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Universities across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw a surge in admissions by as much as 50% during the academic year of 2020-2021. Several students opted to study in UAE-based universities in light of further lockdowns being announced. The pandemic was a catalyst in changing students’ mindsets towards the educational infrastructure of the country. One of the advantages of the UAE higher education system is the excellent security and stability of residential wards and campuses. Other countries such as New Zealand and Australia also boast similar student privileges. The additional healthcare privileges offered to students in the country were an excellent contributor to the increase in college intake.
Benefits of studying in UAE
The benefits of studying in the UAE are plenty! Some of the most valuable advantages of completing your higher education in this country include –
- An alumni network with diversified skillsets
- Affordability as compared to countries in Europe and the United States.
- Excellent quality of education from some of the best colleges in the world. These include reputed names such as the University of Wollongong, BITS Pilani, Dubai, and Heriot-Watt University.
- The qualifications hold international recognition.
- Since English is the primary language of instruction, students choosing to pursue further education abroad do not need to take exams to prove proficiency in English.
- The country offers extensive resources and facilities to students.
Studying in UAE is a cultural experience like no other. This academically and economically thriving country can challenge the worldview of students and help them gain a new perspective.
If you are considering pursuing your higher education in UAE, there are a few things you need to know to better prepare yourself –
1. Ramadan is ‘the Holy Month of Fasting’
UAE is an Islamic nation and Ramadan is a prominent festival in the country. If you are planning to move to the UAE you will need to follow certain etiquette and guidelines issued by the authorities. During Ramadan, the Islamic population of the country abstains from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. This is a practice to show gratitude and to cleanse the mind and body.
If you are studying in the UAE during Ramadan, it is important to know that –
- You will need to be considerate towards those who are fasting and refrain from eating or drinking in front of them and in public places.
- During this month, make sure that you dress modestly while visiting public places.
- Greet people especially at the beginning of this month by saying “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”.
- Office hours are cut short for private and government offices during the month of Ramadan.
- Restaurants and cafes are open only for dinner
- Playing loud music during the month of prayer is not allowed.
2. Public transport is a boon for students
If you are new to the country, you will need to find an efficient and cost-effective way of traveling. One of the most appreciated aspects of the UAE is its well-connected and economical public transport system. For those looking to study in UAE, using public transport will save you a whole lot of money.
The public transport system in UAE has –
- Metro – The metro is functional from 6:00 A.M. to 10:30 P.M. There is a separate ‘Women’s Only’ carriage at the front.
- Bus – The bus fare is highly economical, with the front seating area reserved for families and women.
- Abra – These are ferries that carry people from one side of the creek to the other. The fare is roughly around AED 2 for one person.
3. Student visa sponsorship
If UAE is your aim for higher education, an important document is your student residence visa. Student residence visas are often sponsored by higher education institutions or by a relative who is a citizen.
Student residence visas are valid for a single year and need to be renewed annually. Some of the documents needed to apply for your student residence visa include:
- A medical test at a certified medical centre in the UAE
- Undergraduate degree certificate (if applying for a postgraduate program)
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of funds for tuition & living expenses
- Admission or offer letter from an institution to study in UAE
- Copy of visa and tuition fees receipt
4. Admission requirements
English is the language for instruction in most colleges in the country. However, you may consider learning Arabic as a second language, for it could be beneficial in helping you socialize, adjust, and settle in. Public universities in the UAE require students to be proficient in English and Arabic. Private universities, on the other hand, teach their programs in English.
If neither of these languages is your native tongue, you will need to provide competitive scores on proficiency tests before admission to a program.
Here are some of the essential admission requirements for your study in UAE –
- IELTS or TOEFL
- 60 percent or higher grade point average in high school
- Competitive EmSAT scores
EmSAT is a national system of standardized computer-based tests for competitive and basic university admissions. It is valid for both public and private universities. The subjects covered in the EmSAT are Arabic, English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Biology.
Note: Arabic is not necessary for international students.
- An aggregate of 60% or above in your undergraduate degree.
- TOEFL or IELTS scores
- 2-4 years of relevant work experience if you are applying for an MBA degree.
5. Managing finances
Finances are a crucial aspect of living in the UAE and it is important that students have sufficient funds. This includes covering the course fees, accommodation, and other costs of living. The tuition fees for undergraduate courses in UAE ranges from 37,500 to 70,000 AED per year. For postgraduate courses, it is between 55,000 to 75,000 AED per year. However, costs may change depending on the course and university you apply to.
Accommodation costs for students may range from 4,000 to 8,000 AED per month depending on the location you choose and if you choose to live with roommates. Including other costs such as food, travel, and utilities you can expect to spend about 10,000 AED per month as a student in UAE.
You can finance yourself by working part-time with UAE-based companies. It is recommended that those looking to study in UAE contact companies beforehand or speak to the career counselors of their universities. Most companies hiring students are aware of their part-time availability and assign contracts accordingly. You can also apply for government and college scholarships to reduce your tuition fee costs.
6. Top universities in UAE
Following are the best universities you can apply to in UAE –
- United Arab Emirates University
- American University of Sharjah
- Khalifa University
- University of Sharjah
- Zayed University
- American University in Dubai
- UAE offers incredible educational and healthcare benefits, there are excellent advantages to studying in UAE.
- Being prepared before moving to study in UAE can help make a student’s transition easier.
- Ramadan is a holy month in the country and students need to follow certain etiquette.
- Public transport helps students save considerable money on travelling
- Students can avail scholarships and apply for part-time jobs to mitigate study costs.
Liked this blog? Read Everything you need to know about the Dubai visa
Q1. Are Paying Guest accommodations available in UAE?
Answer – Yes, Paying Guest accommodations are available in UAE. You can also opt for options like Airbnb, or student-friendly hostels & apartments.
Q2. How much does a student visa application for UAE cost?
Answer – A student visa application costs AED 3000, with an additional AED 1000 as a deposit.
Q3. Are government scholarships available in the UAE?
Answer – Yes, UAE offers government scholarships such as ‘Abu Dhabi University Scholarships’ and ‘Heriot-Watt University Scholarships’.
Feel free to reach out to us regarding any queries choosing the right university and course for you!