days. Once you acclimatize you’re gonna love the fun you can have with the sun, sand and sea.
4. Getting Around The City Is Effortless
When we are talking about the transport facilities from the city of Dubai, we are actually talking about one of the best around the world in this category. Being a world-class tourist destination and the most lucrative business hub in the region, the Dubai authority has designed a wholesome transportation network which is safe, easy, fast and accessible to all.
Dubai Metro is a fully automated network that covers a large portion of the town. Travelling in the metro is the best way to minimize the hassle of reaching your destination. Taxis and public buses are always at your service. Travelling between your university and your home is smooth once you know which route you should take to reach the desired destination.
There is traffic on the road during rush hours but it’s not that severe compared to other global cities. Road conditions are outstanding in Dubai. Therefore, travel time gets significantly reduced and you don’t have to fear a hectic journey to your campus.
For more information around public transport in Dubai visit the RTA website or check out our full guide below.
5. A Very Active Social Life with Loads of Festivals
As we already mentioned, Dubai’s population is highly dominated by expat communities coming from different parts of the world. Thanks to such a diversified multi-national community, the city always celebrates festivals of some kind or other all year round.
If you are someone who loves the festival and participates actively in social gatherings, you have landed in the right city. There is so much to explore in Dubai when it comes to meeting new people, knowing their culture and assimilating those celebrations as a part of your own life experience.
From Christmas to Eid, there is absolutely no bar to express your way of following your faith and culture in Dubai. Different ethnicities have found a peaceful cohabitation here. It doesn’t matter where you came from, you will always find your sweet hometown somewhere in Dubai.
6. Endless Tourist Attractions
Ask anyone what they think of Dubai’s lifestyle? The answer will be something ‘extravagant’ and ‘entertaining’. Dubai caught the attention of the world as one of the most entertaining travel destinations in the world and still it is maintaining the status. The city entertains you in every possible way and once you experience that, it’s hard to ignore.
Look in any direction and you can spot something beguiling in Dubai. Even those skyscrapers look so amazing. Why not? They are the brainchild of the best architectural masterminds across the globe. The city holds about 130 Guinness World Records! So, they have got the largest, biggest, fastest, longest in the world and more to surprise you for years.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Mall, Palm Jumeirah, Kite Beach, Dubai Aquarium, Dubai Fountain, Museum of the Future, Dubai Frame, Miracle Garden, Dubai Glow Garden, Global Village and Ski Dubai are just a few of the major attractions from the city. Do we need to add more to this list!
Please do check out our dedicated Things To Do In Dubai section for tons of ideas about what to do in and around the city.
7. Experience A Variety of Cultures
No matter how excellent you are at adjusting to different cultural and social norms, Arabian traditions are bound to surprise initially, particularly if you are a westerner. In spite of being a cosmopolitan city, Dubai is ruled by Sharia Laws. There are a lot of Islamic practices that may shock you but when you are not an Emirati, you don’t need to follow them.
Holding hands in public, kissing in public or displaying affection in public – all are highly frowned upon in Dubai. Unmarried couples are prohibited to stay together or having any sort of sexual relationship. But as Dubai deals with a huge number of foreigners and expats, it decided to turn a blind eye to whether you are legally married or not.
Public brawling, swearing, drinking and rude gesturing are strictly dealt with hefty fines. People are free to don their swimwear and bikinis on the beach but always dress modestly while in a public place or in a religious site. These are petty social rules but better you do not ignore them.
8. Desirable Accommodations for Students
Securing a desirable accommodation in a foreign land is surely an important thing to consider for an abroad study session. The good news is Dubai has plenty of accommodation variety for students. Finding a home away from your home is not a difficult task here.
The accommodation scenario in Dubai is really versatile. There are all sorts of accommodation options available in the city to fit every budget and every requirement. From budget apartments to luxury villas, you will be spoilt with choices.
A lot of international students prefer to pick the on-or-off-campus accommodations provided by the universities. Such accommodations are cheap but well maintained. The biggest advantage of choosing these in-or-off-campus accommodations is it’s closer to the campus and light on your pocket.
