VIEWS: 73 PAGES: 25 POSTED ON: 11/13/2011
CfBT – Abu Dhabi Project CfBT Education Trust is a not-for-profit international organisation with a mission to improve the quality of education around the world, having been reaching out to children and governments for over 40 years. CfBT’s Abu Dhabi School Improvement project has been underway for 3 years, and is widely considered to be a very successful Public-Private Partnership programme within the Abu Dhabi state school transformation project. Background of the project: Abu Dhabi provides a ‘state’ education to its citizenry through a network of local schools. These schools have in the past taught all subjects in Arabic, using a variety of teaching methods. Through partnerships and initiatives, the Abu Dhabi Education Council has invested significantly to change the language of instruction to English and to adapt/improve teaching methods of locally employed teachers. CfBT works within the schools to advise and support the local teachers as they implement the changes in curriculum and delivery, and work to improve the quality of teaching and learning within these schools. Types of Teachers required: Before you fill out an application form, if there is any doubt that you meet the requirements below, please ring your Teachanywhere consultant to avoid wasted effort. Candidates must meet the minimum requirements as set out below. Candidates must have significant personal flexibility and adaptability as they will be working within the local schools with a foreign management structure and teachers Candidates must have excellent teaching references. Referencing, criminal record checks and credential checks will be carried out upon application. Candidates for most posts must have experience in training or mentoring other teachers and must be confident in their teaching skills. Candidates should be sensitive to local culture and work collaboratively with the teachers they are mentoring Excellent communication skills are required, and having some knowledge of Arabic language and culture, whilst not required, is an advantage. Candidates for Advisory teacher posts must be qualified /certified to teach in government schools in their home country with teacher training such as a Bachelor of Education, Post Graduate Certificate in Education or Higher Diploma in Education and teaching certification. o Teaching Subjects required for Advisory Teachers : Secondary (Middle/High School) English, Maths, and Special Needs o We have a limited number of vacancies for Advisory Teachers of Secondary Science, ICT and Primary/Elementary o Partnership Management Advisors (School leaders) o English as a Foreign Language Trainers (non-advisory) Candidates must have at least 3 years of recent experience teaching the subject and level they are advising – English, Maths, Science, Primary/Elementary, or be Principals/Head Teachers , within the appropriate age range and must have experience training and mentoring other teachers. Candidates must have significant teaching experience and/or teacher training from one of the following countries: UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US or South Africa. Candidates for the ESL trainer post must have a degree+ TEFL certificate and at least 3 years of recent TEFL teaching experience, as well as consistent, verifiable work history. Candidates must be native/near native English speakers, and the ability to speak Arabic is a plus. Due to the need to conform to local customs and sensibilities, and to conform to local law, candidates with a partner/spouse who intend to live together must be married. Some posts have gender requirements due to UAE regulations. Candidates must be younger than 65 upon completion of the contract. Job Basic Salary Age Range Taught Qualified Degree + (AED/Annum) /Gender Requirement Teacher TEFL Partnership 225,000 * 5-10 years old, Female Yes, 3+ years Teacher Teachers only, teaching 11-18 years old, Male experience + or Female mentoring other teachers Partnership 273,000* Primary(Elementary), Yes, 5+ years Management Middle School and teaching Advisor Secondary (High) experience and School teaching and 2+ years whole leadership experience school leadership EFL Trainer 225,000* All ages, including adult 3+ years EFL Yes, 3+ years teaching experience in experience school setting *Pending approval by Ministry All posts enjoy the following benefits 1-2 year contracts Free housing and AED allowance for utilities Mobilisation/demobilisation allowance Flights yearly for self, spouse and 1 dependant under 18 School fees allowance of 25,000 AED per child for up to two children* End of contract bonus Medical coverage Orientation and mobilisation assistance during arrival *age restrictions apply. Not applicable for non-UAE resident children. Interested? To evaluate your candidacy we will require A short application form, available to download HERE CV/Resume Electronic Photo If shortlisted we will require Copy of passport Copies of degrees and certificates Criminal Record Check If selected you will be required to undergo a medical check. Unless otherwise instructed, send copies of your CV/documents to CfBT@teachanywhere.com Below is information about Abu Dhabi that has been compiled by Teachanywhere.com. This information is meant to act as only as an initial guide and we encourage all candidates to do their own research. WELCOME TO ABU DHABI Abu Dhabi Gives a First Impression Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is the principal city of the largest emirate of the same name and is home to the government and royal family. The island city of Abu Dhabi is a lush, modern metropolis, complete with tree lined boulevards, towering skyscrapers, dazzling shopping malls and luxurious international hotels, brimming with vibrancy. Abu Dhabi is growing rapidly, and its evolution from quiet village to thriving metropolis has been remarkable, a testament to the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed, and the energy and drive of its people. The high rise central business district is home to imaginatively designed buildings which provide a dramatic back drop to the corniche area, bordered by the sparkling azure waters of the Arabian Gulf offering a striking contrast to the large parks and green boulevards that spread across the island. Further inland the high-rises make way for beautiful villas, low rise apartment blocks and quieter tree-lined streets. Nothing here stands still, and future developments promise an even more exciting skyline! The outstanding aspect of life in Abu Dhabi it is dramatic contrast to its commercial neighbor, Dubai. Abu Dhabi offers all of the attractions and amenities you would expect of a modern city, but in a tranquil and relaxing setting, without the dust choking development and traffic congested streets of Dubai. Although Abu Dhabi is spending its oil and commercial wealth at a startling rate, fast on the heels of Dubai, you hardly notice the development and construction that has been contained to outlying and off