words Al Woods
What if we told you that there is a place where a special Ministry was set up dedicated to promoting the happiness of its residents? It’s not a fairy tale: it is simply a part of the UAE’s National Programme for Happiness and Positivity – and only one of the reasons why you should consider spending a year of your life in Abu Dhabi.
A Minister to keep the people happy
In February 2016, the UAE administration first created the position of Minister of State for Happiness, which later expanded to include Wellbeing in its mandate. The post aims at harmonizing government policies for maximizing happiness, by including relevant initiatives and aspects in administrative plans and programmes. It also aims at promoting a lifestyle of positivity and elaborating tools in order to measure the country’s happiness. It is all part of the overarching plan to make the state one of the world’s top five countries in terms of happiness by 2021. And the plan seems to be working: in 2017, the UAE climbed eight spots to achieve the 21st place in the UN World Happiness Report and ranked first in the Arab World. In the 2018 UN report it retained its leading position across Arab countries and climbed further to the 20th place worldwide.
Why Abu Dhabi?
With a dedicated policy on keeping citizens and expats happy, Abu Dhabi is one of the hottest expat destinations. The big construction boom in the regional area has led to countless lucrative job opportunities, especially for professionals in the industry and those working in providing services. One of the biggest incentives is UAE’s reputation for high salaries that are mostly tax-free for expats. In some jobs, professionals will even find packages that include housing, healthcare, and training. For those who do not receive an all-inclusive package, finding property to rent is relatively easy when using online platforms like Bayut. You can expect to spend anywhere from 20% to 30% of your salary on rent – which still leaves plenty for living your dream life in a lush destination or saving up for when you return home. Foreigners typically find short-term accommodation in apartments, which are usually newly built and designed with at least a touch of luxury.
Experience the culture
Besides the financial advantage and the government’s quite literal efforts to keep everyone happy, one of the most important aspects of spending time in Abu Dhabi is that you can get to experience a whole different culture. Locals are described by expats as welcoming, warm, and family-orientated, while the culture places emphasis on cultivating relationships, as well as showing politeness and respect. Hanging out with other expats can also help you navigate how to best adapt to some major cultural differences, like the country’s focus on religion. And while adjusting to the heat might be a challenge for Northerners, the country’s warm climate and proximity to beaches is one of its biggest selling points.
Spending a year in Abu Dhabi can help broaden your horizons and invest in professional growth – boosting your happiness and wellbeing, as the UAE’s Ministry promises.