Imagine having the choice to have waffles, dosa, or foul for breakfast, sitting in a classroom with kids from multiple countries, having a French crepe and chicken tikka for lunch. Imagine what it must be like to just go about your day interacting with people from a variety of socio-cultural backgrounds and learning from their experiences. Well, for kids in the UAE, this is quite normal.
Children in the UAE are exposed to a multitude of cultures and are socialized from the very beginning to thrive in environments where multiculturalism, diversity, and togetherness are the norm. They are home to a veritable Global Village, so it’s no surprise that they grow up to become global citizens.
UAE: A Melting Pot of Cultural Diversity
According to the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC), a baby is born every 3.5 hours in Dubai. The births of expatriate children nearly triple the births of Emirati children, with 22,755 babies and 7,728 babies, respectively.
The total population of expats in the UAE is 8,447,000 million, 88.52 percent of the UAE’s total population of 9,890,000. The highest concentrations of people are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Iran, Egypt, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and China.
Opportunities and Access to Facilities for Expatriate Children
When children in the UAE are exposed to people from all these different backgrounds, they begin to develop sensitivities associated with other cultures. They learn the value of coexisting, tolerance, and appreciating people for who they are and where their families came from.
For many kids, growing up in an environment where cultural diversity is celebrated and encouraged prepares them to move and adjust to another country if they wish to do so. They gain an edge because, unlike children growing up in their home countries of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc., they are exposed to a wide variety of lived experiences that inform their lifestyles and decisions.
Global Perspective Rooted in Home
While some expatriate children may initially struggle with gaining a sense of identity, when growing up, most kids feel like they’ve made their home in the UAE. Many don’t feel as strong a connection with their home countries as they may have thought, and feel happy and appreciative of the opportunities provided to them in the UAE.
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