shore regions. The UAE’s culture is tolerant and welcoming, and visitors are sure to be charmed by the genuine friendliness of the people. Abu Dhabi is a melting pot of nationalities and cultures; all of which are embraced without losing the cultural and national identity of which the UAE’s people are justifiably proud; a culture and heritage inextricably linked to its religion. Indeed you will find the greatest concentration of mosques in Abu Dhabi than in any other part of the Muslim world. And that is another welcoming differentiator from life in Dubai; you feel the culture, you see locals, you feel as if you experiencing the Middle East. Abu Dhabi offers a unique Arabian cultural experience comfortably balanced with the attractions of a western expatriate lifestyle. Abu Dhabi is Geographical Situated on the NE part of the Arabian Peninsula, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is bordered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and the Sultanate of Oman to the east and north. The geographical co- ordinates are 24 00 N and 54 00 E. It has a coastline on both the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf The total area of the country is 83 600 square kilometers. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate, occupying 80% of the total landmass. The country is made up of seven emirates, Abu Dhabi, the largest, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Golden beaches dot the country’s 1 318 km coastline, of which 100 kilometers are on the Gulf of Oman. The Arabian coastline is littered with coral reefs and over 200 islands, most of which are uninhabited. Salt flats, sand dunes, stretches of gravel plains, desert and the Hajar Mountains characterize much of the inland region. The highest point is Jebel Yibir at 1 527 meters The traditional city of Abu Dhabi is situated on a natural island. Abu Dhabi Has a History It is difficult to reconcile the modern city of Abu Dhabi with the scattering of ‘barasti’ (palm frond) huts from the 1950’s horizon. Historical documentation of Abu Dhabi’s history is scarce but it is rich in archeological finds. Evidence of settlements has been found around Jebel Hafeet, near Al Ain, and on the island of Umm al Nar, near Abu Dhabi City, dating back to between 3000 and 2000 BC. Abu Dhabi’s history really begins with the Bani Yas Bedouin tribe who are known to have been in the area along the coast by the 16th century. Following the discovery of fresh water, the tribe moved to the island of Abu Dhabi in 1761, which was very fertile and abundant in wildlife. The name means ‘father of the gazelle’. The initial settlement was soon followed by the relocation of the ruling Al Nayhan family from the Liwa Oasis in the south of the country. By the 1800s the town had developed through the trade of pearls, and in 1897 accepted the protection of Britain. The area was seen as an important communication link with India and the east and became known as the Trucial States (or Trucial Coast) Fortunes faltered after the creation of the cultured pearl industry in Japan, but in 1958, Abu Dhabi found oil and production began on Das Island, with exports happening in 1962. 1966 sees a new ruler, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the British withdraw in 1971. By 1972 the United Arab Emirates are completely united and the UAE dirham currency is released in 1973. The new state was composed of the emirates of Abu Dhabi (the capital and centre of government), Dubai (the commercial centre), Sharjah (the cultural centre), Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah and in 1972 was joined by Ras Al Khaimah Sheikh Zayed died in 2004 but not before initiating a major programme of development National Day is on 2nd December The population at present is approximately 1.67 million due to increase to 3.5 million by 2010. Abu Dhabi Has a Culture The rapid economic development has changed life in the UAE beyond recognition. The country’s rulers are aware of the threats to their traditions and heritage and are keen to promote cultural and sporting events that are representative of their past. Camel Race Meetings are held at the weekends between October and March from around 7.30am. The Al Maqam Camel Race Track, about 45km outside Abu Dhabi on the road to Al Ain, is the closest to the city. Falconry is an important part of the tradition and culture; displays are held at the Breakwater Heritage Village overlooking the Corniche. It is operated by the Emirates Heritage Club and gives an interesting insight into the way that life used to be. The displays in this attractive open museum set out to illustrate traditional aspects of Bedouin life, including traditional workshops and craftsmen in action. Horse racing is very popular and meetings are held in the evenings during the winner. Check out the website www.emiratesracing.com for the calendar. Remember there is not betting but there are great prizes to be won. The Bateen Dhow Yard builds traditional boats for racing and trading. An early evening visit will guarantee some great photographic opportunities and possibly a chat with some of the boat builders. Gold is a big part of Arabian tradition. Check out what is left at the old Central Market (which is currently being revamped) on Hamdan Street; an old traditional souk, and the Madinet Zayed Shopping Centre and Gold Souk (02 631 8555) to where most of the traders from the central market are relocating. Although not open to the public, the Qasr Al Hosn on Sheikh Zayed First Street is a typical Arabian fort, and is Abu Dhabi’s oldest building dating back to 1793. The Cultural Foundation (02 621 5300 / www.cultural.org.ae/e) on Sheikh Zayed First Street is Abu Dhabi’s thriving community arts centre, located in the grounds of the Old Fort and is home to the National Archives, the National Library and the Institution of Culture and Arts. Exhibitions, lectures and concerts are held regularly. Entrance fee is just 3 AED. Abu Dhabi Has Development Abu Dhabi is a rapidly developing city hot on the heels of its frenetic neighbor, Dubai. There are many exciting projects under development, and here are just a few of them. Beginning at the airport, the terminal buildings are being upgraded and a second runaway is being constructed to accommodate the new Airbus A380, to allow for increased tourist and business travelers. The UAE wants to attract business to the area, and so the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center is being constructed complete with a landmark skyscraper, a huge exhibition space, hotels and retail facilities. Soon to be one of Abu Dhabi’s largest tourist attractions, development is busy on Lulu (www.sorouh.com ), a man made island situated next to the breakwater facing the Corniche. There will be hotels, restaurants, gardens, an aquarium, museum and wildlife reserve. The Corniche Redevelopment Program has been a major project to revamp the waterfront area. It is a very attractive part of town; great for walkers and cyclists. There are also a