Expat children in UAE find hard to integrate, while their parents find education to be much more expensive


The United Arab Emirates and the entire Middle East region were found to offer a challenging environment for raising expat children. This discovery was made by HSBC annual Expat Explorer Survey.

Expat ChildrenAccording to the report, the Middle East scores poorly on the Raising Children Abroad ranking. The UAE, as well as countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are taking bottom places on the list.

One of the biggest problems with which expats children in these countries have to face is the difficulty to integrate socially. About 34% of those in the United Arab Emirates have stated that are having difficulties with social integration. In comparison, HSBC’s report points that the average in this category is barely 26%.

The result of the poor social integration is that expat kids in the Middle East were found to spend more time watching television and playing video games. Nearly 45% of the expat children in the UAE play more video games than they did in their home country. About 48% of them watch more TV than they previously did. However, these numbers are considerably lower compared to those in Saudi Arabia, where half of the expat children play more video games and 63% of them watch more TV.

Expat Explorer Survey offers a logical explanation to this interesting trend. The report mentions that expat children in these countries may spend more time indoors due to the high temperatures outside. In addition, the study also says that this leads to less social contacts and, consequently, to harder social integration.

This lack of social integration in the Middle East makes expat children miss their home country more. Nevertheless, expat children in the UAE miss their home land less than those in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.

A great challenge for expat parents in the ME region is the rising cost of childcare. About 77% of the participants in the study who currently live in the UAE have stated that raising a child in the country has become more expensive. This is about 10% higher compared to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Most expat parents in the United Arab Emirates (86%) find education to be much more expensive than that in their home country.

According to the study, the result of these trends was that expats with children in the UAE spend shorter time in the country.

The survey also informs that expats find Canada to be the most kid-friendly country. Along with Australia, The North American country also attracts expat parents with its great outdoors. Hong Kong was pointed as the safest place to raise a child, while the UK scored the poorest in this category.

HSBC’s Expat Explorer is the biggest global study on expats. The report was based on an online survey in which participated more than 5,300 expats from six continents.


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