Welcome to Dubai New Staff Induction Handbook

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Written by Michael Connor

Year 3 Teacher

10. How to get a Mobile Phone and which Network to Choose
Pay as you go SIM cards can be purchased from many outlets across Dubai. The mobile stores have them but many supermarkets and shops (eg, Minutes the Key Cutting shop) have them too. Pay a set price (not much!) and then pop the SIM card in to your phone in the same way you would in the UK. You need a copy of your passport and the original to purchase. Usually takes up to 24 hours to activate but often quicker.
The big two!

To say there is a huge amount of choice in Dubai is ... well, wrong! There are two networks which are both ultimately owned by the same people. 


Probably the best for calls and texts. Each top up goes to a 'credit' which can be used whichever way you like. They often have offers like 50% extra top ups on a recharge. To use data (email, internet and whatsapp) you need an extra bolt on which appear to be more expense than Du (see below). Each top up lasts as long as the credit lasts you.


Possibly the better all rounder. When topping up with Du you can choose whether you would like credit, international credit or data credit meaning you can choose how you spend it. Unlike Etisalat, top ups are limited to 30 days so regardless of what you choose, you will need to top up again - although you won't lose unused credit.

Top Ups for both networks are available from any supermarket, mobile shop or online (with a UAE credit card). Top ups come in 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirhams with Du and similar with Etisalat.

Written by Russell Smart

Year 6 Teacher
11. How to link TV and Internet at Home
This is dependent on which network you are with and this is entirely decided on the building. Your building/area will either be Du or Etisalat and you won't have a choice about this. Packages are different between the networks but ultimately offer the same subscription TV and broadband.
Etisalat require you to have a UAE visa before signing up although based on experience Du was happy to use a work permit. Both companies will require passport copies, visa/work permit copies, a copy of the accommodation lease and usually a letter of no objection. Sign up can be done in any Du or Etisalat store found across Dubai. Installation can be within 24 hours or a couple of days.
Payment to the companies needs to be made online or in branch - no direct debits available.
TV packages are similar to the UK with entertainment, sports and movie packages available. Premier League football is available on Abu Dhabi Sports whilst the OSN channels have the Western dramas and movies.
Internet speeds vary and are not always 100% reliable. Expect to pay more for basic speeds in comparison to the UK.

It is handy to get a VPN connection in order to watch British TV etc without restrictions. Film On is also an extremely good app for live TV and films!

Written by Russell Smart

Year 6 Teacher

Dubai Do’s and Don’ts

12. Dubai Do’s and Don’ts

Dubai Do’s

Nightlife and Entertainment

  • Brunch! Friday brunch is a must. Explore them - there are so many on offer with huge variations in price and tastes

  • If eating and drinking all you want in the day doesn't take your fancy, find an evening brunch

  • Find a happy hour or too - Dubai doesn't have to be expensive. Almost every bar will have one offering discounts, half price, buy 1 get 1 free etc

  • Ladies nights (sorry men!) - different nights dependent on location offering either free or discounted drinks for ladies, some also include snacks

  • Try to catch a passing show. This year we have had Michael McIntyre, Justin Beiber and the Cirque du Soleil visit as well as regular gigs at Sandance and Atlantis


  • Dubai Creek and Souqs - sights, sounds and smells. Spend a whole 2 dirhams and travel the Creek on an abra too

  • Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque is a coach ride (or car) away. Stay overnight and explore the capital of the UAE

  • JBR has a nice 'European' style promenade with lots of chain style restaurants

  • lots of new restaurants are opening up around the Marina and worth a walk around

  • The Madinat has some nice shops and restaurants at tourist prices, but still worth a look


  • Abu Dhabi F1 takes place at the end of the year and is only an hour away at Yas Island

  • Rugby Sevens is a must, but not always for the rugby, held at the Sevens Stadium

  • Cricket 20/20 has a strong following and matches are played throughout the year in Sports City

  • Surprisingly Dubai has quite a lot of running clubs, these cater for both the casual and serious runner, check them out on facebook or on their website, http://www.dubairoadrunners.com/ http://abrasac.org/ http://www.dubaicreekstriders.org/

  • There are a number of amateur soccer leagues with games taking place most evenings during the week. The following site is the league winners for the 2012-13 season http://dubaiirish.leaguerepublic.com/enter.do?siteid=576517

  • Gaelic Football is continually growing throughout the Middle East with Dubai being resident to Dubai Celts http://www.dubaicelts.com/ The league takes the format of 6 separate competitions involving travelling to other Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

  • Gyms in Dubai - whilst you may have access to a gym in your building, group exercise classes and boot camps are all over the city. Expect to pay 50 dirhams and up for a class or get discounts for signing up for a membership (monthly or annually)


  • The Entertainer books are a must buy - full of hundreds of buy 1 get 1 free vouchers for meals, cafes, days out and experiences. They cost £60 equivalent each but will save you £100s

  • Renting a car isn't essential but is a nice way to feel more independent in your new home. A Toyota Yaris is around 1700 dirhams a month. Why not rent for a month and explore the other Emirates one weekend?

Dubai Don'ts

  • Don't feel you have to do every brunch, every week. Save some 'nicer' ones for special occasions or for when family/friends visit

  • Don't panic about putting on the 'Dubai Stone' - just accept that it's going to happen

  • Don't worry if something takes longer than you expect - 'later' means tomorrow, 'tomorrow' means in a couple of days and 'next week' means ... well good luck! Just know that installations, contracts etc. will happen ... Eventually!

  • Don't do ALL the tourist attractions in your first few weeks, but do set yourself goals to visit places to avoid getting stuck in a routine

Top Tips before you come

  • Have lots of passport size photos ready as well as copies of your passport

  • TV and Internet might take a while so download some films or bring box sets to watch on your laptop

  • Your post will come through the school's address, therefore tell everyone at home to send any post to Your Name, c/o Kings' Dubai School, P.O Box 38199, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Don't rely on the postal service being prompt though, it can take weeks to get here!

  • Bring enough money to see you through your first month in Dubai including the induction period. You tend to be more social in these first 6 weeks along with sorting out the basics such as mobile phone and getting bits and bobs to make your apartment feel at home. Minimum recommended £1000GBP

Written by Russell Smart

Year 6 Teacher

13. Things to Do in your First Year!

There are many different activities to suit anyone who either visits or lives in Dubai. Dubai can be easily enjoyed with popular places to entertain everyone!

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