number of public parks. Shopping is big in Abu Dhabi – the second phase of Marina Mall should now have been completed, that includes a snow dome, ice rink, bowling alley and the new Marina Village, an exclusive residential area. The Khalidiya Mall (www.emkegroup.com) will spread across 80000 sq meters designed in a distinctive Islamic architectural style, including an atrium, a summer garden, fountains, cafes and food court. The Market (www.aldar.com) promises to become a major landmark, a transformation of Abu Dhabi’s central souk area, on Hamdan Street, into a modern development of apartments, an Arabian style souk, restaurants, office space and a mosque. The beach locations outside of the city are also being developed. First there is the new Raha Resort comprising of townhouses, villas, schools, an equestrian club, a fitness club, a hotel, retail outlets and restaurants. Second, The Gate located near Zayed Sports City will be split into landside and waterside areas, comprising of a new 5 star hotel, service apartments, a mall, a beach club and an adventure water world! And the Al Gurm Resort and Spa (www.algurnresort.com) is under construction among the mangroves off the Coast Road, an eco-friendly development of luxury villas, signature island villas and private beach. Saadiyat Island is located 500m off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is a huge residential, business, cultural and leisure development. There will be two championship golf courses, 12km of beaches and a luxury marina. A staggering 29 hotels, 8000 villas and 38000 apartments have been scheduled to be built. The Zayed Sports City is to be expanded to include an Olympic sized swimming pool in a hope to bid for future Asian Games. Abu Dhabi and UAE Have a Supreme Council H. H. The President, SHEIKH KHALIFA BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN President of the UAE The Supreme Council of Rulers is the highest authority in the UAE, comprising the hereditary rulers of the seven emirates. Since the country is governed by hereditary rule, there is little distinction between the royal families and the government The Supreme Council is responsible for general policy matters involving education, defense, foreign affairs, communications and development, and for ratifying federal laws. H. H. General, SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL Abu Dhabi is Relaxed MAKTOUM Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Abu Dhabi is 4 hours ahead of Universal Co-ordinated Time of the Greenwich Defense Minister of the UAE Meridian in London. There is no summer saving time like in western countries so during the period from April to October the time difference is just 3 hours. Social hours were once very Mediterranean in style; an early start, an afternoon siesta, a return to work and a late meal. This traditional style struggles to preserve in more quieter part of the city and the country, but as Abu Dhabi leaps forward in its commercial development, working hours are becoming more westernized. The working week spans from Sunday until Thursday. Friday is a day of rest and worship. Everywhere is generally open (banks until midday) on a Saturday. Shops tend to open at about 10am (cafes and supermarkets earlier) unless it is Friday when they open at lunchtime. Closing time can be as late as midnight. Despite more western working hours, locals and expatriates alike love to shop and socialize until late. During Ramadan shops and restaurants are open until about 1am! The attitude to time, especially in business, is often very different from the ‘time is money’ approach in other parts of the world. Locals like to take their time, and business is not usually discussed until the third meeting. Times are changing though. Abu Dhabi is a Working City You have no doubt seen the glossy holiday brochures and the tempting travel programmes cascading dazzling images of Abu Dhabi and the UAE and indeed it is all here from the fancy international hotels to the exclusive spa resorts in the desert. But please be aware that your own working and living location may not be in these areas. Abu Dhabi is very much of a working city; there are many business areas and residential communities that you will not see in the brochures and the programmes. Generally Abu Dhabi is a clean and well maintained city, but like any city it has its fair share of boring and unkempt areas. Abu Dhabi has a Currency The currency is the UAE dirham which is written as AED or Dhs. Each dirham is divided into 100 fils. Check www.xe.com for up to date exchange rates. Notes are 1000 AED, 500 AED, 200 AED, 100 AED, 50 AED, 20 AED, 10 AED and 5 AED. Coins are 1 AED, 50 fils, 25 fils and 10 fils. Please note that supermarket pricing does not match the coins available, so sometimes you will gain a few fils, others times you may not. It is recommended to have low denomination notes for taxis and coins for parking. There are currency exchange houses all over Abu Dhabi. Rates are published daily in the financial section of newspapers. Exchange houses often give better rates than banks, and work longer hours. If you have Cirrus, Maestro or Plus cards, you may use them to withdraw money from your account back home, using an ATM machine with a matching sign, but there will be a charge. To open a bank account you must have a residential visa. There are stiff penalties for going into the red. You can use western credit cards or apply for a local one. Abu Dhabi is Safe and Secure Abu Dhabi is a safe and secure city as long as you adopt all necessary precautions that you would back home. Female western expatriates will be safe here but you may be stared at and sometimes followed. It is something you have to get used to. There are many workers here without their families, and western women are something different for them. Young male Arabs will like to look too. Sooner or later you will rarely notice it. Avoid traveling alone at night or to remote locations. Keep a check on your valuables. Crime does happen but it is not as frequent as in western countries. Women face relatively little discrimination and, contrary to the policies of neighboring countries, are able to drive and walk around unescorted. Abu Dhabi Has Public Transport Cars and roads dominate the transport system in a city that is relatively easy to navigate, although public transport is rare and limited. The road system is built on a grid system running from a central T, that is formed by the corniche which runs along the end of the island furthest away from the mainland, and the Airport Road which runs the length of the island. Roads parallel to the corniche have odd numbers (the corniche is 1st Street) and roads running vertically have even numbers (Airport Road nd th th is 2 Street, with 4 Street, 6 Street, etc. leading off to the east, and 24th Street, 26th Street, etc. to the west). Taxis are reasonably priced and plentiful and by far the most common method of getting around. The more up market Al Ghazal or NTC taxis must be booked