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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Summary:
-Industrial Engineering (Supply Chain) undergraduate student
-Native English speaker
-Non-native Arabic speaker (Modern Standard)
-Looking for internships/entry-level jobs in Dubai or elsewhere in the Gulf

I am a native-born American citizen studying Industrial Engineering (Supply Chain concentration) at Georgia Tech (ranked #1 for Industrial Engineering in the US). I have been formally educated in Arabic, and am nearly fluent in reading/speaking (though non-native, with no Arab ancestry). I have made a lot of Arabic-speaking friends and read Arabic news regularly. I'm fascinated by the Middle East and it is my long-term goal to live there. I do not have much exposure to the Gulf dialects because I learned a very formal Arabic, but I know them to be relatively simple to adjust to with a strong base in Modern Standard Arabic and experience in other dialects.

As for right now, I'm looking for a summer internship. I have "heard" that Supply Chain/Logistics engineers are in high demand in Dubai, but the internet isn't steering me in the right direction. I know that entry level jobs are often not posted on typical job search websites, which is making it difficult to get information. Ideally, I would like to do some type of supply chain consulting, but am not picky as long as I work in something related to my field.

Could I expect a salary comparable to an American salary in an entry level job in UAE (or Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, etc)? Even though I'm young, I got married in college and have a daughter, so I will need to be able to be financially stable. I hope to live in the Middle East long-term, but at this point I still plan to retire in the US to be near family when I start getting wrinkly :)

Would I be better off getting experience in the US, and moving later once I am more experienced?

Thank you.
 

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Would suggest not to come until you have experience. The lower positions are filled by very well educated individuals (even though I cant say they are very competent as I deal with many on a daily basis) who are willing to take a salary much much lower then what will be acceptable to you, and many many years of experience.

In your case, I would suggest for you to get into a position with a large company, that has a presence in the middle east. It will probly be the fastest way to get to the middle east, on an expat salary. Your ability to speak arabic will also facilitate that, as if you have just a little time within the company, they will see your value in being able to speak arabic and move you into the area probly. I would think that even though is a positive in the uae to speak arabic, it is probly less so then the other gcc countries due to much of the work force being expats who do not speak arabic, instead speaking hidi/urdu. Probly more then 60% of the individuals in the uae are from the sub asian continent.

I would suggest to try to match up with a gcc native who will allow you to soak up the accent/tones/regional differences a bit more. Is actually not so easy to go from one dialect to another. Many of the words are not at all similar sounding, for the same items/saying/etc when being taught words from my omani, local, egyptian, syrian, palastenian, etc friends. Not sure how it would compare if I actually spoke fluent modern arabic and then was being taught but having a hard time with five seemingly different words, for the same thing.

Funny name... I just ordered some calcium-x and some x-chloride stuff today for my aquarium :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Would suggest not to come until you have experience. The lower positions are filled by very well educated individuals (even though I cant say they are very competent as I deal with many on a daily basis) who are willing to take a salary much much lower then what will be acceptable to you, and many many years of experience.

In your case, I would suggest for you to get into a position with a large company, that has a presence in the middle east. It will probly be the fastest way to get to the middle east, on an expat salary. Your ability to speak arabic will also facilitate that, as if you have just a little time within the company, they will see your value in being able to speak arabic and move you into the area probly. I would think that even though is a positive in the uae to speak arabic, it is probly less so then the other gcc countries due to much of the work force being expats who do not speak arabic, instead speaking hidi/urdu. Probly more then 60% of the individuals in the uae are from the sub asian continent.

I would suggest to try to match up with a gcc native who will allow you to soak up the accent/tones/regional differences a bit more. Is actually not so easy to go from one dialect to another. Many of the words are not at all similar sounding, for the same items/saying/etc when being taught words from my omani, local, egyptian, syrian, palastenian, etc friends. Not sure how it would compare if I actually spoke fluent modern arabic and then was being taught but having a hard time with five seemingly different words, for the same thing.

Funny name... I just ordered some calcium-x and some x-chloride stuff today for my aquarium :)
Interesting. Thank you for the reply. That's a good idea - I think I'll shoot for a company in America with a presence, while also keeping my eyes peeled for only a good opportunity to go directly. I'd still really like to find an internship for next summer, although I realize that's probably harder than going directly.

