Frequently Asked Questions
What you need to know before you come
- Is it safe?
- I'm a woman. How will I be treated there?
- How should I dress? Will I have to wear a head scarf?
- If I go, I'd like to stay a few days extra. What is there to do in the UAE?
- Will I get sick? Do I need any special immunizations?
- I don't speak Arabic. How will I get around?
- What will the weather be like in April?
- What should I pack?
- Will I save money by registering early?
- What about money?
- Will we have e-mail access?
Is it safe?
The UAE prides itself on having one of the lowest crime rates in the world, with almost no personal danger to residents and visitors. Although the Middle East is commonly perceived to be extremely volatile, to date there have been no terrorist incidents in the UAE. [top]
I'm a woman. How will I be treated there?
The UAE is unquestionably the most progressive Gulf country in terms of women's issues. Women make up about 70 percent of the college and university population, and their participation in the workforce has multiplied six-fold since the 1970s (about 25 percent currently). Emiratis continue to place a strong emphasis on traditional family and home values, but the government actively encourages women to enter the workforce as well. One point of interest - public harassment of women is frowned upon so much that police will often arrest the violator and publish their photograph in local newspapers! [top]
How should I dress? Will I have to wear a head scarf?
You will not have to wear a head scarf. Most UAE National women wear the traditional black abaya, a type of long enveloping robe, and the shayla, a black head scarf. Emirati men wear the dishdasha, a white, loose-fitting garment that is comfortable in hot weather. There is no requirement to do so, but most Emiratis choose to continue their cultural traditions by wearing "national costume." Foreign residents and visitors dress in a wide variety of styles, from Indian saris to Western business suits to T-shirts and jeans. Just use common sense and you'll fit right in! Business casual is the expected dress for conference activities. [top]
If I go, I'd like to stay a few days extra. What is there to do in the UAE?
Beach sports. Dune bashing. Camel races. Water parks. Shopping in the Gold Souk. Archeological sites. Horseback riding. Desert safaris. Museums. Fine dining. Carpet shopping. Zoos. Scuba diving. Go-karts. Sand skiing. Bowling. Ice skating. Dhow tours. Golfing. Art exhibitions. Cinema. More shopping. Sound fun? [top]
Will I get sick? Do I need any special immunizations?
Probably not, and no. Remarkably, the UAE was one of only two countries with no reported cases of holiday illnesses in a survey by the leading British travel magazine, Holiday Which? No special immunizations are required. The climate is great, the drinking water is safe and cleanliness standards are very high in restaurants and hotels. You're more likely to get sick staying at home. [top]
I don't speak Arabic. How will I get around?
Ma fi mushkillah! No problem! Many people live and work here and can't speak a word of it. Although Arabic is the official language of the UAE, English is commonly used by all of the country's various ethnic communities. [top]
What will the weather be like in April?
Warm and sunny. As the sun begins to climb in the sky, April brings some beautiful weather to the Emirates. Maximum temperatures are typically around 33°C, humidity is generally low. Expected rainfall is down to around 7 mm falling on three days during the month. Bring a sweater along with your sunglasses, though, since evenings may dip down below 20°C (68° F). [top]
What should I pack?
At the conference you will be comfortable in casual clothes or business casual attire. On the street you may be more comfortable wearing light short or long sleeved cotton shirts. Some things you may want to bring include a camera, a journal or notebook, business cards, an address book (you will make many new contacts), a few pictures from home to share with new international friends who want to see where you come from. [top]
Will I save money by registering early?
No. There is no discount for early registration, as the fee has already been subsidized for all participants by our sponsors. However, early registration guarantees you a space. [top]
What about money?
Most of the shops in the shopping malls & hotels accept credit cards (Visa, Master Card, Amex, Eurocard), but for example buying souvenirs in smaller shops, light lunches or snacks, and in taxis you will most likely need to have the local currency - UAE dirhams - on hand. [top]
Will we have e-mail access?
Yes. Internet access will be available at the ZU Campus, for free and through your hotel, for a charge. There are also local internet cafes, and WiFi access is available in some coffee shops now if you have a wireless modem. [top]