by phone (02 444 7787 / 02 622 3300), but individually registered taxis can be flagged down at the roadside. Most taxis are metered but some drivers prefer to negotiate the fare, particularly after midnight. The Abu Dhabi Municipality operates bus routes all over the emirate, as well as in the city. The system is being improved by adding more routes. Fares can be as little as 1 AED for travel within the capital. Call Abu Dhabi Transport on 02 443 1500 for more information. There is a rapid bus link between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. A taxi fare between the emirates is set at 300 AED, although you can catch an illegal mini bus and barter the price down! Cycling and walking are less popular. People prefer their cars and for half of the year it is too hot! There are cycle ways on the corniche, a great place to walk too. There are pavements and crossing points particularly at traffic lights. Pedestrians must take care; there are many zebra crossings without lights; cars will not stop. There are car rental agencies – Abu Dhabi Rent a Car (02 644 3770), Avis Rent a Car (02 575 7180), Budget Rent a Car (02 633 4200), Diamond Lease (02 622 2028), Europcar (02 626 1441), Hertz Rent a Car (02 672 0060), Thrifty (02 575 7400). Just take very good care if you drive yourself. Traffic jams are not too bad in Abu Dhabi and there is a reasonably good flow on the roads. The 4 way traffic light intersections are a bit of a bind but you soon learn to be patient. However, driver discipline leaves a lot to be desired. There is a massive conflict of driver ability and attitude on the roads reflecting the many nationalities in the city. Drivers will undertake, change lanes without indicating, tail gate, middle lane driver, speed excessively, but in without an acknowledgement, swerve across lanes; it will astound you and then really annoy you, but please contain your frustration. You will see some dramatic accidents! Smile and wave instead! Abu Dhabi Has Heat! Abu Dhabi has a sub-tropical and arid climate; sunny skies and high temperature can be expected throughout most of the year. You only need light clothing. Abu Dhabi has 2 distinct seasons, summer and winter. There is a much longer summertime than in other parts of the world. Summer peaks in July and August when temperatures can reach as high as 48C or 120F. Humidity levels can be very high too. Most buildings are air-conditioned and you feel the heat only when you step outside. In winter, temperatures of 14C are not uncommon at night. Mid-November to mid- March is the best time of the year. Morning sea fog is common during this time of the year, as are frequent sandstorms. Take a light sweater or coat for the winter mornings. Rain has been known to fall but you would have to be very alert to catch it. You can enjoy some spectacular lightening displays. Abu Dhabi Has Activity Visitors to Abu Dhabi will be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of sports and activities available; from the wonderfully indulgent to the adrenalin fuelled. Obviously winter (October to March) is the best time to enjoy outdoor activities, whether its mainstream such as golf, rugby and tennis or more extreme pursuits such as caving, mountain biking, rock climbing and skydiving. People do venture outside in the summer, but there are also many indoor activities, and most hotels have excellent gym facilities. The coastal location, ideal climate and warm waters offer a wide range of tantalizing water sports. The Blue Dolphin Company at the Intercontinental runs organised half day excursions for 350 AED per person (02 666 9392). A great snorkeling location is at Snoopy Island near the Sandy Beach Hotel in Dibba on the east coast; but this is a long drive from Abu Dhabi. Closer to home you can parasail, wake board, water ski and jet ski. There is also kayaking, kite surfing, windsurfing and surfing, although the waves are not fantastic! Diving is a popular sport; there are many wrecks to explore and marine life to experience, like clownfish, sea horses, small sharks, sting rays, moray eels and barracuda. There are plenty of dive companies such as Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club (02 673 1111 / www.abydhabisubaqua.com), Al Jazira Dive Centre (02 562 9100 / www.goldentulipaljazira.com) and Golden Boats (02 666 9119). If you are a certified diver you will need to present your divers certificate. The unique desert, wadi and mountainous terrain offer many exciting and crazy activities like dune buggying, wadi bashing, quad biking and off roading. If you are suitably experienced and equipped you can do this yourself but for the novices there are a number of tour operators who offer tailored trips such as Arabian Adventures (02 691 1711 / www.arabian-adventures.com ), Emirates Holidays (02 691 1722 / www.emirates-holidays.com), Sunshine Tours (02 444 9914) and Thomas Cook (02 672 7500 / www.tcart-me.com). If you buy or hire a 4 wheel drive it is worth investing in a copy of the ‘UAE Off Road Explorer’. Another unique activity is canoeing at the Khor Kalba Nature Reserve on the UAE’s east coast, where you can experience native bird and marine life. Tours are available from Desert Rangers (based in Dubai, 04 340 2408 / www.desertrangers.com). Abu Dhabi plays host to numerous monthly and annual tournaments. January sees the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and just over an hour away the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club. The Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club (02 445 9600 / www.adec-web.com) only has 9 holes but offers different tees for the back nine. It also has the longest par 5 in the Gulf at 630 yards. Green fees for visitors range from 140 AED for none holes to 230 AED for 18. Located 30 minutes from the city, the Abu Dhabi Golf Club by Sheraton (02 558 8990 / www.adgolfsheraton.com) boasts two 18 hole courses and a floodlit 9 hole course, not to mention a pool, spa, restaurants and tennis courts. And the Al Ghazal Golf Club (02 575 8040 / www.alghazalgolf.ae) close to the airport, is an 18 hole sand golf course with a driving range and a licensed clubhouse. If you want to just hang out, there are many beautiful parks and beaches. And if chatting over a coffee is your way of relaxing, there are cafes everywhere. There are Starbucks, Costa’s, Dunkin Donuts, too numerous to mention! Abu Dubai Has Hotels Abu Dhabi offers a wide range of hotels from the inspiring and luxurious to the budget serviced apartments and youth hostels, but be warned the city does not really cater for the budget traveler. Here are a few examples. Al Raha Beach Hotel (02 508 0555 / www.ncth.com) has a great beach location and has a health club and spa, indoor and outdoor pools, gym, squash clubs and water sports. The Beach Rotana Hotels and Towers (02 644 3000 / www.rotana.com) in the city has a private beach and a conference centre. The Hilton International Abu Dhabi (02 681 1900 / www.hilton.com) has a private beach and pool. Le Meridien