Study in United Arab Emirates - UAE

Have you ever wondered why your friends or cousins choose UAE for their higher education? Do you want to know about UAE, its education system, lifestyle, etc in detail? If yes, then you are at the right place and all the information can be obtained from below.

UAE Overview

UAE or the United Arab Emirates is many times addressed as only Emirates. It is a federal sovereign absolute monarchy located in the Western part of Asia. It is in the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula (Persian Gulf) and bordering Oman in the east and in the south, it is in touch with Saudi Arabia and with Qatar, it is sharing its maritime borders to the west. Iran is situated in the north of UAE.
UAE has seven emirates and Abu Dhabi is the capital of the country. Other emirates are Dubai, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Each of the emirates is governed by a Ruler and they all form the Federal Supreme Council. One of all the rulers serves as the President of the United Arab Emirates.
The country has an official religion –Islam and the official language is Arabic. The oil reserves of UAE are at the 7th largest position in the world and the natural gas reserves secure 17th position.
The country is a member of the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League, OPEC, The Gulf Cooperation Council and Non-Aligned Movement.
If we talk about tax in UAE, the government does not levy any income tax but they have a corporate tax which needed to be paid. They also started Value Added Tax at 5% from this year, 2018.

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About United Arab Emirates - UAE

Economy-

The economy or income in UAE is among the highest in the world but there are some variations with the big cities like Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi as they are the main producers of oil.
The government has worked and even working in the direction to diversify the national economy by growing industries, tourism, construction, transportation, free trade zones, communications, and fisheries. It has reduced the dependency of the national economy on oil.
UAE is on 3rd position in Gulf for exporting oil and gas and is the member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties.

Social life-

There are mainly 2 social categories in UAE- the Nationals or Al-Muwateneen and the foreign immigrants/ incomers or Al-Wafedeen. The citizens are then divided into 4 classes-
  1. The ruling sheikh families which are holding the highest political positions and have power, wealth and prestige.

  2. The merchant class or al-tujjar. There are traditionally the pearling merchants who are involved in selling international consumer goods.

  3. The new middle class, which is represented by the professionals and they are increasing gradually. They also get benefited by the free state education.

  4. The last one is the low-income group or a newly created group settled by Bedouin nomads, oasis farmers and former pearl divers.

The immigrants are also having different classes like top professionals who are having international contracts with high salaries and benefits, middle-class professionals like teachers, company salesmen, technicians, then low-paid unskilled workers or semi-skilled technicians.
The males of the society can be seen in the traditional dress of white robe or and aura and white head cloth or ghutrah. Men also like to have shirt beards and moustaches. The women can be seen in long dresses with head cover and black abayah.

Marriage and Family

They have the tradition of arranged marriages that too within the kinship or tribal units. But nowadays, it has become a bit advanced and people can have greater choice for getting married. People avoid marrying non-nationals and they have a provision of awarding $19000 to the man if he marries a national from the Marriage Fund. As per the Islam religion, a man is allowed to have 4 wives but most of them have one only.

Healthcare and Medicine-

The healthcare system was very poor during old days or more specifically before 1960 with few hospitals only. The people were dependent on the traditional way of treating health issues like bloodletting, cautery, etc. Use of herbal medicines was also in trend. The religious teacher or mutaween were responsible for treating mental illness. Due to such conditions, the life expectancy was near 45 years only.
The situation has improved a lot and now the people have advanced healthcare systems, many hospitals, health care centres and various private clinics. The basic healthcare system is free for the citizens. The life expectancy is improved with a better diet and improved healthcare systems. The infant mortality rate is also reduced now.

Art-

The country appreciates and even supports its writers, actors, painters and folk dancers. Sharjah is actively involved in and promoting the culture of UAE and is selected by UNESCO as “the Arab Cultural Capital” in the year 1998.
The art of storytelling, poetry, etc in the form of oral art is in use during events and other celebrations.

