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My 1st blog, to bring or not to bring Children.
~~This is my first blog, as this is also my first journey to live aboard with my family.
The decision to live aboard and bring my children was a great challenge.
My acceptance of this challenge started when I received the email with my offer letter.
I’ve always wanted to go aboard and teach and of course when I realize that that dream has come to fruition my only delemna was what to do with my children. I knew I could not afford the expense of taking them along and on the other other hand I coud not move across the world without my children.
Well of course ADEC made that decision so much easier, once I found out that they pay for family travel and provide housing for you and the family. Yeah! That hurdled was achieved.
Once I arrived in the UAE, my family and I were in a hotel for two weeks. It was during this time that I then had my paperwork process. I had medical screening, ID’s, banking and mobileaccess taken care of. We also had orientation and was given our assignment city. Most people with families were given Al Ain a few got to stay in Abu Dhabi.
Off to Al Ain for Us!
On our bus ride that the company provide, we had the oppurtunity to migle and meet other families from all over the world. To my surprise knowing that the UAE was mostly a huge sandbox (Desert) I was taken backen on the amount of greenery that we saw along the way and in the city of Al Ain itself.It reminds me of a tropical island to some degree.
Upon arrival we were checked into our hotel, this was to be our home until we were given keys to our permanent locations. For many of my colleagues who had two or less children their stay was brief. They left within three weeks, while a few of us that had more children weren then left in hotels for aproximately 2-3months. Some might say that was a good thing, no cleaning and paying bills, while on the other hand you are in a confined space, no cooking and forced to eat out 2-3 times a day imagine the cost.
Now for other obstacles as life would have it, the obstacle of educating my children in a foreign country. I did my research and was not at all happy with the results. This obstacle was not about to disappear with out any effort on my part. See, ADEC does not provide educational allowance for your children and as we have come to learn that is where you can spend most of your money. I find it such an oxy-moron that we come here to educate their children and make them more globally competitive with other students from around the world and then they, give us no assistance with educating our own children. Without choice your child/ren will have to attend a private institution if you wish to have them atten a traditional school. Expartriate children are not allowed to atten schools with Emarati children.
The cost of educating a child will cost you roughly 3,500-15,000AED a yearly depending on the grade level of your child. There is the cost of basic tution, then there is book fees (300-500AED), uniforms (0-100 AED a piece) and bus service (2,500-3,500 AED) is you so chose. You will need all the same paperwork that you would use to register your child in any new school including their last report card. I may have not mention that if your intentions are to register your child in school, that is something you will want to start as soon as possible once you get here, the higher grades are easier to get in. Some school does provide a sibling discount of 10%, Whoopi!
So those of us who have more than one child then have a very difficult decision to make. So if at this point you decided to take this job to save there goes your saving. Then you have to consider the age of your children and where you are placed to live. It is alot easier for younger children to adjust compare to teenagers. The cost of education is not your only concern when it come to your children, you will have to pray that they are healthy and stay that way until you can get them insurance, which you cannot get for them until you get your visa and your apply for them. That is a process, it can take you up to a couple of months to get all your paper work completed before you can even begin working on your dependants. Once you start the process then within two weeks roughly they can be covered with insurance and about couple weeks later you will be able to get there visa and then ID's. Then once that is all done hopefully you have decided on your schooling options.
Which now you have to decide if you are alone with them, whether you choose traditional school or the other is getting a full time nanny. The basic cost of that is roughly 400-500 AED a week. Of course there is the cost of food, extra-curicualr activities ( will cost you, nothing is free to us) entertainment and travel. I know it may sound like it is very difficult but once you get over the initial adjustment period which I would say if the first 3-6 months things tend to get alot smoother. You can begin to truly enjoy the culture, experience and your children depending on their ages will have a lifelong experience to draw on. They will be far more culturally aware and diverse than their counterparts back in the western culture.
My 6 year loves the idea of travelling and learning a new language. It amazes me to see the growth in him through his experiences, something that would have take me years to try an explain or even demonstrate to him. There is nothing like first hand experience. The down side to it, is that he misses his family from home and get a bit more homesick than I care to count. So travelling back home is never not an option for me.