Abu Dhabi (02 644 6666 / www.lemeridien-abudhabi.com) offers the same plus 15 food and beverage outlets and a great spa. And saving the best to the last, well the most opulent, the Emirates Palace (02 690 9000 / www.emiratespalace.com) represents the ultimate in luxury and style. It has a private beach, great swimming pools, spas, tennis and squash courts; exotic retail outlets all set within superlative décor and landscaped gardens. Most of the nightlife and a lot of activities are centered around the hotels, where you will find restaurants, Friday brunches, bars, spas, gyms and clubs. Abu Dhabi Has Restaurants Cosmopolitan and bustling, Abu Dhabi has an excellent and ever-increasing variety of restaurants for you to soak up the Arabic atmosphere or dine in familiar surroundings. Most of Abu Dhabi’s popular restaurants are in hotels and these are pretty much the only outlets that can serve alcohol with your meal. The taxes levied on alcohol translate into fairly high prices. You will rarely find a bottle of house wine for less than 90 AED, and a beer can cost as much as 30 AED. For local cuisine try the ‘Al Safina Dhow Restaurant’ (02 681 6085) at the Breakwater, a permanently moored boat offering great fish and lamb dishes and superlative views of the Abu Dhabi skyline. There is the ‘Al Mawal’ (02 681 2773) at the Hilton International offering an exhaustive Arabic menu and belly dancing! The ‘Lebanese Flower’ (02 666 6888 / Nr Choithram, Khalidiya) has impeccable service and a great range of grilled fish and meats. The ‘Al Aris Restaurant and Grill’ (02 645 5503) on Salam Street offers good standard Arabic fayre with a quick service, a great place for a snack. Indian restaurants are everywhere. The licensed ‘Casa Goa’ (02 627 7701) in the Zakher Hotel sells very cold beers to douse the very hot curries on offer! Generous portions of North Indian cuisine are available at the ‘India Palace’ (02 644 8777) opposite the ADNOC petrol station on Al Salam Street. Opposite Blue Marine on the same street you will find “Kwality’ (02 672 7337). Rock bottom prices and a great takeaway menu can be found at ‘Nihal Restaurant (02 631 8088) near Sands Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Second Street. The ‘Maharaja’ is a little more up market set in impeccable surroundings at the Le Meridien (02 644 6666). And there is Chinese too! ‘Panda Panda Chinese Restaurant’ (02 633 9300) on Al Istiqlal Street is a but pricey but has enormous portions! Share a rice dish instead of ordering two!! Try the ‘Restaurant China’ (02 632 5661) at the Novotel Center Hotel. Or the ‘Bam Bu!’ (02 645 6373) at the Abu Dhabi Marina offers a set menu for 99 AED. Tex Mex is very popular. ‘The Alamo’ (02 644 0300) at Abu Dhabi Marina, ‘El Sombrero’ (02 677 3333) at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Resort and Towers and ‘Chilli’s’ (02 671 6300) at the Grand Al Mariah Cineplex. There are many other nationalities represented on the dining scene. Mongolian – ‘The Coconut Bay’ (02 681 1900 / Hiltonia Beach Club), Italian - ‘Amalfi’ (02 674 2020 / Le Royal Meridien), Moroccan - ‘Marakesh’ (02 626 2700 / Millennium Hotel), Japanese – ‘Soba’ (02 674 2020 / Le Royal Meridien), French – Le Bistro (02 644 6666 / Le Meridien). There are many more, too numerous to mention. Why not try a dinner cruise for a special occasion. The ‘Shuja Yacht’ (02 695 0539) opposite Marina Mall gives you a two hour cruise with a menu of fresh seafood, lamb and chicken dishes. The more traditional ‘Al Dhafra’ Dhow (02 673 2266) offers dinner cruises along the Corniche and menu of exquisite Arabic fayre. There are many great eating places throughout the city not necessarily associated with the hotels. Some of them may be unlicensed but offer good food, impeccable service, large portions and a reasonable price. Most of them will home deliver too so collect a menu when you eat out. You will also find all of the popular restaurant and fast food chains in Abu Dhabi – Pizza Hut, MacDonald’s, KFC, Hardees, Burger King and more. Prices are about two thirds of what you would pay in the UK. A typical McDonald’s meal ranges from 14-16 AED. Menus will differ; sadly at KFC you cannot buy a Chicken Tower Burger! Abu Dhabi Has Bars You will amazed by the number and range of bars and pubs in Abu Dhabi. Let’s begin with the finest, the ‘Havana Club’ (02 690 8021) at the Emirates Palace, a typical ‘old boy’s club’ exclusive bar where one can relax in an opulent ambience with a vintage brandy and a Havana cigar! And at the opposite end of the spectrum why not an evening at the ‘Harvester’s Pub’ (02 633 5335) at the Al Diar Sands Hotel, a smoky basement bar, the epitome of a ‘working man’s club, complete with live entertainment, four busy dartboards, and good old English fayre, like bangers and mash and chip butties! A good place for a little male bonding and the homesick Brit expatriate! And there are many places in between. The city’s best sports bar is ‘Heroes Diner’ (02 621 0000) with big screen tellies and great table service for both drinks and food. There is also Ladies Night, Quiz Night and Dance Night. For the Irish there is ‘P.J.O’Reillys (02 695 0515) with great food and good prices, big screens and a lively atmosphere. Overlooking the gardens and located in the Culinary Village of the Le Meridien, the ‘Captain’s Arms’ (02 644 6666) offers a British style drinking and eating venue. Every hotel will have some sort of bar. You need to check them out. For the nocturnal energetics there are also a number of nightclubs. There is the Roman style ‘Colosseum’ (02 644 0300) at the Abu Dhabi Marina for the young and hip for the latest R&B and pop fusion beats belted out by capable DJs. Drinks are reasonable and ladies get in for free. After 10pm try the ‘L.A.B.’ (02 644 3000) at the Beach Rotana Hotel and Towers, a very futuristic nightspot with strong and expensive cocktails! The atmosphere is always very good; everyone is happy and in good spirits, and generally all drinking venues are safe places in which to socialize. There will be rowdy behaviour within male groups and fights can happen. When leaving a bar contain your intoxicated behaviour on the street or in a taxi. Public displays of loud singing and shouting under the influence of alcohol are not tolerated. And definitely do not attempt to drive; there is zero tolerance for drink driving in the UAE, and if caught you will be imprisoned and worse! You will need a liquor license to buy alcohol for home consumption. It is not very difficult to get the license. The license will take between a fortnight and a month to be processed, after the application has been submitted. It costs AED 150, and is valid for 1 year. This can be done only after the residence visa is stamped in your passport. It is illegal to drink alcohol at home without a liquor license. There are a number of legal alcohol outlets throughout Abu Dhabi usually beside the major supermarkets. There are also tax-free outlets in Ajman and Umm Al Quain, but these are a very long