Holidays and important celebrations-

The most important days of UAE is “the UAE national day” which is celebrated on 2nd December of every year. The cities are decorated with coloured lights, the folklore troops perform in heritage villages on this day. Although 1st January is a holiday for them they do not celebrate it nationally. The immigrants are allowed to celebrate their own festivals and religious days in their own way.

Quick Facts

  1. The capital of UAE is Abu Dhabi.

  2. The largest city in the country is Dubai.

  3. The main religion of UAE is Islam.

  4. The official language is Arabic.

  5. Different ethnic groups are residing in UAE including Pakistani, Indians, Bangladeshi, Emirati, Chinese, European and Filipino.

  6. The total area of the country is around 83,600 sq kilometres and water part negligible in this country.

  7. the population is approximately 9,269,612 as per last data collected in the year 2016.

  8. The currency of UAE is "UAE Dirham (AED)" which is equivalent to 19.02 INR.

  9. The calling code is +971 for the country.

  10. The ISO code is AE and the internet TLD is .ae.

  11. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi is the first city with zero carbon, zero waste and car-free city in the world.

  12. The literacy rate of UAE is 93%.

  13. The week starts n Sunday in UAE and the students and parents get a week off on Fridays and Saturdays.

  14. UAE has ATMs which can dispense gold bars.

  15. Liquor license is very important in UAE to drink even at your own home.

  16. There is one Golf cart in Dubai requiring around 4,000,000 gallons of water per day.

  17. UAE has many man-made islands which are the proof of fascinating architectural achievements of engineers.

  18. The police in Dubai is considered as a very stylish force in the whole world as they have a range of supercars including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, etc.

  19. Falcon is considered as a very special bird in UAE. It is also a part of their emblem and even gets printed on their currency.

  20. As the temperature in UAE is quite high to enjoy outdoor, most of the entertainment involved indoor facilities.

  21. Anyone who is holding Israeli passport or even has an entry or exit stamps from Israel, he or she will not be allowed to enter in UAE country probably.

  22. To buy alcohols from the registered vendors, you need to have a permit for that and in the Emirates of Sharjah, the alcohol is not at all permitted.

Admission Process in United Arab Emirates - UAE

UAE is among the top priorities for those who are looking forward to studying abroad. Especially the Media and communication, engineering and management courses are in great demand in UAE.
Once you have decided the course you want to study in UAE and the university in which you want admission, it is very much important to know and to follow the admission cycle of the same university. The admission process for most of the universities in UAE is the same but the deadlines for applications may vary.
There are main 3 sessions- Fall, spring, and summer. The fall semester starts in September –October and the spring session starts in January.
The admission cycle for spring sessions goes as mentioned below-
  1. In July of the previous year, candidates need to start researching for the options like the course and the university.

  2. In August, he or she can register for the standardized test and then take test.

  3. September is to prepare the application package which also includes your test scores.

  4. In October-November, one can start applying to the selected university and the applications get closed in December- January. In the same month, the institutes start replying to the applications received for admissions.

  5. Once you receive a positive response or confirmation, you can start preparing for other requirements like finances, exploring scholarships, education loans, etc by the October month. After that, apply for a student visa.

  6. After you receive your student visa, you can plan your departure in the month of January as the spring session starts in this month.

Student Visa Application Process

Students who are willing to pursue their studies in UAE but are not the citizen of that country, they need to have a valid student visa for the same. The student visa in UAE is only offered for full-time courses. The validity of this visa is 12 months and need to be renewed after every 12 months slot if the course is of longer duration. Full-time courses of shorter duration require short-term visas.
In UAE, the student visa for international students is facilitated by the universities in UAE they have applied and students just need to submit all the required documents to the university itself. The university sends an offer letter to the international students for the course and as soon as you reply with your acceptance, they initiate your student visa process. The visa application tales around 15-20 days, so it is advised to start with visa application around 1-2 months before the starting of your course. It will allow you to manage other things required to be done before the departure.
There is another option of Express processing through which, one can get the approved students visa within 10 days but the charges are higher than the normal visa.
Another important thing to note is, the students do not require appearing in an interview for visa purpose. They might be asked some basic questions at the time of their arrival in UAE. There is no particular age required to obtain the student Visa for UAE and you need not submit any age document for the visa, however, these details need to refurbish for application in the university and once the application is accepted, visa can be issued.
The case is different for minority students and they need to submit additional documents related to their parents or guardians for the visa.
As the visa applications are initiated through the universities in UAE, the students can tract their applications from the universities they have applied for the course. Usually, it takes 15- 20 working days for visa approval and students may get it faster in 10 days by choosing the option on Express visa as mentioned above.

