If someone ask me “How is it living in Dubai?” ONE MORE TIME, I may have a conniption fit!
From the Fast and the Furious jumping luxury cars from skyscrapers to housing one of the world’s largest mosque, and hosting the notorious Formula 1 Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi holds its weight in so many different ways. But, let everyone in the world who hasn’t been here or frequent the UAE tell it, Abu Dhabi doesn’t exist, so they just call it Dubai.Sometimes I want to shake people and say Abu Dhabi is different than Dubai! Click To Tweet
As an expat of 4 years, I cannot tell you the amount of times friends have asked me how is it living in Dubai? Or I hear my family telling folks “Yeah my cousin lives in Dubai.” Normally, I let it slide, but after 4 years and thousands of Facebook, IG, and blog post combined, I would THINK that people would know the difference by now. But humans are going to human every time. So, due to lack of learning or my inability to previously educate about my geographical place in the world I wanted to give you a spotlight post on my dear old Abu Dhabi. In an effort to educate and stop y’all from getting blank stares from myself and people whom you mistakenly think I live in Dubai, I have created a quick rundown of the differences in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
THEY ARE NOT THE SAME (Periodt)
Let’s begin with the obvious: Abu Dhabi and Dubai are not the same. The main similarities that they hold are that they are both emirates (something like states) and they are both located in the United Arab Emirates. That’s about it!
It’s actually funny that Abu Dhabi is mostly mistaken for Dubai when Abu Dhabi is, in fact, the capital of the UAE and the largest emirate of seven in the country.
Following the fact that Abu Dhabi beats Dubai in size, let’s talk about the fact that Dubai is an entirely different emirate which is about an hour and a half away from Abu Dhabi city center. I often refer to the distance that it used to take me to get from my college town of Greensboro, North Carolina to my hometown near Charlotte, North Carolina as a reference for the time it takes me to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. You could even compare it to the time it takes a New Yorker to get out of traffic during rush hour 😂but I digress…
TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS
If you ever visit you will notice the vast difference in pace. AD is the graduated cousin of the 2 while Dubai is the college undergrad, looking to top any and every experience more than the last.
Abu Dhabi is traditional where Dubai is more westernized. You can easily find a good time in either of the Emirates but Dubai has taken the title of the “Vegas of the Middle East” to another level. From the pool parties at Drai’s to the late night party scenes, and their famous brunches, Dubai doesn’t cease to show its visitors a good time. Now, Abu Dhabi doesn’t come up short with its own version of a good time but Dubai wins the award if we are comparing.
NEW SCHOOL MEETS OLD SCHOOL
Coming from a self-proclaimed “veteran teacher,” I personally consider Dubai as the “Land of private schools.” Dubai operates with the most private schools in the emirates with 207 schools (90% of the school education) and only 48 public schools. Dubai School Stats. While Abu Dhabi operates with 192 private schools and 250 public across 3 regions. Abu Dhabi School Stats.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me run it down. There are two different branches of schools that students can attend and teachers can work at in the UAE. Government and private. Government schools are:
“Working hard to promote the Emirati Educational system to build a knowledge-based society while enriching citizenship values. Their values include a strengthening of national identity and social responsibilities, reinforcement of human values and a commitment to professionalism and transparency.” -Teachaway recruitment group.
While private schools are:
“Elite education organizations.” – Teachaway recruitment group.
Private schools serve the purpose of offering an education based on their selected countries curriculum. Private schools also have the authority to offer languages, beliefs, and specializations based on the owners of their schools rather than following the guidelines set by government school entities.
Essentially government schools run off of criteria set by the government while private schools have the authority to operate based off of their owners while adhering to the rules of the UAE government.
Due to its vast oil resources, Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest emirate in the UAE. In fact, it is one of the richest cities in the world! Lot’s of people get confused by the fact that Dubai is super flashy and is known as the “City of Gold”. When in fact Abu Dhabi had to bail Dubai out of debt in recent years according to the UAE news publication The National. Abu Dhabi pays Dubai’s debt.
Ranked as one of the safest countries in the world by several notable publications, the UAE has some amazing aspects and places to visit. Some are often overlooked thanks to the media and general popular opinions but the fact remains and that Dubai is not the only place in the UAE that should be given credit. Do yourself a huge favor and research the seven emirates. You are bound to find some really cool things in each and every one. You never know, you may just see someone you know taking over them all very soon.