drive from Abu Dhabi. These are much cheaper but to return to Dubai you must pass through Sharjah, a dry emirate, and even if you have a license it is illegal to transport it through this part of the country. Please take care. Abu Dhabi Has Concerts Abu Dhabi is becoming a popular venue for singers and bands. Just recently the Emirates Palace hosted a ‘Justin Timberlake’ concert, and during 2008 there will be one featuring ‘Elton John’. Abu Dhabi Has Shops Abu Dhabi is a shopping destination of choice for bargain hunters, collectors, souvenir seekers and shopaholics alike. Not only will you find a huge selection of mainstream items, authentic antiques and some unusual discoveries, at all excellent prices, but with shops staying open late into the evenings you can really shop at leisure. If you are after a more authentic Arabian shopping experience head for the traditional markets or souks, a great bustling and traditional atmosphere offering unique photographic opportunities. The area is best known for its gold, carpets, pashminas, shisha pipes ands spices. The more traditional areas expect you to haggle over a price. Offer the seller half of what he is asking; it will not offend, and you will reach a good price for both parties. The Carpet Souk is on Al Meena Road, the Fish and Fruit & Vegetable Souk is in Al Meena and the Iranian Souk is near the Fish Market. There are more modern shopping experiences too. The Abu Dhabi Mall (02 645 4858 / www.abudhabimall.com) has over 200 retail outlets and a huge multi-screen cinema complex. The Marina Mall (02 681 8300 / www.marinamall.ae) at the Breakwater is the city’s largest mall with IKEA, a snow park, bowling alley and a great range of Western retail outlets. Marks and Spencer’s can be found at the Fotouh Al Khair Centre (02 621 1133) near the Etisalat Building. Clothing, shoes and sports equipment are best bought at the Hamdan Centre (02 632 8555) near the Novotel Centre Hotel. Others include the Khalifa Centre near Abu Dhabi Co-op, Liwa Centre (02 632 0344) near the Novotel Centre Hotel, for jewellery, clothes and perfume, Lulu Cente (02 677 9786) on Al Salam Street, for just about everything, and the Rotana Mall on the Corniche for antiques, carpets and handicrafts. Abu Dhabi Has Groceries Shopping for food can be expensive if you are tempted by imported western brands, particularly the Muller yoghurts (8 AED), the frozen fish (up to 70 AED) and the frozen deserts (up to 40 AED). There is a wide range of food and drinks and the more local you buy the further your money will go. Water and drinks are particularly cheap, at 1 AED a bottle or can. Imported fruits and vegetables are criminally expensive. Watch out for the Dutch tomatoes and the apples from the USA. There are a few supermarket chains. Carrefour is a French outlet based in the Marina Mall and along Mussafah Road a few kms from the city, offering local and western brand names, a great place for basic bulk shopping. They have seasonal themes during the year relating to the outdoors, Ramadan and tableware. Spinney’s is located in the Khalidiya area and is well known for catering for more western expatriate tastes selling many Waitrose imports. The bakeries are better here. Remember to weigh and price your fruit and vegetables before you go the check out. Find out more at www.spinneys.co.ae. At this branch there is a book and magazine section, hairdressers, barbers, picture framing shop, a DVD and CD store and a pharmacy. Remember to use your blue Air Miles card at Spinneys, where you can also buy parking and mobile cards. Other supermarkets include ‘Al Ahlia Prisunic’, a huge one in the Khalidiya area on Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, the Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society at Abu Dhabi Mall, The Mina Center at Port Zayed and one in Al Bateen. Service is very good in the supermarkets. There are attendants who will pack your groceries and wheel out your cart to the car park. Nice to give them a few coins! Abu Dhabi Has Greenery If you were expecting to be living in a sea of sand dunes, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Abu Dhabi is a green city, both environmentally conscious and with wonderful parks and gardens. Roads and central reservations are lined with palm trees and beds of exotic flora tended by an army of hidden sprinklers. The municipality has done its best to develop a very pleasant and attractive community managed by a huge team of gardeners and garbage collectors. Beyond the city limits, the scene changes dramatically and you will certainly see sand dunes surrounded by more sand dunes!! The city’s most notable parks are the Corniche and Sheikh Khalifa Park. The latter is one of the city’s newest parks; the gardens have an international flavour and are set amid canals, fountains, lakes and waterfalls. There are play areas for children and picnic spots, making this a popular place to get some fresh air, play a spot of Frisbee or cricket in the open spaces or just relax with an ice cream and watch the world go by. Abu Dhabi Has Weekends Away Try to get out of Abu Dubai for a weekend. There are many interesting places to explore throughout the emirates even for a day trip. Dubai is just one and a half hours away by car. Enjoy old Dubai with visits to the Gold Souk, Bastakiya and Dubai Museum. Take a ride on an abra (50 fils for one crossing or 50 AED for a private hire for an hour), then head for the striking modern malls. Al Ain is one hour and a half away inland nestled against the Hajar Mountains, an oasis city full of history from the 4000 year old tombs at Hilli to the 175 year old Al Nahyan fort and UAE’s only remaining traditional camel market. The Liwa Oasis will take 5 hours for spectacular sand dunes, scattered villages and the vast emptiness of the awe inspiring Empty Quarter. Strike out for the east coast and Fujairah and Dibba, a great location for snorkeling, diving and wadi bashing. Try the hot pools in Hatta and lunch at the Hatta Fort Hotel. There is also a heritage village. There are also opportunities to take organised tours for desert, mountain and overnight safaris. Whenever you are camping or driving through remote locations by yourself, please ensure you have sufficient water, petrol, supplies and you are able to navigate and contact emergency services. Abu Dhabi goes on Holiday There are many long school vacations and public holidays that recognise key Islamic or historical events like the Prophets Birthday and National Day. Most British / American / International schools work a standard three term academic year with breaks over Christmas, Easter and summer and enjoy the benefits of the extra national holidays. But watch out some schools work over Christmas (it is just another working day) and have a long mid year break in late January / early February. The UAE allows the celebrations of all western and eastern events. During Christmas there is more of a festive atmosphere than in the UK with music playing in shops, malls festooned