How to renew the UAE student visa-The validity of student visa is for 12 months and need to be renewed after that. The renewal can be done by filling a visa renewal application form. You need to submit the same to your university only. Other documents like original passport, passport size photos, valid Emirates ID card, etc need to be submitted along with the visa renewal application form. Students need to pay for health insurance fee along with the renewal fee at this time.
Please note that one needs to initiate the application for visa renewal for around one month prior to the date of expiry of his or her visa.

In the case of student visa application rejection-An acceptance from the university does not guarantee a student visa application and there are possibilities that your visa application may get rejected. In such cases, students need to contact the Registrar’s office at their university. The office many ask them either to re-submit the visa application with proper documentation or they may ask you to fill the form for the fee refund. There are mainly 3 reasons for which your student visa application may get rejected-
  1. The university registrar may reject it due to one or another reason.

  2. The immigration body might reject it.

  3. The student may fail in the medical test which is required for the student visa application process.


Work permits for international students in UAE

It is allowed to work while studying in UAE. Students can work on campus in libraries, administrative offices, etc. To work off-campus, students require permission from their university and then they need to approach the UAE Labor department to obtain the work permit to work part-time in the city. If a student is studying through university sponsorship, then also he or she needs to contact the UAE Labor Department to get the permit for working part-time in the city.
Earlier the legal rules were designed in such a way that the employers found it difficult to contact the students with part-time work offers but now the things have become easier and the international students can support from their university in finding the genuine employer.
During the sessions, students can work for 15 hours per week or 60 hours per months but during semester breaks or vacations, they can work for 40 hours a week or 160 hours per month. Please note that a single student cannot get indulged in 2 jobs simultaneously.

Eligibility to work on-campus in UAE
  1. The very first requirement is to get enrolled in a full-time undergraduate course. To start working, students must complete at least 1st semester and visit and exchange program candidates are not allowed to work in UAE>

  2. They must have GA of 2.2 at least.

Lifestyle

People love to be in UAE even when most of the part of the country is occupied by desserts and have hot weather most of the year. The reason is its tax-free lifestyle, great salary as international wage, private educational institutes, various exciting entertainment options and excellent shopping options.
If we talk about its culture, heritage, and lifestyle, it is more influenced by the Islam religion which is more than a religion in this country. The everyday lives of the citizens are very much governed by the Islamic traditions and people the same in every activity like what to eat, what to drink, where to go, and many more.

Food-

In earlier times, the people in UAE used to have rice, bread, fish, dates, vegetables, yoghurt, and meat of goats, sheep, and camels in their meals. Later they stated having good quality food from the supermarkets which are providing imported food items.
Lunch is considered the main meal and they have it at around 2.00 with their families and the menu usually have meat, rice, fish and other vegetable dishes.
Guests make Emirates happy and they are well known for their hospitality. They love to socialize with guests, friends, and relatives. Coffee and fresh dates are offered to the guest at first.

