The Problem with Growing Up in the United Arab Emirates

I grew up in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. I loved everything about it.. the perspective it has given me, the cleanliness and safe life. However, every country has its problems and here are the problems with growing up in the UAE:

1. Wherever you travel, you’re never impressed.

No really, you aren’t. The UAE now has the highest quality streets, buildings, materials, paths, services.. etc. And the most luxurious too. Paris’ Champs-Élysées for instance, is such a disappointment to the residents of the UAE.

2. International differences don’t  ‘wow’ you.

When you grow up with a tiny international community.. you learn to accept the differences unconsciously.. that you become the difference.. which leads us to the next point..

3. You’re international..

You know that strong sense of identity you’re parents might have? you don’t. Because you grew up with an international community

which happens to be my school’s name.

4. you become more knowledgeable (culture wise) than most people in any other nation. You’ve tried different foods, you celebrated different holidays, you saw different clothing and maybe tried them on too.

5. If you’re an Arab, you’d definitely be speaking more than one dialect.

Plus that general dialect spoken among the youth.. which is basically a mix between different dialects.. I am Egyptian and spoke Shami ( a mix of Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian and Jordanian) dialect fluently that nobody thought I was Egyptian.

And you’d be speaking your own dialect with an edge that can be spotted by residents from your country. I’ve always been spotted as an ‘outsider’ especially in my first years in Egypt.


Not sure whether these are actually problems or advantages, but growing up in the UAE has definitely affected me 🙂


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