with decorations, Christmas fayre and decorations on sale, big Christmas trees everywhere, Santa grottos for the kids, ice rinks and Christmas stalls. Abu Dhabi represents an excellent stepping stone to so many Near East (Jordan, Syria, Cyprus), Middle East (Oman, Bahrain), Far East (Sri Lanka, India, Thailand) and African (Kenya, Egypt) locations. And of course the Maldives and the Seychelles are so much closer. There are many travel agents and an increasing number of low cost airlines like Al Jazeera and Air Arabia. Abu Dhabi is home to their new airline and travel company ‘Etihad’ (www.etihadairways.com). Abu Dhabi Has Annual Events Throughout the year the UAE hosts a number of well established annual events. Here are a selection for your social calendar in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Dubai Marathon (Jan / World Trade Center / 050 584 5998) Abu Dhabi Golf Championship (Jan / www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com) Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament (Feb / Emirates Golf Club / 04 397 6161 / www.dubaidesertclassic.com) Dubai Tennis Championship (Feb / Mar / Aviation Club Garhoud / 04 3166966) Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival (Feb / Mar / Dubai Media City / www.dubaijazzfest.com ) Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival (Mar) Abu Dhabi Powerboat Racing (Mar / www.adimsc.ae) Dubai Desert Rock Festival (Mar / Dubai Country Club / www.csmentertains.co ) Dubai World Cup (Mar / Nad Al Sheba / 04 332 2277) Dubai Camel Racing (Mar / Apr / Nad Al Sheba) Abu Dhabi Dhow Racing (May/Jun & Jan/Feb / www.emirates-heritageclub.com) Dubai Beer Festival (would you believe?) (August / Irish Village Garhoud) Dubai Airshow (Nov / Dubai International Airport / www.fairs-exhibs.com) UAE Desert Challenge (motor sport) (Nov / www.uaedesertchallenge.com) Al Ain Air Show (Nov / www.alainaerobaticshow.com) Dubai Rugby 7’s (Nov / Dec /change of location / www.dubairugby7s.com) Dubai Film Festival (Dec / Medinat Jumeriah – www.dubaifilmfest.com) As you can see most of these events are held in the winter during the cooler months Abu Dhabi is a Well Serviced City One of the main dangers of living in Abu Dhabi is putting on weight. You can practically do everything without leaving your armchair or car seat. Local shops will deliver, even just a mobile card, the laundry will collect and deliver, all the local restaurants offer home delivery services. There are even drive through restaurants, ATM machines and pharmacies. Petrol stations are amazing places. Petrol pump attendants will fill your tank and clean your windows. You can service your car, change your tyres and check the air- conditioning. For between 30 – 35 AED you can have your car hand washed and cleaned inside. And everyone serves with a smile. These people earn very low salaries but always go out of their way to be polite and helpful. Tipping is not expected but it is not an unreasonable expectation to offer between 5% and 10%, or just a few coins for the petrol pump attendant who works all day in the sun. Abu Dhabi Does Not Do Drugs If you are bringing in any medication, please ensure that you carry a prescription with you. There are many drugs that are restricted unless they have been specifically prescribed. It is highly recommended to contact your local UAE embassy before leaving your home country. Narcotics and other recreational drugs are banned in the UAE and there are very strong deterrents, including the death penalty for those convicted of being drug dealers. Be wary of packages handed to you by others Abu Dhabi Has Cars! If you like cars you have come to the right place. Cars are much cheaper here than in the western world. Where can you buy a brand new 4.6 liter 8 cylinder Ford Mustang for just 20000 GBP and fill it for just 70 AED? Many car showrooms offer 4 year credit schemes. If you are a bit of an environmentalist you will hate Abu Dubai! Locals and expatriates like their cars big and powerful. Indeed there are many Japanese cars around that are economical to run and repair, but many of us relish the opportunity to drive something a little different! You will notice many, many 4 wheel drives on the road; they are a little monotonous but families like them for their capacity and security; I doubt many of them have actually been off-road! There is a little social status attached to them (but I can’t see how, as they are so common); we have a little ‘mine is bigger than yours’ mentality in Abu Dhabi! Unfortunately you can be judged by the car you drive; I would not worry too much about this sad and pretentious side of Abu Dhabi expatriate life! As I have written previously, just take care when driving on Abu Dhabi roads. Within the city you should be fine but remain alert, check your mirrors and blind spots and expect the unexpected, and if you are cut up, please contain your anger and frustration. Out on the open road it becomes a bit of a free for all. Speed limits are 120 km/h and cameras are set at 160 km/h (this drops entering Dubai – keep to the speed limit) and you will witness some very fast and crazy driving. Speeders are notorious on the Abu Dhabi to Dubai highway. And if you do venture out into the desert for a bit of dune bashing, please make sure you know what you are doing and don’t get stuck in the sand far way from civilization unable to get help! Pick up a copy of the ‘UAE Off-Road Explorer’. Driving License If you have a valid driving license from Turkey, Iran, South Korea, North America, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, one of the GCC countries or one of the European Union countries, you may transfer it and get one from the UAE without having to do a test. This can be done only after the residence visa is stamped in your passport. If you are from any other country, you must pass the UAE driving test before driving in this country. An International Driving License is valid only until the Residence Visa is stamped in your passport. Once you have a visa you may no longer use your international driving license When you drive always carry your driving license Abu Dhabi Has Housemaids You are allowed to sponsor a housemaid provided she is not related to you. It is almost impossible to bring in a man for this position, unless he is employed as a driver. The minimum salary is 800 AED a month, although most westerners tend to pay up to 1500 AED and pay extra for evening baby sitting. Expatriates tend to be more generous. A fee of 5000 AED is payable to the government for visa processing and sponsorship. This is an annual payment and non-refundable. You are personally responsible for the conduct of anyone you sponsor. There are companies that provide maid services. This is a legal service. They charge around 25 AED per hour for cleaning, ironing, party catering or baby sitting services. It is illegal to employ part time maids who are on their own visa. House maids are entitled to at least one day off a week, usually Friday. The employer provides