The most popular language in UAE (other than the obvious Arabic) is English which is the second most-popular language spoken throughout the country. Therefore, knowledge of English is often an advantage when applying for most local jobs.
A study compiled by the Department of Naturalisation and Residency, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour, revealed that the expatriate population in the UAE has been rapidly increasing. UAE’s rising international profile for business, trade and tourism has led to a growing rate of visitors and foreign expats seeking work or residence permits. As per the latest reports, the positive and optimistic outlook of the UAE economy as well as its steady economic growth have prompted some international organizations to relocate or setup a business in the state. With this diversity, one of the unifying factors can be the language
Since tourism plays a key role in the UAEs’ economic development, English is spoken by the majority of people in large cities for business and at international meetings and conferences. Also, with a great percentage of the population in Dubai and Abu Dhabi being expatriates, all road signs are in Arabic with English subtitles and other information signs are in English and Arabic.
A foreigner in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, both being popular Emirate cosmopolitan cities, will find more Emirati citizens learning English than any other language, including Persian, Hindi or Urdu (to name a few) that are also widely spoken and understood. As the UAE was a British protectorate, most locals have learnt English, though it is not uncommon to meet people whose English is limited. In fact, most rural people do not understand English, but English is taught in public schools.
Though classical Arabic is spoken in everyday life, English is by far the most common studied foreign language in the Emirates, with instruction in the public school placing emphasis on English as a second language. .
The following are some educational institutions with either a British or American English Curriculum:
• British Council in the UAE – offers English language courses at their Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah centers.
• Islamia English School, Abu Dhabi – founded with the sole aim of educating children. The subjects in the School Curriculum are English Language, English Literature, among others.
• British International School of Abu Dhabi – instructs the English National Curriculum for students that fall in the ages 3 to 18.
• American International School – has an American style of curriculum from pre-kindergarten to grade twelve.
• American Community School of Abu Dhabi – offers an English Language Arts curriculum; it is certified by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Instruction is in English and based on the American educational system.
• American School of Dubai and the Dubai American Academy follows an American-style Curriculum: Ages: 3 to 18
• Dubai British School and English College Dubai use a British Curriculum. Both educational facilities are for ages 3 to 18. Otherwise, the Dubai English Speaking School follows a British Syllabus for ages 5 to 11.
For more education and schooling options for expats within UAE (e.g., Dubai, Abu Dhabi), be sure to visit the Expat Arrivals website (expatarrivals.com) for listings.