22 February, 2009

UAE not so expat-friendly?

According to the HSBC Bank International's Expat Exploreer Survey, published at Forbes on the World's Friendliest Countries, the UAE ranked least friendly.
The United Arab Emirates was found to be the most difficult for expats; only 54% of those surveyed said they'd made friends with locals.
Maybe because locals are a really small minority? That's kind of an unfair survey, but this is what happens when you become the world's favorite place to hate.

18 comments:

Mita said...

I don't think that being a minority has anything to do with it. It depends on both sides - if the expatriate makes the effort, I am sure the Emiratis would respond or vice versa.

The problem here is perhaps each community waits for the others to make the first move. I have found the Emiratis very hospitable and friendly and I have been here a long time.

Abu Dhabi Blogger said...

I may be a STRONG critic of many things here but I love the social fabric of the UAE. It is a place where you walk into a hundred nationalities everyday. You see all kinds of people from those who stare at you as if you are from another planet to many who smile at you for no reason. I have never felt that I am not welcome here. YES there are instances of red tape in some government departments and some other issues, but to me the UAE has been a very friendly place.
Every place has its issues, as does the UAE. I want to move from here in another three to five years but my reason is not lack of hospitality.
I am from an underdeveloped country where the frustration makes the society a very intolerable one on many levels.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

HA!

The UAE is a very friendly place. And let's be honest, not many people are frieds with locals because most of them don't make the effort to become so. Because there isn't that much incentive to many to learn Arabic and the local dialect and interact with locals on more than the formal level... (given that the UAE is more often than not a transit place.)

Mohammed said...

While Dubai Jazz has a point about expats not making an effort to make local friends, it works both ways, and locals here are most reclusive than let's say, Omani locals. Almost every expat who I know who has lived in both UAE and Oman, are unanimous in that Omanis are much more approachable than UAE Natives. That said, I would rather deal with reclusive UAE natives, most of whom are very civil and courteous than many Saudis!

Dave said...

More rubbish HSBC surveys disguised as highly credible statistical data!!!

Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

This is my 4th year in the UAE (spread over three diffent emirates and at different points in a ten-year period). I worked in primary education in the past, and none of my colleagues were Emirati (a common source of friendship being the place of employment). As a teacher, I dealt with Emirati parents on a professional level, but no friendships were formed. Later, when I moved into post-secondary education, I formed casual friendships with some of my mature students, and those outings typically involved a special meal without their families or an invitation to a family wedding. Now I teach only Emiratis and most of those are women. There are more Emirati employees in this institution than all other previous employers of mine combined. Here's the reality: women can really only make friends with women and men with men. A woman of the same age as myself would likely have a large family to look after and would typically socialise with her own family members. Societal norms for Emirati women doesn't really lend itself for many of them to be running out for dinner with their expat friends. Men, on the otherhand, actually have more wiggle room. As a woman, though, I'm afraid that making friends and doing that things that I think are part of a friendship are more difficult to do here with the local female population.

the real nick said...

if you don't like it why don't you leave

Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

I'd like to add that HSBC is not expat-friendly (or just plain "friendly") to anyone in the UAE. Talk about a joke of a bank...

unJane said...

I have lived overseas for 40 years and have always had local friends in every country ~ except Dubai, where I have lived for the last 15. I tried very hard in the beginning ~ taking ladies only classes, etc and while everyone was friendly in the class, it never lead to a cup of coffee or anything further. I am friends with people of many nationalities in Dubai and love the multi-cultural life. I will miss it when I am gone and will always regret never having known any Emiratis.

Anonymous said...

Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo

True that (on HSBC bank). I have a credit card from HSBC. The second day after it's due, if I hadn't already paid, would witness a call to my phone ever 20 minutes. No, seriously, I timed it.

EVERY 20 minutes, they would call. I refuse to pick up, because that's just stupid. I've been their customer for 4 years and have been consistent in my payment (until I moved banks and now just lazy to go and do a transfer, my fault).

Nevertheless, it is NOT an excuse to harass me like that when my payment is overdue by one day. The calls continued to the fifth day. I suppose that's when the payment actually showed in their system.

That's too aggressive. Seriously, I am hating HSBC like I've never hated any institute before.

Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

@Anon: They are AMAZINGLY efficient when it comes to collecting money...just crap when they've made mistakes! My accounts were a disaster from the beginning. The guy who set it up got my mobile number wrong (of course he told me it was MY mistake...must have written it wrong THREE TIMES on my app). Then, of course, DHL could never deliver the credit cards because...wait for it...the mobile number HSBC had on record was still wrong despite having changed it. Colleagues of mine received credit cards they never asked for while others received cards with incorrect spellings on them. *shaking head* I've actually set up a Facebook group to register all the UAE HSBC complaints. Ideally, I'd like to submit a long list to the company on a corporate level.

Dave said...

I totally agree with the above comments regarding HSBC. I regret the day that I opened my account with them in the UAE. Never before have I struck an organisation where the smallest of problems cannot be rersolved in a reasonable amount of time.

I hate this organisation more than I have ever hated any corporate identity.....

Anonymous said...

How can you make friends with someone whose hidden behind a black curtain?

WOIYTEY said...

Uae - in my opinion is an open country - it has favorable expat laws where expats are welcomed , equaly treated as of a few years ago ...blah blah...

but when it comes to friendlyness - Emiratis are worse ( they are so self - centered, some are arrogant as well - in they manner and they are not amicable ) and i personally feel they try to distance themselves......


w

rosh said...

WOIYTEY,

Please, no need to generalize. Some of the nicest hearts I've known include local folks. There's the good & the bad in every society.

B.D. said...

In my experience--8 years and counting--Emiratis, like every grouping, have every type of individual. On the whole, however, I have experienced them as courteous and friendly, especially on a one to one basis--except for young men behind the wheel--aarh! That said, on a cultural level I feel they are rather insular, and to some extent the reason for this ought to be clear. They live in a country inundated with foreign populations, so a bit of insulation seems in order to preserve their identity.

rosh said...

"Arrghh" back at you BD. How can anybody preserve culture being insulate? Just about anything, be it music, movies, language or literature - a culture flourishes on conduction mode! Insulation, perhaps is short term solutuion, I think. Conduction people - mafi insulation, please.

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

rosh,

Under normal circumstances, yes. However, you would have to admit that in the case of the UAE, it is highly unique. They are a minority in their own country (and by far). Conduction would in effect, wipe out their entire culture.

Now, that might actually be a good thing. Darwinian selection in action. However, it _is_ natural for them to be protective of it and become insular. Ie. it is typical human behavior.

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