accommodation and food and an annual flight home. Some people may find the concept of having a housemaid difficult to accept. It is up to you if you employ a full time home help or book one on a weekly basis or not at all. But please note that this is a major job opportunity and source of income for many women from countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, India and the Philippines where their situation has become quite desperate in their home countries. They rely on this type of work, and the salary earned in the Middle East is a lot in comparative terms and if treated well, they will be loyal and hardworking. They do need guidance and some supervision, but, as with any one new in your home, always be cautious. Abu Dhabi Has Hospitals There are good hospitals in Abu Dhabi, both in the private and in the state sectors. Here are some examples. Abu Dhabi Central Hospital (02 631 4666), Ahalia Hospital (02 626 7267), Al Manara International Hospital (02 621 8888), Corniche Hospital (02 672 4900), Al Noor Hospital (02 626 5265). Your employer should supply you with a medical card and a recommendation of which clinic or hospital to use. There is no free treatment; everything has to be checked by the insurance firms first like in America. If you visit a doctor or a hospital you must pay the first 50 AED regardless of the treatment. Then most of the subsequent treatments, drugs and follow on appointments within 7 days should be covered. There are exceptions, so you must then check with your employer. If you require an ambulance call 999. This is for the police too, but is 997 for fire. It is probably quicker to get a taxi! Abu Dhabi Has a Religion The UAE is an Islamic state but is tolerant of all religions. Other religions do have their own places of worship and are left alone by the authorities. It should be noted that you must not attempt to convert Muslims to other religions – it is illegal and can land you in jail! It is important that you respect Islam. Don’t pass any derogatory remarks about the religion or its followers. Remember that pork products and alcohol are forbidden to Muslims so don’t offer them any. The holy month of Islam is Ramadan, a strict period of fasting, a method of self-purification and self restraint by cutting oneself off from worldly comforts. The precise dates cannot be forecast with certainty because it begins only after the crescent moon has been sighted. It begins 10 days earlier each year. Islam follows the Higra calendar for religious events. This is approximately 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar and does not take leap years into account. During Ramadan, no one of any religion is allowed to eat, drink, smoke or chew in public from sunrise to sunset. You may do any or all of these in the privacy of your home during the day and in public after sundown. In a place of work there will usually be a separate area for non-Muslims to eat and drink. Children are allowed to eat even in public. Adults will be arrested and imprisoned if they are caught doing the same. Many restaurants in more western areas or free zones are now actually open during Ramadan; their doorways and windows are simply covered. Working hours are changed during Ramadan; school and business have shorter working hours; unfortunately this puts a lot of pressure on the road system as everyone begins and finishes work at the same time. Exercise greater caution on the roads nearing dusk; drivers are tired and tend to rush home to break their fast. More road accidents happen at this time than any other time of the year! Abu Dhabi Expectations Wherever you may come from, one thing that everyone must do, is to arrive in Abu Dhabi with an open mind. Regardless of how much research you have conducted, it is not quite the same as the real experience itself; landing in the middle of the night, far from home, family and friends, not sure who is meeting you, wondering what the apartment will be like and where it will be, hoping you will make new friends and enjoy working in the school with new colleagues, wondering where the shops are and how to buy a mobile, and in general adapt to completely different way of life. But it will all fall into place with a little patience and perseverance! There will be times when you miss home, wonder why on earth you did this, as you begin to experience some of the frustrations of living in a non-western country, when a lot of your expectations are not met. Culture shock sets in – you are frustrated by the red tape, the hot and sticky weather, the slow management style, the tomorrow will do attitude. And then you will you adapt and wonder what all the fuss is about when your hear people moaning and groaning, complaining that it is not like this back home. Well, why are you here then? Enjoy it and have a great time. There is too much to do. And the real unique feature of life in Abu Dhabi is that you can almost live as though you were at home balanced nicely with a cultural and local experience. By all means do what the westerners do, have a few beers, party, shop and the rest. But why not try learning the language; the locals love it when you make an effort. Get to know an Arabic family; they are so generous and hospitable. Explore the cultural delights throughout the country, the museums, the forts, the heritage villages. Surely you have come here for more than a holiday. Of course you are seeking to pursue your professional career in a different cultural setting with the challenges that it presents, but you must want to find out more about a new region, a new culture – surely that is why you came here. Abu Dhabi offers the best of all worlds. Enjoy! Abu Dhabi Author Neil Ollier works for ‘Teach Anywhere’ and has been based in Dubai since 2004. He has taught in Kuwait for two years and has lived in the UAE for almost four years. He has worked with Select Education / Teach Anywhere since 1994 as a consultant, business manager, regional manager and currently the Business Development Manager for Teach Anywhere Middle East and Africa Division. He and his family enjoy a very safe, secure professional and social lifestyle. His son loves it here; he goes to a great UK curriculum school and as you can see enjoys a wide range of activities. Although he professes to know quite a lot about the Middle East (his wife is Arabic, so that helps too) through his personal and professional experiences. The information that he has put together comprises of a combination of personal adventures, factual guide book information, internet help and advice from friends and schools in the UAE. He hopes that you will find this document useful but urges anyone to conduct their own research first to make sure that a place like Abu Dhabi fits their own professional and personal aspirations. Good luck! Please note that timings, pricing and information may change. ‘Teach Anywhere’ does not take responsibility for the information in this document. It acts only as a guide.
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