Cost of Living for Students

The cost of living in UAE is considered a big expense in comparison to India but still, the variations are available among different cities of the country. One should also consider the other factors like size of family, their lifestyle, food habits, etc while judging the cost of living.
Details are mentioned in detail below-
Accommodation cost-Accommodation is the main factor that will eat up your biggest part of the budget. The rates or costs may vary depending upon the location you choose to stay. The accommodation on islands and main cities are always expensive than the options on off-island locations or external of the cities. If you are looking for rental accommodation, such rental contracts are available at least for 1 full year and many owners or landlords may ask you for advance one year rent. If you will need to leave the place before completion of the contract, it is less likely to get the money refund. The rent ranges between 5,000 AED d 7,000AED depending upon the locations and size of the houses and it will be lesser for 1 bedroom as obvious.
To buy an apartment in the main city may cost you more than 10,500.00AED. The utilities like electricity, water, internet, etc are affordable but need to be paid additional to the rent. The mobile calling rates are approximately AED 0.50/ minute; the internet will cost you around AED 330 per month and the other basic utilities will cost you around AED 400 per month.
If you want to save money, you can get shared rental accommodations but it is advised o be careful while selecting one.

Groceries-The food and other grocery items are very much affordable in the country. If you like the outside food, the traditional restaurants, and the local organic food is cheaper and the international branded food items are a bit expensive. The milk is around AED 6 per litre, a loaf of bread will cost approximately AED 4.20, and an egg is AED 1 per unit and so on.

TransportTransport is again very reasonable in the country. One can get local buses and trains for commuting purpose at very affordable fares. The reason for this is cheaper rates of fuel.
On another side, driving own vehicle can be costlier for those who are not having the driving license as to get your driving license issued in UAE is very much expensive.
Private taxis are available with around AED 5 per kilometre rates.

Documents for University Admissions in United Arab Emirates - UAE

The documents required for the student visa for UAE may vary depending upon the home country of the applicant and the university he or she has applied but the main requirement of documents is as mentioned below-
  1. A coloured copy of passport which must be having at least 7 months validity from the date of the application.

  2. A set of recent coloured passport size photograph. It should be matching with the application sent to the university for admission.

  3. Duly filled university forms.

  4. A receipt or any other proof of the tuition fee and visa fee you have paid.

  5. If the student is already possessing an original Emirates ID, that also needs to be provided with the Student visa application.

Apart from these above-mentioned documents, other details are obtained from the application you made for admission in the university which includes your personal details, academic details, the purpose of the visit, duration of the course, etc.

Education in UAE

The education started after their federation establishment with their very first university “United Arab Emirates University” in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. Since then, the education is improving continuously and around 25% of the total federal government donates for education. The current literacy rate of UAE is 90%.
The comprehensive education is free for country’s citizens at all levels for both males and females in UAE. Apart from this, they also have well developed private education sector and even many students including both boys and girls enrol for higher education in other countries with the financial support from the UAE government.
The education system in UAE has 4 angles t analyze-

K-12 Education-

The Primary and secondary level education in UAE is universal and they have both public and private schools. The public schools are government funded while the fee for private schools varies. The language of teaching in public schools is Arabic while the private schools also teach a foreign language to support the students from other countries. The Dubai Education Council (DEC), Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and UAE Ministry of Education (MOE) are taking care of the education and its reformation as per the requirements.
The education is compulsory till 9th grade in UAE and the education has 4 tier with 14 years duration-
  1. The kids of 4-5 years age attend kindergarten.

  2. The kids of 6 to 11 years age go to primary schools.

  3. The Preparatory schools are available for kids from the age of 12 to 14 years.

  4. The secondary school is available for the kids of 15 to 17 years.

The K-12 education system is having the following breakdown-
Kindergarten-It is for the kids of age between 4 to 5 years and it includes learning about art, music, English, Religion, basic math and Arabic. Other paying activities are also included in this level.
Primary-It is for the kids of 6 to 12 years age and the duration of this program are 6 years. It is compulsory in UAE and free in public schools. The medium of instruction is English is followed in most of the schools but there are many schools teaching in other languages like Hindi, French, and Russian.
Preparatory-It is having 3 years duration and is available for kids of 12- 15 years of age.
Secondary-It is for the children of age between 15 to 18 years and the program is having 3 years duration. Most of the schools teach social studies, mathematics, religion, physical education, and Arabic as compulsory subjects. Subjects like History, Science, languages, computers, etc are optional and candidates can choose as per their choice.
Students need to appear in tests like SAT, IGCSE, Advanced Placement, IB Diploma, GCE Advanced level, etc for most of the secondary schools in UAE.
Technical Secondary School-the students from the age of 12 to 18 are eligible for this program. The duration is 6 years for this and it provides Certificate/Diploma known as Technical Secondary Diploma at the end of the course.