9. Have Food Exactly the Way You Like It
After accommodation, comes the food. The City of Dubai is a place where more than 180 nationalities confluence. So, it’s not tough to imagine that the food habits of this vibrant community have to be very different from each other. This is the reason; the city features one of the most tempting and diversified food scenes in the region.
Dubai is home to a series of upscale fine dining places run by celebrity chefs but that doesn’t mean you have to spend heftily on your food. If you take a look at the budget restaurants or street food vendors, you will find so many reasonable options without compromising on the food quality.
Dubai lets you taste both traditional local dishes and international cuisines without making a hole in your pocket. If you are in love with food, it is inevitable to fall for Dubai too.
10. You Can Study Your Degree in English
Many people fear that studying in Dubai comes with the extra burden of learning the local language to understand your course materials. Not at all! English is widely spoken and understood across the UAE as well as in Dubai. In fact, English is the main language of education and business.
The higher education system of the UAE is immensely influenced by western education systems and that’s why you don’t have to worry for a second if you are comfortable reading and writing English. All course materials are available in English (except a few of the language courses) and you can earn your international degree in English right from Dubai.
Teachers and lecturers in Dubai’s schools and colleges are well versed in English language because they need to manage lots of international students in their classes. So, the medium of instruction in Dubai’s educational institutes is majorly English.
11. A Very Safe Place to Study, Work and Live
The United Arab Emirates is highly appreciated for being one of the safest countries in the world although managing an incredibly diverse expat community. The Crime Index for Dubai is 16.30 whereas other global cities show a more horrific picture with their respective Crime Index like Los Angeles with 50.69, London with 53.29, Berlin with 42.15 and Sydney with 33.77.
Any sort of crime is proceeded at Dubai court at a lightning speed which is very rare even in many utterly developed countries. Crimes against women are very rare and that could be because of the extreme corporal punishment along with the no social tolerance for such criminals in Emirati society.
Living, studying or working in one of the safest countries in the world always brings that extra mental peace. This is why international students enjoy a more vivacious social life in Dubai than anywhere else in the world.
12. Student Discounts Everywhere
The best part of owning a student ID card in Dubai is that you are eligible for tons of attractive student discounts. Once you learn to use them properly, you can literally cut off your living cost measurably.
Students get a special discount on their metro rides. Many cafes and restaurants also give huge discounts to students or arrange for some special prices for them to enhance their customer base. All you need to do is to show your student ID card to relish a sumptuous meal at those eateries.
There are many gyms and retail shops that offer more or less 10% flat discounts for students. You will be glad to know that International Student ID Card (ISEC) brings more discounts on your way. Life looks cheap yet amazing for students in Dubai. Isn’t it?
13. Golden Visa Scheme for International Students
In its attempt to incorporate more and more talented students and their families around the world, the UAE government has introduced a new visa scheme, the Golden Visa Route. An eligible student along with their family members can apply under the special scheme to be granted with a 10-year of resident visa in UAE.
This special student visa scheme is particularly helpful in paving way for international students who are willing to pursue their higher studies in Dubai or UAE.
14. Impressive Work Opportunities for International Students
To reduce the financial burden during your abroad study in Dubai, international students are allowed to take part-time jobs. Most of the universities in Dubai offer on-campus jobs throughout the year and off-campus jobs during summer vacations.
Being a commercially grounded city, Dubai comes with various types of part-time jobs offered to students. The monthly salary is handsome.
International students need to acquire a work permit from the UAE Labour Department to take part-time jobs in Dubai. without a university sponsorship, you can’t have a part-time work permit.
15. A Bright Future after Finishing the Course
If you are aiming for a job and don’t want to leave immediately after finishing your academic course, you can find promising job offers from the national and international firms in Dubai. This city offers proper respect and salaries to your talent and you will never regret pursuing your career in Dubai.
International students with respective degrees don’t face any discrimination in their career paths when they choose to work in Dubai. Dubai salaries are exempted from income tax. This means you can earn big and save even bigger.
Life in Dubai has its own flavour and being an international student adds more to this. It is a land which is diverse and cosmopolitan simultaneously. We have furnished here our observation of student life in Dubai. Pursuing your dream of higher studies abroad is truly when your destination is Dubai.