Monday, June 21, 2021

Want to school in Dubai? Here is what you need to know


It is very easy to get a visa to school in Dubai as long as you have the funds to pay for your visa and for school fees. Would I recommend Dubai as a schooling choice for an African? It depends on what you are studying and what your goals are. If your goal is to settle in the country after studying, Dubai is not the right choice.

First, it is almost impossible to become a citizen. You have to have been a resident for 30 years or more and attain several other criteria If you would like to work part-time, Dubai is not for you. You are not allowed to work as an international student except it is an internship which relates to your field and this can be paid or unpaid. You cannot just go into an establishment and decide to work as a waitress part-time for example. You would need to change your visa to a work visa. It is even stamped clearly on your passport, NOT ALLOWED TO WORK. You also cannot start up a side business. Anyone found operating an unlicensed business will be prosecuted and deported. The bottom line is you need to have money and lots of it or at least a steady source of income outside Dubai. Fees are expensive but generally cheaper than studying in the west ie the Uk or the USA

Be prepared for culture shock and gaps in communication. Sometimes what a certain word or phrase connotes in your country can mean something else in Dubai. A good example is in Africa we say sorry when someone tells us something bad that happened to them as a way to empathize. However, it’s considered strange here. You will be asked why are you apologizing since you did nothing wrong.

Always be in touch with your PRO or any official that handles your student visa and ask lots of questions. A student visa lasts one year. After it expires, you have to renew immediately. You have a 30 day grace period but that period is for your visa to be renewed not just for you to pay. It includes the time Dubai would take to renew your visa as well. If those 30 days run out, you will start incurring fines, the first day costs 200 aed and followings days are 25 aed. After some months 25 aed increases to 50 aed per day then,  to 100aed. For example, if you renew your visa 10 days after it expires and it is renewed in 22 days you will pay a fine of 225aed because you are now 2 days outside your grace period. The fine is not included in your initial visa payment.

a photo showing a passport with the text students visa holders are not allowed to work
student visa holders are not allowed to work in Dubai

When it comes to accommodation, I suggest you don’t choose the school accommodation unless you dont care about the cost. Most regular apartments in Dubai rent out bed spaces which are most times cheaper than any school accommodation. For example, you could pay up to 3000 aed per month for a bed-space in school accommodation while in regular apartments you can pay as low as 1000aed or even 800 for a single bed-space. If you dont want to share, you can look into getting partitions, which cost 1200 aed and above depending on size, Bunk beds are usually cheaper going as low as  500/600aed for a top bunk.

an image with a building and a text that reads choosing accommodation
choose your accommodation with proper guide

It is extremely hot in the summer, worse than any African sun you have ever experienced so make sure you have your Nol card transport card because you will not want to walk anywhere. It cost 25 aed for a regular Nol card. A student Nol card is about 75aed with 19 aed purse value. You need to apply especially for a student Nol card. It is a cheaper student Nol card and it cost about half a regular Nol card fee. A regular Nol card costs a minimum of 3 aed per ride depending on the zone. You can use your Nol card of choice  to board the metro, bus etc and it 

Transport is easily accessible most of the time and that’s a pro for you as a student.

Regarding the course content of the school, you need to research the content of the schools and also find reviews online, speak to alumni etc. I go to a film school and  sometimes I feel like the content is a bit sparse However in my experience, teachers are very dedicated and ready to answer any question and are generally helpful

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