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Staying Healthy While Teaching Abroad in the UAE

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The flourishing metropolises of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are found in the nation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). If you’re thinking about Teaching Jobs in UAE, Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be perfect places for an expat teacher looking for a modern city to live in. These two modern cities abound with technology, mega shopping centers, and gorgeous white sand beaches attracting businessmen, tourists, and expatriates equally. However, to make the most of your time in these Arabian paradises, a savvy expat will employ a few tips to stay healthy.

Before you go to the UAE, it’s important to make sure that your vaccinations are up to date. MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), DTaP/IPV/Hib (polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, and influenza type B) are standard. You should also consider some more specialized vaccines that are recommended when traveling to the UAE. These include typhoid, Hepatitis A and B.

In a country where temperatures can reach 122F in the summer, heat-related illnesses are no joke. Expats in the UAE can take a few precautions to reduce the chance of dehydration, sunburns, and heat stroke. Staying the shade as much as possible and wearing a high-factor sunscreen will help prevent sunburns. Drink water even when you are not thirsty to stay hydrated, and avoid coffee and alcohol which are dehydrating.

As thriving hubs of the Middle East, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have seen expansive construction over the last few decades. The desert climate and construction have created a unique health problem – respiratory diseases, including chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) arising from the dust and pollution. If you’re working as a teacher in the UAE, you may not be affected by this, but it is still wise to avoid areas where the air is particularly polluted especially on hot days when air quality tends to be worse.

Water can be the biggest cause of upset stomachs. There is a wide variety of inexpensive food that can be found in the UAE, which might be an unsuspecting culprit of contaminated water. Even if you have been scrupulous about drinking bottled water, salads rinsed in tap water or ice made from tap water can often cause gastrointestinal distress for expats.

With the abundance of food available, and the generally sedentary lifestyle in the UAE, it is easy to fall complacent about diet and exercise. Fortunately, Abu Dhabi alone offers an extensive list of activities from polo, rock climbing, and rugby, to sailing, camel racing, and golf. There are options for everyone so it’s easy to get out and get your body moving.

In addition to your body, it’s important to take care of your mental wellbeing. Moving away from a support system, adapting to high-demand UAE Teaching Jobs, and experiencing culture shock can be difficult. Once the excitement of a new home wears off, you might be left feeling alone or anxious. This feeling can sometimes even spiral into “relocation depression.” To stave this off, create contacts in the Emirates before you leave, join classes or clubs, and generally try to get involved in your new community.

Even when you take precautions, unfortunately sometimes bad luck strikes and you must go to a doctor’s office or a hospital. Standards of health care are very high in the United Arab Emirates, but also very expensive. It is strongly recommended that expats obtain Health Care insurance as costs can creep up to ensure that you can afford any necessary medical treatments. Foreign professionals hired for teaching in UAE public schools and other white-collar work often get free health insurance as part of their contract, along with other perks like free housing.

If you take these tips into consideration when moving to teach in the UAE, you can stay healthy and happy doing what you love in a wonderful, thriving metropolis.

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