A Guide to Studying in the UAE

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Studying abroad can be an immensely rewarding life experience and the United Arab Emirates has become an increasingly popular destination for such an undertaking. As well as offering excellent weather, beautiful scenery and the potential for tax-free earnings, the country also boasts a number of academic institutions.

Several of the country's universities, have both international and UAE accreditation, making them an excellent choice for UK students. In addition, multiple universities, such as the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, have earned a spot in the QS World University Rankings.

Here is some key information you will need before enrolling on a course in the United Arab Emirates.

About the UAE

As a country, the United Arab Emirates was established in its current form in 1971. Sharing borders with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar and Iran, it is a federation made up of seven different principalities, known as emirates. The two largest of these are Abu Dhabi, which is the country's capital, and Dubai, which is its largest city.

The UAE has the second largest economy in the Arab world and one of the top 20 largest economies globally.  In addition, the country is known for its skylines, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Famous landmarks in the UAE include Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is currently the tallest man-made structure in the world.

Universities and Courses

Some of the United Arab Emirates' top academic institutions include:

  • The United Arab Emirates University
  • The American University in Dubai
  • Abu Dhabi University
  • The American University of Sharjah

Most universities are able to provide some accommodation for foreign students, although private accommodation is also available. In terms of courses, most of the main courses in the UK are offered by institutions in the UAE. Popular areas of study include engineering, business and law, as these areas all offer strong employment prospects.

Lifestyle and Culture

The UAE has a total population of around 10 million people, with the vast majority of those people being expats. Indeed, it is estimated that only around 15 percent of the population are Emirati citizens, with the remainder coming from all parts of the world. 

Arabic is the country's official language, with English being the second most widely spoken language. However, in higher education, English is the primary language used. As a result, British students living in the country should find few problems in terms of a language barrier.

Islam is the state religion of the UAE and it influences many aspects of Emirati culture. For example, during the month of Ramadan, it is against the law to eat or drink in public during daylight hours. Nevertheless, cities like Dubai are multicultural and relatively liberal and people of all faiths are equally protected by law.

Application Process

Each academic institution’s courses will have their own specific application processes and entry requirements, which you can easily research online.

In order to study in the UAE, you will require a student residence visa, which will usually need to be renewed ahead of each year of the course. Moreover, an internal sponsor is required. In the absence of family or friends living in the country, this will usually be handled by the university. Students should also be aware that they will likely be asked to submit to a medical examination. 

A unique experience and enviable education await you in the United Arab Emirates

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