The dialects aren't so bad. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the parent language from which all of the dialects developed. MSA is actually more complex, and the grammatical differences in the dialects evolved in most cases to simplify the more complicated language. I have had a lot of exposure to a few other dialects (Iraqi and Egyptian), and my experience has been that the differences lie mainly in small talk and simple transition words. There are grammatical and pronunciation differences which make two sentences with all of the same root words sound quite different to the untrained ear, and there are vocabulary differences which seem intimidating at first but are actually mainly used for basic words (like "there") and greetings. Think pig Latin. If someone who didn't know what pig Latin heard someone speak a sentence, they would have no idea what they're saying and it would sound like a different language. The difference takes some getting used to but is nothing even close to actually learning a new language. Although the dialects in Arabic are a more extreme case, a similar comparison could be moving to Scotland as an American. There are pronunciation differences, grammatical differences, and vocabulary differences but it's a very manageable difference. It also helps that MSA is generally the only form of Arabic that is printed in books, newspapers, magazines, etc. If you're Arab and literate, you understand it. One thing that makes the different dialects sound intimidating is the greetings, which are usually quite different or even foreign words that are not used in any other country/region within the Arab world. Egyptions say "zayyek," Iraqis say "shlownek," Lebanese say "keefek," etc. Then they have their responses, which all mean "good" (Egyptian: Quayyis, Iraqi: Zayn, Lebanese: "Mneeh"). Those all sound VERY different, but in reality the greetings all have the same form which is "how," and "you" (ek), and the responses are all "good." In Iraqi, "shlown" litterally means "how" and completely replaces "kayf" from MSA, but in reality there are only a handful of words like this and they can be quickly learned. It's sort of like learning that "mate" in England means "friend" in American English. The exceptions to all of this are North African dialects, West of Egypt. Moroccan dialect is a blend of Arabic and French with a lot of other influences.
 

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Probly should of joined a class way back when :D Sure would of made life a bit easier then.
 

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I agree with the advice above. Look for global USA companies that have a good presence here. You could look the big consulting companies (Accenture, IBM, Deloitte). They often like to hire right out of school (especially Accenture) to grow employees into their culture. Your long term career options would be much better with that than working for some UAE company which will not train you and have any advancement track. Your second language skills should help in getting interviews with these types of companies.

Just realize you are going to need to be patient, you are most likely not going to find a company that will just throw you into an international position and be flying you over to the Middle East (although you never know). My knowledge of those big consulting companies is if you express your goals well and preform well they will try to move you into a role that fits what you want as you advance.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your reply fcjb. Those companies all actually hire at my school although they can be pretty competitive. I'm not in an immediate hurry to get to the Middle East, but the older I get the harder it's going to be to adjust and whatnot. I just hoped there was some way I could get a solid job there right away that won't close doors for me.
 

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Thanks for your reply fcjb. Those companies all actually hire at my school although they can be pretty competitive. I'm not in an immediate hurry to get to the Middle East, but the older I get the harder it's going to be to adjust and whatnot. I just hoped there was some way I could get a solid job there right away that won't close doors for me.
Hi, i'm in the same situation as you. I would like to know if u achieved ur wishes and what things u did. I hope u did and u can give me now some good advice ;)
thank you
 

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Hi, i'm in the same situation as you. I would like to know if u achieved ur wishes and what things u did. I hope u did and u can give me now some good advice ;)
thank you
Meu amigo você está louco?

I have worked in both Brasil (but not lived there although I tried, only back and forth on a project) and have worked/lived in Dubai. The idea that one would want to leave Brazil for the Middle East makes my head spin around in circles.

Unless you have family here that you really, really, really,.... want to be close to I cannot come up with a single reason that would motivate someone to do such a thing. Especially if you are in Rio (I mean Sao Paulo you could argue is just a big city). You will walk to the praia your first time and notice the most scantily clad of women look fully dressed compared to Brasil. You would be coming from what I consider perhaps the most friendly countries in the world, to a place were people in your building often have a hard time simply returning a hello. In Brasil, I could throw out a tudo bem to someone you may end up in a 15 minute conversation. I could go on....

But hey its a big world, to each their own
 

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Meu amigo você está louco?

I have worked in both Brasil (but not lived there although I tried, only back and forth on a project) and have worked/lived in Dubai. The idea that one would want to leave Brazil for the Middle East makes my head spin around in circles.

Unless you have family here that you really, really, really,.... want to be close to I cannot come up with a single reason that would motivate someone to do such a thing. Especially if you are in Rio (I mean Sao Paulo you could argue is just a big city). You will walk to the praia your first time and notice the most scantily clad of women look fully dressed compared to Brasil. You would be coming from what I consider perhaps the most friendly countries in the world, to a place were people in your building often have a hard time simply returning a hello. In Brasil, I could throw out a tudo bem to someone you may end up in a 15 minute conversation. I could go on....

But hey its a big world, to each their own


hahaha, yah, i agree with you.. but i do have big reasons to go live in there, i have family in there..
but i see now that without experience is quite hard.. im finishing my masters, which i do full-time, where i work as much as a normal job, but it seems it doesnt count that much and they dont take it as experience :(
 
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