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Every city has an identity, with distinguishing features that are sometimes impossible to miss, sometimes hidden under the surface. Some of these cities inevitably share characteristics.

An increasing number of people are making the move from the UK to Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. Those Brits may notice that Dubai has more than one or two similarities with UK cities, most notably London.

Luxury and leisure at a lower cost

Both cities can offer a diverse multitude of professional and leisure options, which is why London and Dubai have become two of the cities where you’re most likely to bump into a celebrity. Whether you’re working for a global corporation, eating out at a Michelin Star restaurant, or looking to explore a vast shopping centre, you might find it difficult to tell the two cities apart in some aspects.

Some find that they love the London lifestyle, but that the cost of accommodation is too high to actually live in London. The same is true in Dubai, even though rental prices in the city are substantially lower than in London. Many who work in the centre of Dubai choose to commute from the nearby city of Sharjah, with a look at apartments available to rent from Bayut demonstrating Sharjah's value for money.

Spacious apartments in desirable areas of Sharjah can cost just 28,999 AED yearly (around £6000), all while separated from Dubai by a 50-minute journey on public transport. Part of the charm of London and Dubai is that you can live nearby and still reap the benefits of the big city attractions.

More similarities than you'd think

Something else that would ease the transition for a British resident moving to the UAE is the vast number of people in Dubai that can speak English. Businesses and entertainment services know that they will have to interact with a lot of English speakers on a daily basis, so you’ll rarely find someone unable to converse in any degree of English.

Of course, the familiar language may help to make the settling-in period easier, but taking the time to learn Arabic can ultimately help Dubai to feel more like home in the long term. Once someone feels at home in Dubai, they may feel more able to properly explore the things that give the city its true identity.

Something that is impossible to ignore is the skyline. While a Londoner will be at ease with the general concept of 'tall buildings', it’s fair to say that Dubai takes things to another level, and another level, and so on. The Burj Khalifa tops the list of the tallest completed building in the world at Skyscraper Center, while Dubai claims another 11 buildings in the world’s top 60.

While London has a skyline to celebrate, Dubai delivers a sight like no other. Another difference that you cannot miss is the weather, with its hot desert climate allowing Dubai to offer delights like camel rides on the Marina Beach. A Londoner moving to Dubai will definitely need to consider updating their wardrobe.

The similarities between London and Dubai can help an emigrating Brit quickly acclimatise to life in the UAE. Gulf News reports that the world’s largest Ferris wheel is set to open in October 2020, with the Ain Dubai promising to offer views across the city from a height of 250m. If you were worried that you would miss the London Eye, British accents, or the possibility of commuting, then fear not.

However, Dubai has more than enough differences to offer an alternative experience to London and other UK cities. From its stunning architecture to its bustling souks, Dubai has lots for British visitors to explore and enjoy. 

A Guide for Those Considering Switching From a UK City to Dubai
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