Higher Education-

For higher education, UAE has public and private universities. The Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) is established by the Ministry of Education with the purpose to conduct the program of licensure of the institutes offering higher education and then the accreditation of each of the academic courses.
The higher education institutes in UAE are divided into 3 main categories-
Public institutions-These are government institutes offering free education to the citizens of UAE. The main public institutes offering higher education in UAE are as mentioned below-
  1. UAE University or UAEU- It was founded in the year 1977 and the enrollment has increased tremendously since then. It offers 70 undergraduate degrees and most of its courses are internationally accredited.

  2. Zayed University or ZU- It started in the year 1998 as an all women’s university but later it expanded in a co-educational institute. It has five colleges offering education in the field of Business Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Education, Communication and Media Sciences, and Information Systems. The language of teaching is English in most of the institutes.

  3. Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT)- It founded in the year 1988 and has four campuses. It has 16 men’s and women’s colleges in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, Ras al-Khaimah, Madinat Zayed, Fujairah, and Sharjah. It offers around 80 programs with four levels – Diploma, Higher Diploma, Bachelor and Master’s degree and having more than 10000 female students.

Private InstitutionsUAE also host a range of private institutions for higher education. Many of them are also having international accreditation and the Ministry of Education and the Commission for Academic Accreditation take care of this accreditation of private institutes. Below are the main private institutes in UAE-
  1. American University in Dubai (AUD) established in the year 1995. It is a non-sectarian institution dedicated to the higher learning of UAE citizens and international students.

  2. American University of Sharjah (AUS) started in 1997 and offers around 25 major and 48 minor undergraduate courses. It also has 13 master’s courses. More details about ”Admissions” in this university can be obtained here.

  3. American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) founded in 2009 and working in the direction of providing American style undergraduate and graduate courses. It also supports research and supports RAK Emirate, the UAE.

  4. Abu Dhabi University started in September 2003 and offering various career oriented courses to fulfil the needs of UAE. It has 2 campuses, one in Abu Dhabi and another in Al Ain.

Apart from these, other private universities like Masdar Institute for Science and Technology, Al HOSN University, Ajman University of Science and Technology, etc are also doing great in providing education at the international level.
Global PartnershipsThese are actually the international universities having campuses in UAE to support the students who are willing to study but cannot go abroad for the same.
The examples of such partnership is a New York University which is planning to open a campus in Abu Dhabi, Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health working on starting a public health doctoral program in UAE, and many more.

Technical Education-

The provision of technical education started in the year 1997 in the form of the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT) which is now the commercial part of Higher Colleges of Technology in UAE providing training, education and applied technology related studies. Apart from this, there are some technical and vocational education centres like ADNOC Technical Institute (ATI), Petroleum Institute (PI), The Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), etc.

Special Education-

It is completely dedicated to the education of children with special needs. Under this program, many vocational and rehabilitation centres were developed and the country is also working to include these differently abled kids in the mainstream educational settings.
These centres are actually non-governmental in nature but are getting government assistance as and when required. There are many centres located in the main cities of UAE like Al Noor Speech, Hearing and Development Centre, Riding for the physically/ mentally impaired, future center, etc in Abu Dhabi, Rashid Paediatric therapy centre, Dubai Autism centre, riding for the physically challenged, Dubai Centre for Special needs, etc in Dubai, ABS center for special needs in Sharjah and Ra’s Al-Khaimah.

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