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Destination Guides
Study in the United Arab Emirates

Studying in the United Arab Emirates can certainly have its benefits: sun, sea, sand, potential tax-free earnings after graduation, and, according to the QS World University Rankings, some of the best universities in the Gulf region. 

Commonly shortened to UAE, the United Arab Emirates is made up of seven states, or emirates (kind of like a much, much smaller version of the United States). As with states in the US, each emirate has some degree of independence, but there’s also a federal government. This is known as the Supreme Council of Rulers, and is made up of the seven emirs – the leaders of each emirate – who inherit their positions.

Since the 1950s, when oil was discovered in the region, the UAE’s economy has undergone rapid change. As well as oil and gas exportation, the country has focused on growing its construction and tourism industries; to an extent these go hand in hand – the impressive feats of modern design on display in Dubai are among the main attractions for visitors.

If you’re keen to find out more, click on the tabs below for information about top universities in the United Arab Emirates, popular locations for students, and what steps to take next.

Fast Facts

  • Capital is Abu Dhabi, but largest city is Dubai (rather confusingly, both are the names of cities as well as of the emirates in which they are located).
  • Currency is the dirham (one dirham = 100 fils).
  • International dialing code is +971 and internet domain is .ae
  • The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm al-Quwain.
  • Official language is Arabic, but English is the main language in higher education; Farsi, Hindi and Urdu are also spoken.
  • UAE is home to the world’s seventh-largest proven oil reserves, most of which are located in the Abu Dhabi emirate.
  • Four-fifths of the country is classed as desert.
  • Total area of 83,600 sq km (slightly smaller than Austria).
  • Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest manmade structure, at just under 830m high.
  • The weekend is taken on Friday and Saturday, as Friday is the Muslim holy day.
  • Some companies and organizations operate a six day working week, Saturday to Thursday.