Arabic 101: Benefits of Learning the Language As an OFW in Dubai

Being an OFW is not a new concept for us Filipinos; moving abroad to work does have its pros and cons; however, if you’re someone who is keen to find a greener pasture in the gulf country of the UAE, specifically in Dubai, then knowing the Arabic language can be highly beneficial in the long run.

Arabic can be daunting to learn at first, but once you get the hang of it, especially if you’re already in Dubai, you’ll find it much easier to master. If you’re planning to move abroad and are currently in the process of preparation, investing in reading a few Arabic language books or classes might help you. Here are the top reasons you should learn Arabic as an OFW in Dubai.

1. You’ll have a competitive edge over other job seekers

Congratulations you have landed in Dubai! Depending on your visa, you might not have the luxury of learning Arabic upon arrival; however, don’t let it stop you! You can simply learn Arabic language tutorials online if the money is tight.

However, if you’ve already landed in Dubai and have free time on your hands, you can continue learning the language by observing your surroundings, visiting cultural centres like the Mohammed Bin Rashid library, and more to familiarize yourself with how the language is spoken. 

If you have family members living and working in Dubai, you’re probably informed that the city’s job hunt can be cutthroat. As a newcomer who might not have Dubai experience, it would be best to learn Arabic while you can or be fluent in it before arriving since it will help you land a job or, at best, an internship for the experience.

One of the best perks of knowing the Arabic language in Dubai is you’ll have higher pay than those who don’t speak Arabic. If you’re a writer or an artist, learning Arabic can help you secure a job since many Dubai-based agencies or publications prefer bilingual employees in the media.

Whether or not you work as a journalist, learning Arabic can help you prosper beyond the workplace. Yes, you can get away with not knowing Arabic since the UAE is one of the middle eastern or gulf countries; the majority speaks English due to the high volume of expats, but it never hurts to learn the language.


2. You can converse with the locals or other Arab nationalities


Learning Arabic as an OFW will help you connect with the local community and other Arab nationalities you encounter daily. Knowing Arabic can help you communicate better with an elderly non-English speaker patient if you’re a nurse in Dubai. Learning Arabic can help you express your thoughts or lessons better to your multicultural students if you’re a teacher. 

Once you’re in Dubai, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to strengthen your Arabic skills. You have access to numerous Arabic language materials, and there would be no excuse for why you shouldn’t learn. Suppose you want to be fluent in speaking Arabic rather than write and comprehend the technicalities. In that case, you can easily have a simple conversation with locals that are willing to talk with you in Arabic whether you’re shopping or running errands.


3. You can widen your work connections


Arabic is not only spoken by Arab nationalities, but even people who are fluent in the language, by learning Arabic and becoming fluent in the language can help you network with other people that are not in your workspace and broaden your connections that might help your career goals in the future. 

Dubai depending on your goals can be a stepping stone to a brighter future, or if you’re settled in living in Dubai, then learning Arabic can help you be exposed to exciting opportunities within the middle east.


4. You can quickly adapt to the culture and traditions

As an OFW, you must learn how to adapt and respect the culture you live in by learning the language. Learning Arabic will make it easier to assimilate within the city if you’re buying yogurt and know that Laban means yogurt or fermented milk.

If you’re keen on watching Turkish series or Arabic movies in cinemas, you’ll find it easier to understand and catch up on every scene. Reading Arabic books like Arabian nights will no longer confuse you with Arabic terms since you already know what they mean. If you’re on the road or unfamiliar with street signs in Arabic, you can easily understand what it means from its Arabic root words or definition.

You can simply start by learning the basics of the Arabic language, and you’ll discover that the Arabic language is deeply connected to the Islam region; even if you’re not a Muslim, you’ll find Arabic traditions and cultures within the language fascinating.

5. You’ll learn something new


Ah, the thrill of studying a new language can be a roller coaster ride but definitely worth it, like the Safari ride you would try in the middle of a desert. Learning Arabic may seem too foreign and challenging at first, but finding ways to innovate yourself, like learning Arabic, will help you in your career in the city.


5. You can have a side hustle


Yes, by learning Arabic and becoming fluent, you can have a few sides hustles to add to your income. Living in Dubai can make saving money challenging with the high cost of living expenses and the shopping culture.

Think of learning Arabic as an investment since you can teach a colleague’s children Arabic or do freelance writing or translating for one-off clients online, or perhaps you can be a personal tour guide to kabayan tourists. The sky is the limit once you become fluent in Arabic.


6. You can pass the knowledge to your family members

Another thing that seems tempting to learn Arabic is you can teach your family members Arabic which can also benefit them in the long run, whether it is your spouse or children. It can be a way for you to pay it forward to the next generation by passing what you know. 

It’s never too late to learn Arabic, even if you’ve been living in Dubai for years. Arabic is a great way to connect with your loved ones through storytelling and bonding moments.