2005/04/07

The Story So Far

This is a brief summary of how we ended up leaving the US and moving to Al Ain. Brn works in the Systems Department of a large American public university's library. A friend of his moved to the UAE to work at the UAE University library a few years ago. While visiting on vacation last summer, this friend ask Brn if he was interested in moving to the desert and working there.

Like most Americans, Brn knew next to nothing about the UAE. So at first he was more than a little hesitant to think about it. However, as he and Bss learned more about it, it seemed like more and more of a good idea for several reasons:

The UAE is one of the safest places to live. It has never had a terrorist attack (to this date) and the violent crime rate is much lower than the US. The UAE, while more conservative than the US, is a fairly open and tolerant society. Non-Muslims are allow to have churches and worship without interference (not like Saudi Arabia). Women do not have to cover their heads. They can drive, work, go out unescorted. Alcohol is allowed in six of the seven emirates that make up the UAE. The UAE is a very modern country with a very high standard of living. The road system connecting the major cities are at least as good as American ones. Many American chain restaurants are in the UAE (McDonald's, Subway, Pizza Hut, Hardee's, etc). High Speed internet access, while censored, is fairly cheaply available. Same for cell phones. The cost of living is roughly the same as America, and with the currency (the dirham) pegged to the dollar at a ratio of US$ 1 = AED 3.67, we wouldn't risk losing any money when we left. But let's be honest, the biggest reason is the money and benefits. The gross pay, while more than Brn is making in the US, is not tremendously more. However, when you factor in the benefits, it really adds up. For instance:

-No taxes
-Housing paid for by the University
-Health insurance for the family paid for by the University
-Very generous furniture allowance paid upon arrival in the UAE
-45 days of annual vacation (against 22 in the US)
-One month's salary per year work paid as a bonus at the end of the contract
-Free round-trip air tickets home for the family once a year
-Free air tickets for the family to the UAE at the beginning and home at the end of the contract
-Shipping allowance at the beginning and end of the contract

Anyway, that is our story and we are sticking to it.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Great job, Brian! Thanks for doing this.