Gap Year in the United Arab Emirates


Capital City Abu Dhabi
Population: 9,500,000
Currency: UAE Dirham (DH)
Language: Arabic
Calling Code: +971

Tucked away in a small corner of the Middle East, you’ll find one of the richest places on earth – the United Arab Emirates. You’ll have seen the pictures – huge skyscrapers and extravagant constructions surrounded by vast swathes of sand – but there’s far more to this collection of seven different emirates. A gap year in the UAE lets you really dig under the skin of this fascinating place, and we’d recommend a trip to absolutely everyone!

The United Arab Emirates is made up of seven different emirates, some of which are much better known than others. These emirates are: Dubai, Ajman, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Quwain.  Most will immediately gravitate towards Dubai – the best known of the seven – with 66% of the country’s tourism heading here. They come to see the amazing Burj Al Arab, the spectacular Palm Islands and the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, as well as the ancient Al Bastakiya. But why stick to Dubai, when there are six other places to explore..?

Abu Dhabi has the Corniche, Sharjah has the beautiful Al Noor Mosque, while Ras al-Khaimah is home to the beautiful Jabal Al Jais. Heading to Umm al-Quwain lets you see the historic Umm al-Quwain Fort, while Ajman offers the tranquil Ajman Beach. Then there’s Al Hayl Castle and the Al Bidyah Mosque in Fujairah, two of the country’s most significant historical buildings. So, give yourself plenty of time when you take a gap year in the United Arab Emirates, as there’s much more to see than first meets the eye!

Working in the UAE

Anyone looking to find work in the UAE should first turn to the education sector, as there is a good demand for English teachers in the country. Nanny work is also a good bet, with plenty of rich families looking for people to care for their children. Dive spots and the hospitality industry also offer work to those looking for it, often with pretty good wages. Make sure you have a visa if you work though, as otherwise you risk imprisonment or deportation.

Where Next?

The Middle East provides a huge amount of travel opportunities for backpackers, and the UAE is often the first port of call, thanks to the huge international airport in Dubai. Many head onwards to Saudi Arabia and then further to Israel, while the more intrepid make their way to places like Oman and Iran. Don’t cut your time in the Middle East short due to stereotypes or fears, as those who take the time to explore it will fall in love with the whole region.

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